Bill Belichick and Tom Brady helped the New England Patriots become one of the most dominant dynasties of all-time. They reached nine Super Bowls, won six Super Bowl titles, and appeared in 13 AFC Championship Games. Brady, though, decided to leave the Patriots and go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 season. He has ultimately looked much better than Belichick since leaving, too, as he has the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. Because of this, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians just potentially exposed Belichick’s biggest flaw.
Tom Brady has led the Buccaneers to the NFC Championship Game
After spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, Tom Brady began playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020. He potentially had his best season since 2015, too.
Brady threw for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions this season. His passing yards were his most since 2015, and his passing touchdowns were his most since 2007. Brady’s play helped lead the Buccaneers to an 11-5 record and a trip to the playoffs.
In the playoffs, the Buccaneers defeated the Washington Football Team 31-23 in the wild-card round. Brady had a great game, too, throwing for 381 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Then, in the divisional round, Tampa defeated Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, 30-20. Brady threw for 199 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The win clinched a spot in Brady’s 14th conference championship game. He is looking much better than Bill Belichick, too, who saw his Patriots go 7-9 and miss the playoffs in 2020.
Bruce Arians called out Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots
While Brady won six Super Bowls with Belichick, he has certainly had a ton of success statistically with Bruce Arians. Having receivers like Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Chris Godwin probably helps, too, though. Brady’s 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns in 2020 compared to only 4,057 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019.
Arians ultimately revealed what he has done to help Brady find success this season, too.
“Consummate leader,” Arians said of Brady to NBC Sports’ Peter King, according to CBS Sports. “Has been all year. Got the air of confidence that permeates through our team every day. I allow him to be himself. Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”
Woah, that sounds like Arians was taking a shot at Belichick. So, is he right?
Bruce Arians potentially exposed Bill Belichick’s biggest flaw
What made the Patriots so successful over the years was that they had the “Patriot way.”
“The strict guideline – which was etched by Belichick – has formed the team-first mentality the Patriots have displayed over the past two decades,” Devon Clements of Sports Illustrated wrote. “It also kept them on track for a historic run of success that we have never and may never see again in the history of the NFL.”
Belichick’s strict rules can potentially keep his players from having as much fun as players on other teams. This also potentially leads to free agents not wanting to join the team. Winning ends up being fun, though, and the Pats have done a lot of that.
However, those restrictions might have also played a small role in Brady’s decision to leave: “Days after he signed with Tampa Bay he went on Howard Stern’s radio show and showed a more open and honest side of himself than we ever saw from Brady when he was a Patriot,” Clements highlighted.
So, Arians’ comment essentially showed that while Belichick’s “Patriot way” is a major reason why he has been so successful, it is also flawed. However, what Arians said is still not 100% accurate.
When talking to Howard Stern, Brady also revealed how much power he had in New England.
“I would say, ‘You know, I don’t have any trust that this guy can help us win the game,'” Brady said, according to The Boston Globe. “I mean I [could] definitely express my opinion to say, ‘If you put him out there, I’m not going to throw him the ball.'”
He also said that “Belichick always saw it the same way as” he did.
“Which is why I think we have such a great connection, because he saw football very much the same way I saw it,” Brady said, according to The Boston Globe.
So, yes, Belichick’s “Patriot way” is flawed, but Brady was probably above it, to a degree. He still probably has more say in Tampa, though, which might be why Arians said what he did, and why the Buccaneers are in the NFC Championship Game while the Pats are at home.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference