Bruce Arians Doth Protest Too Much About Lack of Tom Brady Beef

Tampa's former coach is still saying his relationship with Tampa's current quarterback was just fine

Tom Brady talks with ex-head coach Bruce Arians before a regular season game
Tom Brady talks with ex-head coach Bruce Arians before a regular season game.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Shortly after Valentine’s Day, former Patriot, Cardinal and Charger and current NFL analyst Rich Ohrnberger reported that things were not all lovey-dovey in Tampa Bay last season between quarterback Tom Brady and then coach Bruce Arians.

“The Tom Brady & Bruce Arians honeymoon was over in Tampa,” Ohrnberger wrote. “The retirement announcement wasn’t because of the trouble seeing eye to eye on the offensive game planning, but the relationship was souring. Apparently, while Arians was rehabbing the Achilles in the early mornings, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Brady would work on the week’s game plan. Arians would later come in and take the red pen to work they’d done. The QB and OC felt undermined, there was tension.”

Following that report, which Arians called “bullshit,” Brady eventually announced he would be returning to the Bucs. Weeks later, Arians announced he would be stepping aside as the coach in Tampa Bay just 14 months after winning a Super Bowl to take on a new role for the team as a senior football consultant.

At the time, the organization denied ditching Arians as coach in favor of former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles had anything to do with underlying tensions involving Brady — likely not true as Brady reportedly knew, and possibly demanded, Arians would be gone before he agreed to come back. Were it true that things between Brady and Arians were all sunshine and rainbows, why would the latter continue to insist that everything was fine as he did at the Arians Family Foundation gala over the weekend?

Speaking at the event, which did not feature Brady in attendance, Arians offered up his former quarterback promising to give him some expensive jewelry as proof that their relationship was on solid footing. (Fans of The Sopranos may recall Carmela deploying a similar thought process to justify that things between her and Tony were on solid footing.)

“Tom just sent me a picture [Sunday]. He got a present for me. It’s a $50,000 watch,” Arians said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “He says he’s bringing it to me. Who does that if we hate each other? As soon as he’s back in town, we’ll play golf. It’s never going to go away, no matter what anyone says. It’s a national narrative that they think they know, but they don’t.”

As Queen Gertrude put it in Hamlet, Arians doth protest too much, methinks.

It wasn’t necessary for Brady and Arians to hate each other for their working relationship to deteriorate to the point that it was dysfunctional and one of them had to go. It initially looked like that person was going to be Brady, but after ownership in Tampa came to their senses, they decided they’d rather have their quarterback than their coach. You can bet there are some people in New England who wish the owners of the Patriots came to the same decision in March of 2020 before Brady bolted from Boston for Florida.

It’s worth noting that before Brady left the Pats, there were plenty of reports that things between Brady and the organization, especially coach Bill Belichick, had soured. They were denied — and they were true.

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