40 days was all that separated Tom Brady’s announcement he was “not going to make that competitive commitment anymore” and the shock decision to run it back for one more season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Then just a few weeks after, the Bucs confirmed Bruce Arians would step down from his head coaching position with Tampa Bay and transition into the new role of Senior Football Consultant as defensive co-ordinator Todd Bowles stepped up to fill Arians’ vacancy.
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Many felt that Arians’ transition into a front office role was due to his previous health issues, but an explosive report from the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin details that it was not the case.
As it turns out, Brady got up to quite a lot in those 40 days and if it wasn’t for a series of events at another team that he had no control over, we could’ve easily seen the star quarterback line up for a different team in Florida with a Super Bowl-winning coach.
Perhaps the biggest reason as to why Brady opted to walk from the Bucs in the first place helps to explain why Arians was moved to a different role.
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Rich Ohrnberger, a former guard who played with a number of the Bucs’ coaching staff in the NFL, shared the inside story that Brady and Arians didn’t quite view the game in the same way.
“The retirement announcement wasn’t because of the trouble seeing eye-to-eye on the offensive game planning, but the relationship was souring,” Ohrnberger wrote on Twitter.
“Apparently, while Arians was rehabbing the Achilles in the early mornings, offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich and Brady would work on the week’s game plan.
“Arians would later come in and take the red pen to work they’d done.
“The QB and OC felt undermined, there was tension.”
That wasn’t the sole reason why Brady was thinking about his future elsewhere.
According to the Boston Globe, Brady had been offered a position high up in the front office of the Miami Dolphins.
There are two major links that explain why Brady and the Dolphins would have made sense.
The first is Brady’s alma mater, the University of Michigan, as the business school is named after Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
The second is that Brady has a friendship with Dolphins minority owner Bruce Beal, with the duo attending the famous Kentucky Derby together.
Volin’s report details that Ross desperately wanted Brady as a member of the Dolphins organization to add some star power to the franchise and to also use it as a middle finger to Miami’s divisional rivals and Brady’s team of 19 years, the New England Patriots.
While Brady would have initially signed on for a front office role, the plan was for the Dolphins to eventually approach the Bucs about compensation for allowing the 44-year-old to come out of retirement and take snaps for Miami.
Had Brady gone to the Dolphins, he would have worked with a former Super Bowl-winning coach by the name of Sean Payton.
Payton, who led the New Orleans Saints to the Lombardi Trophy in 2009, announced on January 25 that he would be stepping down as head coach after 15 seasons with the franchise.
Brady and Payton came close to being a pair in 2020 when Saints great Drew Brees was weighing up retirement, but he ultimately elected to return as Brady moved to the Buccaneers instead.
The duo also share the same agent in Don Yee.
According to Volin, Brady was only going to move to the Dolphins if he had a veteran coach he could trust and Payton fit the bill.
However, Brady’s Dolphins plan exploded on the same day he announced he would be walking away from the NFL.
On February 1, former Dolphins coach Brian Flores filed a lawsuit against Miami and the NFL alleging racial discrimination and making shocking allegations that Ross attempted to lose games intentionally.
Volin claims that the lawsuit ruined everything, as the decision to potentially hire a white coach and a white team president without complying with the Rooney Rule wouldn’t go down so well after the franchise was sued for racial discrimination.
Flores’ lawsuit meant that Ross and Brady had to hold fire on their arrangement, leaving the star quarterback with two options: stay retired, or come back and play.
Ultimately he chose the latter, but Brady had some issues to clear up.
Perhaps it was taking in a football match across the pond that sealed his return.
Brady was in attendance to watch Manchester United defeat Tottenham Hostpur 3-2 on March 12, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick.
A relatively innocuous occasion it would seem, but given that United and the Bucs are owned by the Glazer family, one can read between the lines.
A day after the match at Old Trafford, Brady made the announcement he would be back with the Buc for one more year.
Then 17 days later, Arians was shifted into the front office role and Bowles was announced as the new head coach.
It must be noted that Brady hasn’t yet signed any official contract with Tampa Bay, so it is unknown how much longer he will be staying in Florida.
But had it not been for Flores’ lawsuit, that wouldn’t be a question the NFL world would be pondering.