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I Choose To Believe Tom Brady Forced Out Bruce Arians

TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers talk before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Please let Tom Brady be the reason Bruce Arians “retired.” Please let Tom Brady be the reason Bruce Arians “retired.” Please let Tom Brady be the reason Bruce Arians “retired.” Please let Tom Brady be the reason Bruce Arians “retired.” Please let Tom Brady be the reason Bruce Arians “retired.”

There. I think I’ve covered the desired narrative of how Arians and Brady became ships in the night that smashed into the iceberg Glazer. No matter what Arians says today, no matter what Brady leaked yesterday, no matter what Peter King or Rick Stroud have been told in covering the sudden palace coup … just let it be a standard old palace coup with bloody footprints that lead to an open window. Because palace coups are great fun. Movies have been made from palace coups set amid wide swaths of well-distributed dishonesties. Movies are rarely made from peaceful transitions of power.

No, this needs to be Brady telling Joel Glazer, “Sure I’ll come back, but not if that cranky old S.O.B. is still the coach.” Or even, “I’d love to come back but Todd Bowles is my true coaching soulmate.” Or most delightful of all, “Sure I’ll come back, but I will be the power behind whatever you put on the throne, because you need me more than I need you, and I will own you the way you own Manchester United.”

The reason it has to be that way is not because Mike Florio thinks it might be, but because we need Brady to be the villain one more time for our own amusement. He couldn’t bring down Bill Belichick so he opted for the next best thing available, and he probably wouldn’t have had the throw-weight to kneecap Kyle Shanahan because Jed York would rather consume live methed-out badgers than cross Shanahan. He couldn’t make Bobby Kraft bend the knee so he made the Glazers do a family downward dog. At least that’s the version we want, and who’s to contradict us? The principals in this story, who have all already denied it? Don’t make me laugh.

This needs to be what we believe because it fits the most biases. We haven’t a single shred of evidence that it is any of this, but the story is told by the teller, not the doer. History isn’t written by the winners, but by the correspondents closest to the winners’ tent. This seems like something of which Brady is fully capable, so let the architect be Brady. Not because it is Brady, but because it’s sexier if it is Brady.

If Arians retired because he suddenly remembered that he’s almost 70 years old and being a coach is six hours of practice, three hours of game, and 159 hours of unrelenting bullshit on a weekly basis, sucking up to billionaires, spitting downward at journalists, and wishing there was a piece of private beach one could lounge upon soaking in a giant barrel of Long Island iced tea. That’s a story that makes sense only if you know what a load of busywork coaching actually is, but it isn’t nearly close enough to the modern American definition of fun—the kind in which treachery wears a tight split-hem skirt, a scoopneck blouse, and an unlit Gaulois who answers to the single name Veronica, a world in which backstabbing is almost but not quite as good as frontstabbing. We love treachery. We’ve devoted most of our pop culture industry to treachery. We want viscera-caked guile because, well, that’s how most bosses got the corner office. 

What we don’t want is for Brady to have been blindsided by this development. We want him to finish his career with a level of brazen bastardy that would make General Manager LeBron James blanch in respectful fear. We want Brady sitting in a big chair behind a desk stroking a white cat while accepting visitors and supplicants on the day of his daughter’s wedding, and we want Glazer to be the consigliere flying out to Hollywood to straighten out Jack Woltz. It’s the best, most satisfying, and deliciously sleaziest way for this to go down.

In short, I offer no truths about how Arians’s sudden retirement happened, though it’s fairly certain that whatever version you hear will be laundered, spun, and lacquered over from someone’s obedient dogsbody. Thus, we are left to make up our own version of how Bruce Arians kicked himself upstairs, one that meets our tastes, kinks, and biases. We desire the perfect quarterbacking scandalspiracy, only this time the villain isn’t blockheaded fuckwit Jimmy Haslam but the suave Bond villain Tom Brady. And until someone shows us the severed head in the freezer and the decapitated body behind the rec room drywall that shows it wasn’t Brady at all, that’s what we’re going with. Truth is, they’re better at lying to us than we are at figuring out how they’re lying, so the easy path for most folks is to accept horseshit as golden.

But that won’t do, not at all. We know a better version not because we know anything at all, but because we know what we like and what we want, and we can make up nearly anything the lesions in our decomposing brains will allow us to generate. In short, barring the arrival of a version of events even more Machiavellian, I am following the old adage from that saintly old newspimp Wes (Scoop) Nisker: “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”