Pushed out the door in New England by a coach who is infamous for getting rid of a player a year early instead of a year too late, Tom Brady seems to have taken a page out of Bill Belichick’s book and orchestrated his former coach in Tampa Bay stepping aside as head coach of the Buccaneers.
In an announcement on Wednesday evening that was likely surprising to everyone but high-ranking members of the front office in Tampa and Brady, Bruce Arians informed his coaching staff and players that he was stepping aside as the head coach of the Buccaneers. Arians, who coached the team to a Super Bowl win over the Chiefs just 14 months ago, will take on a new role for the team as a senior football consultant. In a corresponding move, the Buccaneers are promoting defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to the position of head coach.
“With the organization in probably the best shape it’s been in its history with Brady coming back, I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some [crappy] job,” Arians told NBC’s Peter King. “I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it next February because [if] Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it’s an open interview for the job. I got 31 [coaches and their] families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down.”
After the news was announced, Brady offered up praise to the man that coached him for two years.
Brady can say whatever he wants publicly, but Arians stepping down only adds more weight to a number of reports that the behind-the-scenes relationship between the two had become strained to the point that it may have led to the 44-year-old QB’s announcement that he was stepping away from pro football.
As many predicted, Brady’s “retirement” was short-lived, possibly because he received assurances that if he returned to the Bucs, Arians would not. Though the Buccaneers insist that the Arians’s departure was not related to Brady’s decision, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the quarterback knew his coach of two years would be out the door before he agreed to come back.
It’s also worth noting that Brady likely signed off on Bowles — who was the head coach of the New York Jets and was fired despite doing a decent job — taking over for Arians. Perhaps Brady knew it would help with recruiting new players to Tampa Bay and bringing back important free agents like Ndamukong Suh and Rob Gronkowski.
Brady lost his power struggle in New England, ended up in Tampa with Arians and then won the Super Bowl. This time around, Brady won the power struggle and seemingly pushed Arians out. With Belichick struggling in New England and Arians now gone, Brady — who has basically become the LeBron James of the NFL — wins again. It’s cold but also extremely competitive, and if he wins another Super Bowl no one in Tampa will mind.
One of the older coaches in the NFL at the age of 69, Arians has a career 89-51-1 coaching record, two Coach of the Year awards and one Super Bowl title. Had Brady let him, he may have been able to pad that resume a bit more with some more wins and maybe another title to give himself an even better shot at the Hall of Fame.