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For a brief time in his life, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury called Tom Brady his co-worker.

While he didn’t last long as a quarterback for the New England Patriots, he did get a chance to know his peer on a more personal level on a trip to the Bahamas. In an unplanned moment, Kingsbury got a direct glimpse at Brady’s unwavering commitment to his craft. Although the event took place almost two decades ago, it doesn’t look like the aging quarterback’s attitude has changed one bit.

And that’s exactly why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be considered a major threat to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

Kliff Kingsbury started his NFL career as Tom Brady’s teammate

Before he embarked on a coaching career, Kingsbury starred on the field as a record-setting quarterback at Texas Tech. After putting up big numbers in the Red Raiders’ pass-heavy offense, he got a chance to prove himself at the pro level.

The Patriots selected Kingsbury in the sixth round (201st overall) in the 2003 NFL draft. He arrived three years after Bill Belichick drafted another quarterback in the sixth round. At the time, though, Brady wasn’t viewed in quite the same light as he is now. So even though New England seemed to have hit big on the former Michigan signal-caller, it made sense to invest another pick on the position.

Unfortunately for Kingsbury, his tenure with the team ended rather quickly. He didn’t play a single snap as a rookie due to an arm injury. Meanwhile, Brady led the Patriots to their second Super Bowl title in three seasons. Seven months later, right before the 2004 season began, New England released Kingsbury.

In 2008, the journeyman quarterback officially made the transition from the field to the sidelines. Ironically, Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season, which represented the first major injury of his career. Obviously, though, that setback hasn’t stopped him from achieving incredible success. And if anyone understands what it’s like to see Brady overcome an adverse situation, it’s definitely Kingsbury.

Kingsbury learned everything he needed to know about TB12 down in the Bahamas

During an appearance on The Ringer‘s Flying Coach podcast, Kingsbury told a story about a trip to the Bahamas that included the greatest quarterback of all time. They both attended a wedding held in a place Kingsbury described as “Candyland for adults” called Baker’s Bay.

The 41-year-old said that everyone in their group — including Brady — spent the night “getting hammered.” Kingsbury woke up early the next day because he had difficulty sleeping. What happened next only backs up the many stories that have been told about Brady’s maniacal dedication to training.

“I get in a little golf cart, and I’m cruising along, and I get up, and I see on these polo fields some dude with some other guy, and it looks like he’s doing resistance bands drops,” Kingsbury said.

At 7:30 in the morning, Brady already had sweat (and maybe some of the alcohol from the night before) pouring out of his pores.

“He has this assistant holding his resistance bands, and he’s just crushing these drops, just killing it and getting this workout in,” Kingsbury said. “I’m like, listen, you are such a sociopath.”

Of course, that level of dedication has led to Brady hoisting the Lombardi Trophy seven times in his NFL career.

“His desire to be the best ever is on another level,” Kingsbury said. “The world hasn’t seen much like this. A guy who has dedicated every waking moment, diet, sleep, work ethic, to being the best ever.”

Can the Cardinals take a step forward as Brady tries to win back-to-back titles with the Buccaneers?

Tom Brady shouts at the crowd as Kliff Kingsbury watches the Arizona Cardinals practice.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady shouts at the crowd as Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury watches his team practice. | Patrick Smith/Getty Images | Christian Petersen/Getty Image

Brady enters his age-44 season with a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowl titles for the second time in his career. Kingsbury, who turns 42 six days after Brady’s birthday, is just trying to make the playoffs for the first time as an NFL head coach.

While the Buccaneers boast a balanced roster of established stars and young up-and-comers, the Cardinals look like a franchise that’s trying to turn back the clock to 2015. They spent big money in free agency to bring in J.J. Watt and A.J. Green. Both players have legitimate cases to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, but Watt and Green don’t appear to have much left in the tank. Given their respective injury histories, it seems like a major risk to bank on them staying healthy all season.

If Arizona has any shot at making the playoffs, Kingsbury must figure out a way to unlock all of Kyler Murray’s potential. Selected No. 1 overall in 2019, the dual-threat quarterback needs to become a more consistent passer and continue to master the nuances of playing the position at the NFL level. If Kingsbury can’t make Murray a star, he may not be the Cardinals’ head coach much longer.

Meanwhile, Bruce Arians doesn’t have to worry about job security. Because as long as Brady wants to call Tampa home, the Buccaneers will continue to compete for Super Bowl titles.


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