TAMPA — There had been so many magical moments replaying in his mind since the Bucs won Super Bowl 55.
The Gatorade bath, the soggy family embrace, the confetti and his first words to quarterback Tom Brady about a promise fulfilled.
Bruce Arians still wanted to drink it all in, like the cold Budweiser Light in his right hand, the Lombardi Trophy in his left, as the boat parade drifted down the Hillsborough River on a sun-splashed Wednesday afternoon.
That’s when all the moments became so momentous that they started to leak from the corners of his eyes.
“It still didn’t hit me until we were about halfway down the river and I’m holding the trophy over my head and I said, ‘Holy (crap), this is real!’” Arians said. “I didn’t cry, but I had a few tears fall and welled up. I said, ‘Oh, man!’”
For the 68-year-old Arians, winning the Super Bowl as a head coach is validation of a remarkable career that began as a grad assistant at Virginia Tech more than 4½ decades ago.
It’s not like he woke up the morning after the Bucs’ 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs as a smarter coach.
“Heck no,” Arians said. “But it changes life. It really does.”
To understand what Arians and the Bucs accomplished this season, you should begin with the ending.
A quarterback away
Bruce Arians taps Tom Brady (12) on the helmet during…