How close was Tom Brady experiment to failing? Here was Bucs' 'moment of truth'

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Darren Hartwell
·3 min read
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Patriots Talk Podcast: Bucs' Brady experiment came this close to failing originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

As the Buccaneers prepare to host Super Bowl LV after knocking off the top-seeded Green Bay Packers, it's easy to frame Tom Brady's first season in Tampa Bay as a smashing success.

But it wasn't too long ago that there were serious questions about whether the Bucs made the right decision by signing the former New England Patriots quarterback.

Just ask Ira Kaufman of JoeBucsFan.com, who watched Tampa Bay lose three of four in November to slip to 7-5 entering its Week 13 bye.

As Kaufman told our Tom E. Curran on a new Patriots Talk Podcast, that bye week was the "moment of truth" for Brady and the Bucs.

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"They were wobbly," Kaufman told Curran. "The division title was basically out of reach. New Orleans had it wrapped up at that point, and a lot of people thought this team (was) not going to make the playoffs.

"This Brady experiment (was) going to be a colossal failure. They brought in all these veterans because they had Brady, and now you have an old team that doesn't make the playoffs. There's nothing worse than that.

"(Head coach) Bruce Arians could have been canned. There was a lot of speculation: Brady can't throw the long ball, Brady and Arians aren't getting along, they don't know what to do with this offense."

So, what changed? How did Brady and the Bucs magically resolve their differences and rip off seven consecutive wins after the bye?

Brady insists he 'wouldn't change anything' about 20 years with Pats

Kaufman believes it came down to this: Tampa Bay's offensive brain trust decided to give Brady full autonomy. 

"I think there was a summit meeting with Arians, Brady, (offensive coordinator Byron) Leftwich and Clyde Christensen, the quarterbacks coach (about), 'What are we doing here?' " Kaufman said. "And I think -- very wisely on Arians' part -- he said, 'Tom, what do you like and what don't you like, and we're going to go with what you like.'

"That's the smart thing to do. They say coaches coach and players play. You make the exception for Tom Brady. He has proven it over two decades. He's got the rings.

"I think they totally re-wired the offense to Brady's specifications, and the results have been spectacular."

Arians admitted recently he allows his QB to coach (unlike Brady's former bosses in New England), while Brady gushed about his head coach being "very loyal" Thursday. So, it looks like they're certainly on the same page now.

The latest Patriots Talk Podcast also features Curran's interesting discussion with FOX Sports' Colin Cowherd, who shared a bold opinion about Bill Belichick's legacy compared to that of Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

Check out the latest episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below: