Bruce Arians Admits What We All Knew to Be True: Tom Brady's Divorce Ruined His Final Season
There can be no doubt that the relationship between Tom Brady and Bruce Arians has been, to put it mildly, complicated. From the day in 2020 that Arians pulled his Deliverer from a basket floating down the river from Foxboro to the first month of that season when Brady clearly scrapped the offense Arians had been running his entire career and installed his own. From the Lombardi Trophy Brady brought to Arians to his growing frustration with the ingratitude he received:
From Brady's non-retirement last year to his return to Arians' own not-at-all-coincidental retirement that followed soon after:
It's clear the two were simply a marriage of convenience that couldn't last. Brady was used to a certain level of competence in a head coach that no one else could match. Arians was all about being a "players coach." They were both too set in their ways to co-exist for long. Sadly, it happens.
But that doesn't mean they don't know one another. Intimately. And so when his old coach goes on Rich Eisen to open up about what's going on in the GOAT's soul, it's going to be very telling:
"Tom wasn't himself, you know, with all the things that were going on. And I got to give him all the credit in the world for battling through what he went through last year for his teammates. I think the world of him but it wasn't the real Tom Brady out there."
Sad, but true. And obvious to anyone watching who feels an emotional connection to TB12. The Bucs can blame last season's failures to the lack of a run game or losing Shaquille Barrett and Ryan Jensen to injuries. But we all know that what they were truly lacking was a happy quarterback. That the real injury was a broken heart, that nothing could heal.
Not even his first love, football.
Only four times in his previous 20 seasons as a starter had Brady lost five or more games, and never more than seven. Last year he lost nine. He was one & done in the playoffs for just the fourth time. He broke the NFL record for single-season completions he'd set the year before, and set a new one for pass attempts. Still, his 25 touchdowns were tied for the second fewest he'd thrown since 2006, when his WR1 was Reche Caldwell. His yards per completion were in the single digits for the first time in his life, and his yards per attempt were the lowest since his non-playoff season of 2002. Facts are stubborn things.
You can argue that was age finally, at long last, catching up to him. You can make excuses about a lack of talent around him. Arians and I know better. Tom Brady is simply a man who loves too much. It's been the source of his strength. The yellow sun to his Kryptonian DNA. And when it was taken away from him, there was no wrapping himself up in football in order to insulate him from the pain.
It's sad, and yet strangely beautiful at the same time. The only other time Brady was brought down by injury was the ACL tear he got from Bernard Pollard in the 1st quarter of the first game in 2008. And 14 seasons later, what finally ended his career was a torn marriage. Truly, this league was never meant for one as beautiful as this man.