Football fans have spent the last week waxing poetic about Tom Brady’s ability to leave the Patriots, the gold standard of the NFL when it comes to winning championships, only to nab his seventh ring in his first season with the Buccaneers, giving him more titles than any franchise (!) in league history.
As expected, the media has jumped all over this narrative and used it to create one of their own, proclaiming that the win confirmed Brady’s status as the most important figure of the Patriots’ dynasty.
Of course, they conveniently omitted that he was largely a game-manager during the early stages of his career and head coach Bill Belichick was (and still is) instrumental to his team’s success.
While players and coaches around the league have largely deviated from participating in this polarizing debate, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has seemingly done everything in his power to swing the pendulum in Brady’s favor.
Arians threw subtle shade at Belichick and the Patriots on several occasions throughout the regular season and playoffs, and he did so once again during a recent interview with Showtime with comments about Brady’s motivation to leave his former organization.
It seems that Bruce Arians can’t get enough of the Brady-Belichick debate.
“I think Brady’s competitive spirit is so strong that he wanted to do it,” Arians said. “He wanted to show people. I’ve never said anything bad about Bill Belichick; I know everybody tries to say I do. His record speaks for itself. He is probably the greatest one ever. But I think Brady wanted to try a different way.”
This is yet another instance of Arians trying to speak on behalf of Brady, whose decision to leave the Patriots boiled down to roster personnel more so than anything else.
Sure, he might not have seen eye-to-eye with Belichick over his final seasons in New England, but wasn’t that bound to happen after they’d spent two decades together?
When you consider Brady’s unrivaled competitive edge, deep down he probably wanted to prove a point to everybody that he could win without Belichick, but anybody who thinks he left the Patriots because of some ulterior motive to pour scorn on the 68-year-old’s legacy is really on a fishing expedition.
We get that Arians is incredibly fond of Brady, and he’s earned the right to speak his mind after capturing his first championship as a head coach, but he seriously needs to give the Brady-Patriots talk a rest…at least until the start of next season when Belichick will have his turn to respond to the Buccaneers’ title.
We tolerated it the first couple of times given that it fueled the debate, but now Arians just reeks of desperation. He might not be asking the questions, but he can certainly do a lot better framing his answers so that each one doesn’t come off like he has a personal vendetta against Belichick and the Patriots.