New England Patriots fans might not have heard it directly from Tom Brady, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has provided us with enough hints as to why the star quarterback may have departed for a new team after two decades.
First, he said that New England “didn’t allow Brady to coach,” and followed that up with Brady wanted to make it known it “wasn’t all about Bill Belichick” and that Brady wanted to try things a “different way,” perhaps suggesting something was holding back the future Hall of Famer.
Could all of that be true? Absolutely. At least to an extent. To say that Brady didn’t have a stranglehold on the Patriots’ gameplan or playcalling sort of feels disingenuous, given his clear influence on the team’s success since he became the starter.
And now that we’re learning Mac Jones — in Year 2! — is “taking ownership” of the offense, Patriots fans might be inclined to wonder if this whole (what feels like contrived) riff between Brady and the team/Belichick was actually about his autonomy when it came to decisions on his side of the ball.
Did Tom Brady really have it that bad with the New England Patriots?
Belichick said last year that Brady’s offense in Tampa is the same one that he ran with the Patriots, too. Additionally, Brady’s brilliance on offense — his ability to read defenses, audible, and pick apart mismatches — has always been well-documented.
Though 2019 ended in agonizing fashion where Brady clearly didn’t have enough talent around him to succeed, resulting in an early playoff exit, that was probably the worst it had ever gotten (the unit ranked seventh points, the third-worst finish in 20 years) and 15th in yards (the worst finish in 20 years). And that’s still pretty damn good!
Brady mastered the two-minute offense during his rise to NFL legend status with the Patriots, which meant he was in control without Belichick and/or Josh McDaniels applying the clamps. If you watched the Bucs closely over the last two seasons, Belichick is right when he says there isn’t much of a difference between that approach and the system in New England.
If Mac Jones at the age of 23 years old is permitted to have ample input in how the Patriots are doing things, fans just find it fairly hard to believe Brady was afforded the same — if not more — freedom as the team’s starting quarterback. And even if he wasn’t, there’s certainly nothing wrong with abiding and appearing in a Super Bowl on average once every two seasons.