Because this NFL offseason won’t let us have a moment to catch our breath, we saw yet another coaching change go down as late as March 30. Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady appears to have won a power struggle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Bruce Arians is on his way out.
The soon-to-be 70-year-old Arians handed over control of the team to defensive coordinator and former Jets head coach Todd Bowles. Arians will transition to a senior advisor role in the front office while gifting Bowles a team capable of winning a championship.
While Arians and Brady have said all the right things about their relationship together, it’s not that difficult to infer that there has been some headbutting behind the scenes. Retiring after a month and then coming back right before Arians was going to leave seems just a bit fishy.
The most likely explanation is that Buccaneers GM Jason Licht chose to keep Brady happy instead of his older coach. Brady has more influence on the Bucs than he ever had over the Patriots, and that newfound control might be one of the main reasons he chose to go to Tampa.
Tom Brady has more influence with the Bucs than he did with the Patriots.
Brady was very clearly worn down by two decades of working under Bill Belichick due to the latter’s rigidity and stubbornness. Arians is a masterful offensive mind, but he has a relaxed demeanor that always seemed like a puzzling fit alongside a very focused and determined Brady.
While winning the division and a playoff game is nothing to sneeze at for a team that lost many of their best receivers to injury, it felt like Tampa left a lot of meat on the bone this past season. After getting thrashed by Sean McVay and the eventual champion Rams twice, it seems like Brady wants to switch things up for 2022.
While the Patriots were never going to go so far as to disrespect or invalidate Brady, it’s clear that Licht is seemingly willing to move heaven and earth both on and off the field to accommodate Brady’s needs based on how all of this seemingly transpired.
While there aren’t too many “what could have been?” moments hanging around Brady’s tenure in New England, it’s interesting to think about what would’ve happened if the Patriots were just a bit more relaxed and willing to let Brady give his input on how the team should operate. Might he have stayed?