What is Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians wearing around his chest?

By | January 23, 2021

Bruce Arians brings a unique style to NFL sidelines.

The current head coach of the Buccaneers got his first NFL coaching job in 1989 and has been bringing his look to professional sidelines nearly every season since. There’s the Kangol hat that he often wears. He’s got glasses which at times looked like two separate pairs under his face shield earlier this year. And he’s taken to wearing both a face shield and separate face mask during the COVID-19 season that is 2020-21.

The latest “fashion” choice of Arians’ to draw attention: an electronic device he’s worn strapped around his chest. While there’s really only one logical explanation for what Arians is wearing, it hasn’t stopped Twitter from wondering whether he’s got something more sinister on instead. 

Others on social media have compared Arians’ attire to Darth Vader’s chest plate and Ghostbusters gear. But the real answer is much simpler and more logical.

What is Bruce Arians wearing around his chest?

Wrapped around Arians’ chest is the radio unit used for his headset. That headset, of course, is crucial for an NFL head coach, who can communicate with his quarterback but also with other coaches on his staff, like those watching replays up in the booth to advise whether Arians should throw his challenge flag. The modern NFL would function much differently if no one was allowed to wear radio headsets.

Arians seems to be the only coach who chooses to wear his radio unit strapped onto his chest. Other coaches have it hooked into a belt loop or a pocket, but not Arians.

It’s not exactly clear why Arians chooses to rock his radio so close to his heart and so prominently in view. It could be a matter of keeping the wires shorter and all in front of him so they don’t get tangled as he moves around or adjusts his clothing during a game. Maybe it’s just more comfortable for Arians to support that additional weight with his upper body.

This was a change that took place midseason, it seems. Photographs show Arians as late as Oct. 25, a Buccaneers game against the Raiders, wearing his radio pack down near his right hip. But any pictures taken of him since then feature it on his upper chest with the over-shoulder strap holding it in place. Sideview images also show that some of the radio unit hangs on the back side of the strap, as well, giving Arians a bulky object both in the center of his chest and his back.

It all adds to the Arians look — he comes across as a college professor with a backpack slung over his shoulder, the kind of guy who might teach philosophy or some kind of literature. But don’t worry, it’s just a radio, nothing crazier than that.