-Remember those rumors that quarterback Tom Brady and Head Coach Bruce Arians weren't getting along? Me neither. That seems long in the rearview mirror as the Buccaneers prepare for just their second Super Bowl berth in franchise history. Arians has waited decades for the opportunity to have his team in the Super Bowl as a head coach. Now that it's here, Brady is reflecting on his relationship with BA and how the rest of the team views their tell-it-like-is coach.
"Obviously I had known about B.A. over the course of a lot of years," said Brady, though the two hadn't formally met prior to Brady's arrival in Tampa. "He's a coach that's been in the league a while, but he came and commentated for one or two of our games when he was doing that. Then, I got to meet him and speak to him during free agency. The whole pandemic and so forth is still ongoing [and] it's very difficult to develop a real relationship because we didn't have the opportunity through OTAs and so forth to communicate. But, we did speak on Zoom with the captains at one point, we got a couple rounds of golf in which was a lot of fun. Just to understand his personality [and] understand his background – I had seen his Football Life [and] I had seen a lot of other things that have been broadcasted and so forth. He's a great man, he's a great leader, he's a great person, he's a great friend [and] he's very loyal. He's just got a great way about communicating effectively with everybody around here. Everybody has a great affection for him, for the person he is. There's nobody that ever would say anything bad about B.A. He's just so endearing to everybody and I think everyone wants to win for him. I think that's what you want to do for a coach – you want to get out there and you want to win for him. He puts a lot into it, expects a lot out of it, has high expectations for us every day in practice [and I am] just really excited for him to be recognized in the way that he is. I know he's a two-time Coach of the Year, but [he has] just done an amazing job this year with the team in really adverse situations. I love playing for him."
Part of playing for him means you're going to take risks. Brady had to get used to an entirely different offensive system in Tampa and it wasn't without some bumps in the road. Arians' offense stresses a vertical passing attack and can be downright explosive when executed as designed. In a lot of ways, it's a metaphor for Arians as a person and how he operates on a daily basis. That's even how he approached getting Brady in the first place, swinging for the fences in free agency, to borrow another sport's term.
"You can't hit a home run unless you're going to swing for one," said Arians. "You can't do anything special in life sitting on a fence. The question back then was, 'If there was a quarterback that was a free agent, who would you want?' Of course, it was Tom Brady, not thinking he'd become a free agent. Once he did, it was a pursuit that we wanted to make and [we] knew he had some interest. That's how you live life. Do you sit and live in a closet trying to be safe, [or are] you going to have some fun?"
"I'd like to think that I wasn't that much of a chance after a lot of years," Brady continued, providing his perspective on the situation. "Becoming a free agent and then having the opportunity to continue my playing career. I love the opportunity that presented itself here, which is ultimately why I chose here. I really love the coaching staff, I loved the players that they had. I looked at those players and thought, 'Wow, these are really great players. This would be a good opportunity for me.' Obviously, a different conference and a different division – all of that I didn't quite know about. In the end, I just made a lot of different choices. I don't want to revisit them all, but I'm pretty detailed and thorough. I went through a process of decisions and thinking about everything that really mattered to me in some way [and] one form or another. Obviously, a lot of family considerations. My son lives in New York and I didn't want to be too far from him. It just ended up being a great fit and as it's played out, I've just though, 'Wow, this has really been a magical year.' For me as a player to switch teams, that takes a lot. To move my family, to go to a different conference, to keep building the way we did and develop a rapport with the guys that we have here – so much of football is about the relationships that you get with your teammates [and your] coaches. The fact that we're still playing feels really good for me and [I] understand that we've put a lot into it. Hopefully we can go finish the job – that would be the best part about the season. It's always been a goal to win the last game of the year. We've got an opportunity to do it – it's certainly not going to be easy. It's going to take everything we've got. We're going up against a great, championship-level team and it's going to take our best."
There you have it. This season hasn't just been magical for Bucs fans, it's been pretty magical for Brady himself. You know what would add to the magic even more? A trip to Disney World right down the road after winning Super Bowl LV.
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