Bruce Arians Takes Shot at New England, Says He Allows Tom Brady ‘To Be Himself’

by Josh Lanier

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Bruce Arians said New England held Tom Brady back. He’s not going to do that, the coach recently told NBC after his team’s 30-20 win over New Orleans, because he’s allowing the future Hall of Famer “to be himself.”

Arians spoke with NBC’s Peter King about Brady’s leadership skills, and how he tries to stay out of the quarterback’s way.

“[Brady’s] got the air of confidence that permeates through our team every day. I allow him to be himself,” Arians said. “Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”

It’s a not-so-subtle jab at Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is famously strict and regimented. Though it’s hard to argue with success. Belichick and Brady went to nine Super Bowls and won six in 20 seasons together.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who also played for both coaches, recently said he felt he could be himself in Tampa Bay.

“They’re both great coaches for sure,” Gronkowski said. “I love getting coached up, but one of the biggest things that I would just say is the freedom. The freedom of just being yourself with the coaches.”

Tom Brady’s Playoff Experience A Help for Younger Players

Tom Brady, 43, is about to play in his 14th conference championship Sunday when the Bucs take on Green Bay. That experience has been a big help to keep younger players prepared and composed, Arias said.

Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, 22, said having Brady as a resource has been invaluable.

“Thing I love about Tom is he’s always teaching,” White told NBC Sports. “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.”

Brady has also helped players remain focused on what actually matters. For example, Brady wouldn’t let White get angry about missing the Pro Bowl. That’s because there was something bigger at stake.

“Few weeks ago, I was kinda upset I didn’t make the Pro Bowl,” Devin White said. “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. 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.