Buccaneers

Arians doubles down on belief about why Brady left Patriots

Buccaneers

Bruce Arians will tell you what he thinks. And he clearly thinks Tom Brady grew tired of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots.

In an interview with Showtime's "Inside The NFL" last week after the Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV, co-host Ray Lewis asked Arians what Brady's motivation was in leaving New England after 20 seasons to come to Tampa Bay.

"I think his competitive spirit is so strong that he wanted to do it," Arians responded. "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."

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Arians has been consistent in his belief that Brady not only wanted a change of pace when he signed with the Bucs last March, but also wanted to send a message to Belichick by winning a Super Bowl without his former boss.

"I think personally, too, he’s making a statement. You know? It wasn’t all Coach [Bill] Belichick," Arians told Sports Illustrated's Greg Bishop and Jenny Vrentas prior to Tampa Bay's 31-9 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

While Brady has downplayed that storyline, he did choose a head coach in Arians with a polar opposite style to that of Belichick. Arians gave Brady free reign to call the shots on the field and in the locker room -- and apparently was aware that the 21-year veteran didn't have as much freedom in New England.

"I allow him to be himself," Arians told NBC Sports' Peter King after the Bucs' win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round. "Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch."

Arians may have dramatized the situation in Foxboro, but the fact that Brady left a franchise where he'd won six Super Bowls over 20 years proves he wanted a change of pace. As it just so happened, Arians and the Bucs were the perfect fit.