For the first time in Tom Brady's career, the former New England Patriots quarterback will embark on a playoff run without Bill Belichick as his head coach.
Brady and the Bruce Arians-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to take on the Washington Football Team in the NFC Wild Card round Saturday night. Belichick and the Patriots will be watching from home as they missed the postseason with a 7-9 regular-season record.
As Brady aims for Super Bowl No. 7 of his career, the quarterback he replaced in Foxboro believes he has some extra motivation to win one without Belichick. Drew Bledsoe talked with Tyler Dunne of Go Long about these playoffs meaning a bit more to the 43-year-old.
"Oh, there’s no question that’s the case. There’s no question," Bledsoe said. "That’s the forever debate: Was it Bill or was it Tom? The Patriots took a big step back this year and, honestly, I think Tom was smart enough to see the writing on the wall. That they had done everything they could to stay on top and — for the first time — they were going to be in some salary cap issues. So I think part of him thought, 'OK, I’m going to make a move here before this thing goes sideways.' But then he went to a great situation in Tampa and obviously he’s played great again.
"There’s no question there’s motivation there for him to win one without Belichick. At some point, they’ll have to take on the Packers to get that done."
Brady and the Bucs are heavily favored to win Saturday's matchup vs. Washington. As if Brady needed any additional motivation, Washington rookie defensive end Chase Young may have helped him in that department with his recent "I Want Tom!" remarks.
Be sure to catch Tampa Bay take on Washington in an NFC Wild Card matchup Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC10 Boston. Pregame coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. ET with Football Night in America.