Bruce Arians addresses hitting player in the helmet during Wild Card game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians responded to questions about his decision to hit the helmet of Bucs safety Andrew Adams during Sunday’s game.

Buccaneers head coach was looking out for Andrew Adams on Sunday, hitting his helmet and pushing him backwards with an elbow as Adams seemed poised to pull a penalty.

That’s the explanation Arians gave after he was questioned about the viral moment that was caught during Sunday’s broadcast.

“You can’t pull guys out of a pile,” Arians explained, indicating that his actions were a way of getting Adams’ attention and keeping him away from a fight. “I was trying to knock him off that guy so we didn’t get a penalty.”

Bruce Arians addresses helmet hit controversy with Andrew Adams

While Arians could have simply been trying to get Adams’ attention and keep him away from a fight, the optics left many in the NFL world critical of Arians’ movement. Skip Bayless said it was “out of bounds”, while Mike Florio drew a parallel between Arians and Urban Meyer.

Antonio Brown’s lawyer Sean Burstyn also chimed in, comparing Arians’ helmet hit to corporal punishment.

Even the way the elbow is described as a “left hook” and the helmet hit is described as a “smack” characterizes Arians’ actions as painful and violent. Bruce Arians is 69 years old, has a torn Achilles, and indicated that he was desperately trying to get Adams’ attention before he lost a crucial safety to an unnecessary penalty.

While a far cry from Meyer’s spiteful kick, whether or not a coach should ever touch a player is a subjective debate, and seeing Arians hit a player’s helmet on live television was certainly jarring for those watching at home.

However, it doesn’t seem that Arians has anything against Adams, as he complimented the veteran safety for being a “safety net” when the Bucs added him to the practice squad in September.

Indeed, Adams has been a safety net for a Buccaneers team grappling with significant injuries.

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