Patriots

Tom Brady making his mark on Buccaneers: 'It's been fantastic,' says Bruce Arians

Tom Brady making his mark on Buccaneers: 'It's been fantastic,' says Bruce Arians

Tom Brady has had an eventful tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite the fact he hasn't played a single game for the franchise.

Of course, when Brady comes to town, every single move he and the team make will create headlines. It's all part of employing the greatest player in NFL history.

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The six-time Super Bowl champion's decision to join the Bucs has elevated the team's expectations to heights it hasn't seen in a very long time. The man tasked with getting the most out of Tampa Bay's very talented roster is head coach Bruce Arians, who's entering his second season with the franchise.

Arians recently made an appearance on the first episode of Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon's YouTube show titled, "Uncorked". He talked about the unique dynamic between a coach and a player of Brady's caliber, and it also sounds like he's impressed with the 42-year-old quarterback's impact so far.

"We got a great locker room, but to now get a guy that's been there, done it, six times, (he's) the G.O.A.T,?" Arians said. "When he talks, they listen. It's so different than a coach. I think for us as coaches, there has to be a bond between the coach and those guys so that you give them ownership. You ask them questions. How do you want to do things? So if they think they have a big hand in it, they send a message to the rest of the guys. They send your message to the rest of the guys. With Tom, it's been fantastic."

Brady isn't the first great quarterback Arians has coached. He also worked with Peyton Manning early in the future Hall of Famer's career with the Indianapolis Colts. Arians worked with Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for many years, too. Arians was impressed with the way Manning led his teams, and he expects Brady to have a similar impact on the Bucs players.

"The way (Manning) commanded the room and the team was amazing," Arians said. "What he asked those guys to do. I'm sure Tom Brady has a lot of the same things. Just the little bit I've been around him so far, it's going to be the same way."

Manning left the Colts late in his career and signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency. He spent the last four years of his career playing for the Broncos, and with him the team reached two Super Bowls and won a championship in 2015 -- his final season. The Buccaneers are hoping a similar ending to Brady's career unfolds in Tampa Bay, and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Bucs' chances of contending for the Lombardi Trophy in 2020.

Hypocrisy for Patriots fans to root for Tom Brady, but not Cam Newton

Hypocrisy for Patriots fans to root for Tom Brady, but not Cam Newton

If you rooted for Tom Brady and don’t for Cam Newton, you are a hypocrite. 

In 2014, the Patriots started the season 2-2 and after a humiliating loss on Monday Night Football in Kansas City, some idiot — that would be me — declared that the Pats had lost their soul.

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Of course, I was wrong as the greatest quarterback ever went on to the lead the Pats to their fourth Super Bowl win with a big assist from Malcolm Butler. 

That was Part 2 of the "Tom Brady: Me Against the World" trilogy.

Of course, the original was getting drafted as a sixth-round pick out of Michigan. Part 3 was Deflategate when Brady won his fifth Super Bowl after he was suspended for four games.

For the purpose of this writing, we focus on Part 2 because some thought Brady’s best days were behind him. (Many feel the same about Cam Newton now.) Even Bill Belichick said Tom was getting older and the plans for his successor in Jimmy Garoppolo were laid out before us ... and Brady.  

Tom E. Curran's Patriots Talk Podcast: Did Pats just become Cam Newton's team? | Listen and subscribe | Watch on YouTube

But once again, Brady defied the odds and forced Belichick to trade Jimmy G. to San Francisco. Needing to prove he still had it, Brady reinvented himself and became a physical specimen, defying Father Time.

Can Cam Newton do the same? He is not as old now as Brady was then, but this guy was left for dead by the rest of the NFL and has even more to prove than Brady ever did.

If you backed Tom Brady, how can you not do the same for Cam?

Look, I love Tom Brady the football player. Off the field, I think he’s lost his mind, but there has been no better player in the history of sports than TB12. (See Tom, I used your logo. Happy?)

However, right now I am in Cam’s corner like I was in Brady’s when he was a Patriot. And you should be too. 

Michael Thomas has priceless story about intercepting Tom Brady in NFL debut

Michael Thomas has priceless story about intercepting Tom Brady in NFL debut

Imagine being an undrafted rookie defensive back making your NFL debut just days after signing with a new team.

And then imagine being thrust into a one-possession game, trying to protect a lead with under two minutes to play and seeing Tom Brady staring you down.

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That's exactly the scenario Michael Thomas found himself in back in December 2013 — and not only was the stage not too big for the then-23-year-old, he delivered both a game-saving pass breakup and a game-clinching interception against arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.

Thomas recalled the amazing sequence of events this week when he served as a guest columnist for Peter King's Football Morning in America column

After starting the week on the 49ers practice squad, Thomas was signed by the Dolphins but didn't join his teammates for the first time until Wednesday, four days before Miami faced New England at Sun Life Stadium. Initially happy to just make a special teams tackle — which meant his name would show up on the stat sheet — injuries to the Fins' secondary forced Thomas into action on defense.

"The DB coach comes up to me and says, 'Mike? That’s your name right, Michael Thomas? I see you played slot in college. You’re going to have to play slot again.' Okay. So Tom Brady sees that and literally every play he’s coming to me."

The Dolphins had taken a 24-20 lead with just 1:15 left, but Brady smelled blood in the water, attacking the rookie and the rest of the Miami defense while driving the Patriots downfield and into the red zone.

"They’ve got a first down at the 19-yard line with 27 seconds left and I’m guarding (Danny) Amendola and he’s running a go route to the end zone. I look up and the ball’s coming. Amendola actually gets it in his hands in the end zone but I fight until the end, fight until we get to the ground and the ball pops out. It’s an incomplete, the crowd goes crazy, and now I’m juiced."

Preventing the go-ahead score would have been enough of a memory for a rookie making his NFL debut, but Thomas came up big one more time three plays later. With the Patriots facing a fourth-and-five from the 14-yard line and only seven seconds left on the clock, the spotlight found Thomas once again as Brady targeted Austin Collie.

"It’s like a movie scene. Everything is in slow motion. I leap up in the air and catch it and after I fall down in the end zone it hits me. I just caught the game-winning interception! That’s Tom Brady! I just won the game! All my teammates are jumping up and down, cameras are in my face, the crowd is going crazy, I start crying and yelling for my mama. It was absolutely like a movie."

Game over. Miami wins, 24-20. The loss was a crucial one for the Patriots, who finished the season at 12-4 but ended up as the No. 2 seed in the AFC, one game behind the Broncos.

Thanks to the loss, New England had to go to Denver for the AFC Championship Game, which they lost 26-16. Were it not for Thomas' heroics, the Patriots would have hosted the conference title game, and that could have been enough to tilt the scales in their favor, as they had defeated the Broncos in Foxboro earlier that season. 

Considering the impact of the game and the unbelievable sequence of events, it's no wonder that Thomas recalls his NFL debut in such vivid detail.