By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — There are many different ways to successfully lead a football team. Bill Belichick’s understated stoicism obviously works. Pete Carroll’s unadulterated exuberance works, too. There’s no one right way to coach.READ MORE: 'It's Like An Assault.' Bar Made Famous By 'Perfect Storm' Asks For Return Of Stolen Photo Album
So, if one were to say that Bruce Arians has a vastly different style of coaching than Belichick, it’s not necessarily an endorsement of one and a repudiation of the other. It merely states a fact.
And while Tom Brady would never publicly say a controversial word about Belichick, and while Belichick would likewise never publicly say a bad word about Brady … well, Arians doesn’t seem to have a problem with stirring up a little trouble.
“I think personally, too, he’s making a statement,” Arians told Sports Illustrated. “You know? It wasn’t all Coach Belichick.”
Oh. That is one spicy taco.READ MORE: 'A Tragic Case Of Domestic Violence.' Police Investigating Possible Murder-Suicide In Oxford
It’s also the second semi-barb that Arians has taken at Belichick, as the Bucs coach said after the divisional round win in New Orleans that he allows Brady “to be himself. Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”
The most recent comment came in the middle of a larger feature, which also included how Arians listened to Brady’s suggestions during the Bucs’ Week 13 bye and wholly handed the reins of the offense to the quarterback. According to Arians, the coach wanted the QB to feel as comfortable as possible as the Bucs tried to win out for the remainder of their schedule, and he even told Brady, “if you don’t like [something], we’re throwing it out.”
While Brady will always look fondly upon his 20 years with Belichick, the handing over of the keys to the offense in Tampa — from recruiting Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette, to becoming the de facto assistant offensive coordinator midseason — is the type of leash that Brady obviously would have never been given back in Foxboro.
That’s not to say that one way was right and the other was wrong. The six Lombardis parked next to Gillette Stadium make a strong case that the Patriots ran their operation rather well for quite some time, after all.
Yet it’s impossible to not notice the stark difference in just about everything around Brady in Tampa compared to his previous life in New England. While the quarterback’s focus was certainly more on winning than proving his old boss wrong, it would be naive to think that Belichick’s refusal to commit to Brady after the age of 40 didn’t land on Brady’s very long list of grievances (real, imagined, and otherwise).MORE NEWS: 'Amazing, Absolutely Amazing.' Former NFL Player Living In Provincetown Reacts To Carl Nassib's Coming Out
In that sense, Arians’ assertion that Brady was setting out to prove that he could win without Belichick does have a hint of truth to it. Just don’t expect Brady to ever actually say it out loud.