BOSTON (CBS) — If Tom Brady winning another playoff game wasn’t enough to get New England fired up on Monday morning, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians took a bit of a shot at the Patriots coaching staff after Brady helped lead his Buccaneers to the NFC Championship Game.
In talking with NBC Sports’ Peter King after Sunday’s NFC Divisional Round victory over the Saints, the Tampa Bay head coach called out Bill Belichick for how he ran things in New England while Brady was the team’s quarterback. Simply put, Belichick never let Brady be himself and never took advantage of the quarterback’s leadership — something Arians isn’t letting go to waste in Tampa Bay.
Arians called Brady the “consummate leader” when chatting with King for his Monday morning column, and said that he’s making full use of Brady’s leadership.
“[Brady’s] got the air of confidence that permeates through our team every day. I allow him to be himself,” said Arians. “Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”
Letting Brady call some plays has certainly worked in Tampa, but Belichick’s approach with Brady worked pretty well in New England. The Patriots have six Super Bowl banners hanging at Gillette Stadium to prove it, so maybe Arians should wait until the rest of the postseason plays out to take a victory lap.
But it’s not just Arians who is praising Brady for his leadership in Tampa Bay, and that leadership is not just relegated to the offensive side of the ball. What Brady says permeates throughout the Buccaneers roster, and Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White shared one such story with King following Sunday’s 30-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
“Thing I love about Tom is he’s always teaching,” said White. “Teaching me how to be a great leader. Every single day, every single practice, he puts the team before himself. First few days he’s in the locker room, we’re all like, ‘We’re in the locker room with the greatest quarterback of all time!’ Like, I wanna talk to him, I wanna get a picture with him. But then, he’s your teammate. You’re here for a reason.
“Few weeks ago, I was kinda upset I didn’t make the Pro Bowl. He’s like, ‘D, there’s a bigger bowl I’m chasing. We’re all chasing it. C’mon.’ I just thought, man, it’s a blessing to hear that,” continued White. “I need to hear that. This thing’s about us. He’s still chasing those bowls in his forties. I am just so grateful to be able to spend this time with him.”
Brady’s leadership has the Buccaneers one game away from making a Super Bowl. In beating the Saints on Sunday, Brady is now heading to the 14th conference championship game of his Hall of Fame career.