Were it not for a global pandemic stealing the headlines, it would probably seem like a bigger deal that Tom Brady is no longer a member of the New England Patriots, with whom he went to more Super Bowls than any other individual franchise and also tied the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl trophies.
His success there is unparalleled, but he has willingly chosen to move on during the final leg of his career, signing a contract to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oddly enough, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knows something of what he is getting himself into as he heads for more hospitable weather during the football season.
The Buccaneers’ head coach is, of course, Bruce Arians, with whom Roethlisberger has had an extremely close relationship. It is widely believed that the closeness of their relationship was one of the chief catalysts behind the Steelers sloppily firing him as their offensive coordinator in 2012.
Speaking to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger said of Arians that he is “a great quarterbacks coach and a great players’ coach”. After being fired from the Steelers’ job, he would serve as interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts before landing a successful gig with the Arizona Cardinals, coaching Andrew Luck and a resurrected Carson Palmer along the way.
“Tom is going to love it there. Talk about going from the opposite ends of the spectrum with coaches”, Roethlisberger said, undoubtedly making reference to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who can be notoriously bristly, even with Brady.
In addition to Arians, Brady’s new offensive coordinator is going to be none other than former Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich, who served under Roethlisberger for a couple of seasons as his backup, so once again, the Pittsburgh quarterback knows a thing or two about what he’s getting himself into.
It’s fair to say that Roethlisberger and Todd Haley never quite had the same relationship that he had with Arians, who was also previously his quarterbacks coach. But he is very close to his new offensive coordinator, Randy Fichtner, who had spent the past decade as his quarterbacks coach as well.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see Brady in a Buccaneers uniform and running Arians’ offense. I can recall a time when Steelers fans would be wishing Pittsburgh ran the Patriots’ system. Now Brady will be running the system the Steelers had when New England kept beating them.