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Bruce Arians says Bucs offer freedom Tom Brady didn’t have with Patriots: ‘New England didn’t allow him to coach’

Tom Brady glances at his ex-coach on the sidelines of a 2014 game.
Tom Brady glances at his ex-coach on the sidelines of a 2014 game.Matthew J. Lee

Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians isn’t taking credit for Tom Brady’s 14th conference title game appearance.

Brady, who finished with 199 yards passing and two touchdowns in a 30-20 win over the Saints in Sunday’s divisional-round game to set up an NFC Championship showdown with the Packers, is just in a position to capitalize on his talents, Arians said.

“I allow him to be himself,” Arians told NBC’s Peter King. “Like, New England didn’t allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch.”

Tom Brady and Bruce Arians celebrate Sunday's win over New Orleans.
Tom Brady and Bruce Arians celebrate Sunday's win over New Orleans.Butch Dill/Associated Press

Patriots coach Bill Belichick may quibble with that assessment.

While it’s true that Brady sought a new team after 20 years of hard-nosed coaching by Belichick in New England, the three-time MVP had an indisputable say in the direction of the team.

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In April 2020, he gave Howard Stern an example of his input when it came to finding receivers whom he could trust.

“I would say, ‘You know, I don’t have any trust that this guy can help us win the game,’ " Brady explained. “I mean I [could] definitely express my opinion to say, ‘If you put him out there, I’m not going to throw him the ball.’ ”

Brady continued, saying that he and his former coach were often on the same page.

“Fortunately for me, Coach Belichick always saw it the same way as me,” he said, “which is why I think we have such a great connection, because he saw football very much the same way I saw it.

“We saw the process of winning very much the same way.”

Winning was something the pair did well; they had 13 conference title game appearances, nine Super Bowl appearances, and won six Lombardi Trophies in their two decades together.

In his comments on the day Brady announced he was leaving the Patriots, Belichick alluded to the formative role Brady had in shaping the franchise.

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“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program,” said Belichick. “He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and perpetuated our culture. On a daily basis, he was a tone setter and a bar raiser.”



Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.