Did Bruce Arians take a shot at Bill Belichick?
Max Kellerman believes so.
Arians recently offered his viewpoint on what motivated Tom Brady throughout the quarterback’s first season in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers head coach wondered whether Brady, a fierce competitor, simply “wanted to try a different way” after spending 20 seasons playing for Belichick with the New England Patriots.
Of course, Arians couched his stance by explaining he’s never said anything bad about Belichick, whom he considers probably the greatest coach ever. But Kellerman still thinks Arians’ comments were a jab at Belichick, even if it wasn’t necessarily intentional.
“Yeah. Pretty clearly, yes. And (Arians) doesn’t even have to want to take the shot. That doesn’t have to be his intention — ‘I’m gonna say something, I’m gonna aim at Bill Belichick’ — but shots fired. Yeah, of course,” Kellerman said earlier this week on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Because as I keep saying, the No. 1 sports debate of the 21st century in the United States of America is: Was it more Brady or Belichick (in New England)? … It was the great debate. Then they parted ways, and Brady won a Super Bowl Year 1.”
Well, yeah. We all know the story by now. Brady took his talents to Central Florida, completely changed the culture surrounding an organization long known for its futility and went on an epic run to secure his seventh ring, all while the Patriots stumbled to a 7-9 finish and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
To say Brady is winning the supposed war against Belichick would be an understatement. That Brady has achieved success within an environment that is very much the antithesis of the buttoned-up “Patriot Way” only opens Belichick to more criticism.
Kellerman added: “So when Brady’s new coach says, ‘Hey, Belichick is probably the greatest of all time. But I think Brady wanted to try another way.’ In other words, (Arians is saying), ‘Brady can win Super Bowls without Belichick. The Patriot Way is not just the Belichick Way. That had a lot to do with Brady. You don’t have to enter the no-fun zone to win a Super Bowl. You could do it over here with me. Maybe if I had Brady that whole time, doing it another way, I’d be the greatest coach of all time.’
“Yes, I don’t see, especially after what Brady just did, the kind of lead he has on Belichick at this moment, the way he has someone like me, I never thought I’d say it, Brady’s way up on Belichick right now. For his new coach to come out and say what he said is a shot at Belichick.”
Brady obviously wasn’t the only reason the Bucs thrived this season, as Tampa Bay also had an excellent defense that took its game to another level in the postseason, even flustering Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs offense throughout Super Bowl LV.
“Bruce Arians is saying, ‘Well, if it’s not collaborative. If (Belichick’s) the boss and that’s it, yeah, they won that way. But I won collaborating with this dude (Brady), and you can do that.’ And so that is also a shot,” Kellerman said. “Whether he means to or not, it’s a shot at Belichick, especially now. Belichick’s sitting there at 7-9. Tom Brady just won the Super Bowl, right? And he name checks Belichick — Arians does — and says, ‘They did it that way all those years. We did it this way one year, we got a ring. You don’t have to just do it that way.’ That’s a shot.”
Wonder what Belichick thinks of all this. Then again, the Patriots coach has enough on his plate right now given the uncertainty across New England’s roster, most notably at the QB position.