I'm going to need you to forgive me for the blatantly clickbaity nature of that headline. Like I said last night in a Mini Jerk Reaction to the Bucs-Saints game, I really don't know what I'm doing right now or how I'm supposed to think or feel watching Tom Brady quarterback the losingest franchise in league history. If you'll allow me yet another "Star Trek" analogy (and I'll do it with or without your approval), one time a space probe robot scanned Lt. Uhura's brain and called it "a mass of conflicting impulses." (To which Captain Kirk replied, "That is a woman." The '60s were a different time on network TV.) That perfectly describes me in Week 1 of the NFL season. I don't know whether to keep my factory setting of wanting Brady to triumph and destroy all his doubters, or hope he struggles so he'll see the error of his ways and make him wish he'd never left us. Or somewhere in between. There's no right answer, but there seems to be no limit to the wrong ones either.
Anyhoo, if there's an institution in all this I have minus-1 to the millionth power loyalty to, it's the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I owe them nothing. And will continue to invent new fucks not to give about their clownshow franchise. How I can reconcile that with him default position of being loyal to the guy who brought us to nine Super Bowls, I don't know. I'm still working that out. But I'd be lying if I said it doesn't fill me with perverse joy that in his first game as a Buc, Brady's head coach is calling him out.
Remember how Bruce Arians was going to be Coach McFriendly? The guy who'll hit the tailgate scene after the game and crush Bud Lights with the Joe Sixpacks and Charlie Charcoals in the parking lot? How he was all about having fun? Grabassing with the players and media alike? How he was going to be the camp counselor who organized the canoe races and taught you archery and told the best ghost stories around the campfire? Which is why Brady chose Tampa and Gronk unretired to go join them in the sandbox.
Arians is supposed to be the polar opposite of Sleeveless McNasty up there in the cold, grim northeast where there is no joy. But I defy you to find one postgame press conference where Bill Belichick so pointedly and directly criticized Brady like this. Forget it. Don't bother. Because if he did, you'd remember it. No one would have shut up about it since.
Hell, we still hear it all the time about how Belichick [lazy cliche' alert] "threw Brady under the bus" at the Mona Lisa Vito press conference in 2015. Because he was asked a direct question about how Brady likes his footballs prepared and he said that's a question Tom would have to answer. Which has always been repeated with an exaggerated, over the top snarl like "Why don't you ask HIM how he likes his footballs?!?" Which was neither the tone nor the intent. But it hasn't stopped anyone from pushing a false narrative about shoves and public transportation. Or does nobody else remember that business about Brady never being named The Patriot of the Week, an honor that does not exist?
It's well documented that Belichick is no barrel of monkeys when it comes to position meetings and reviewing game film. Literally dozens of guys have passed through this roster and were astonished at how he spares no one's feelings when pointing out the things they need to do better, even after a huge win. That's his coaching style. He's a harsh grader. And he doesn't make exceptions for the Platonic Ideal of the perfect quarterback. And while Brady responded to the criticism in the spirit it was intended, by working harder and getting better, the treatment reportedly didn't always go over well at home:
But that's in private. Ask Belichick what happened when his quarterback threw two balls away including a pick-6 in a press conference and I can guarantee you with a moral certain you'll get something about how "we need to coach it better, practice it better, execute it better." That's the difference between him and Mr. Happy Fun Time in Tampa. He'd never single out a player and embarrass him in front of the world. He keeps everything in house and takes the blame for their failings.
Maybe Brady doesn't care. Maybe he'll do his contractually obligated interviews this week and agree that yes, those mistakes were entirely on him and he needs to keep grinding to improve. But based on the way he put Mike Evans on blast after that first one, I don't think so. So it'll definitely be a situation to monitor going forward because I highly doubt this is how he expected to be publicly treated by Bruce Arians. Especially given the difference between his coaching record and the one of the coach he left:
If it keeps up, someone's getting a visit from a very angry fashion icon.
P.S. I hate myself for saying some of this. Or even thinking it. I might have to sit out the Bucs season.