Playbook Cleansing, Quarterback Culture & More

October 9th, 2021

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Christmas just came early for Buc fans.

Noted sports author Lars Anderson’s new book, “A Season in the Sun,” will be on sale Oct. 19, offering unique insights into the relationship between Tom Brady and Bruce Arians during Tampa Bay’s 2020 championship run.

Anderson, who collaborated with Arians on “The Quarterback Whisperer,” was granted special access to deliver a behind-the-scenes look of the dynamics at One Buc Place, starting with the courtship of Brady 19 months ago.

Bruce Arians new book is on the way

Jason Licht and Buc assistant coaches carved out time with Anderson to reveal details about the Super Bowl quest that have never been reported — until now.

Anderson asked me to sit down with Arians and write the foreword in the coach’s words and I recently received an advance copy of the 267-page book.

Buc fans are going to love the juicy insight.

Did you know the pursuit of Brady was so secretive that members inside the organization talked about it in code: Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson? According to Anderson, Bucs director of player personnel John Spytek coined the phrase, which refers to the rather long odds of a former Chicago White Sox player showing up in an Iowa cornfield in the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams.”

But Spytek, who played one season with Brady at Michigan, had reason to believe the Bucs had a good chance to lure Brady to Tampa as a free agent.

Arians responded by dispatching quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen to study Brady’s recent tape and render a verdict.

“Tom has still got it,” Christensen told Arians after analyzing every Brady throw of the previous four years. “He hasn’t lost anything. The talent around him just wasn’t as good last season. He’s still at the top of the class.”

Inside the Brady-Jameis switch

The book also reveals how Jameis Winston’s stock tumbled within the walls of One Buc Place during the late stages of the 2019 season.

“B.A. felt we needed a change in the culture, and that started with a change at the quarterback position,” Christensen told Anderson. “As a person, we all loved Jameis. He worked his tail off for us. He was a good leader, a guy who was first in the building in the morning and the last to leave at night.

“He cared about football and he cared about Bruce. He didn’t want to disappoint Bruce. But at some point you just have to realize when something isn’t working.”

With Tampa Bay’s season on the brink at 7-5, Anderson writes that Brady and Arians engaged in a Nov. 30 phone conversation that lasted more than an hour.

“We’re going to figure this out,” Arians told Brady during the bye week. “If you don’t like something in the playbook, we’re going to throw it out. We need to do what you’re comfortable with. If something isn’t working, we’ll ditch it.

“I need you to feel like every time we call a play, it’s a play you believe in. If you don’t have that belief, then let’s talk about it and we’ll get it right if you think that’s best.”

Arians termed the discussion “a melding of the minds,” and Brady then called Byron Leftwich to flesh out the details.

Anderson also describes a scene between Licht and Arians following the Super Bowl rout of the Chiefs. Many of the players had already departed to the Florida Aquarium for the post-game party, but the head coach and GM hung around for one last embrace.

“Not bad for two old bartenders,”” Licht said. “We’ve both come a long way.”

“Damn right we have, brother,” said Arians. “And we’re not done yet.”


12 Responses to “Playbook Cleansing, Quarterback Culture & More”

  1. Bird Says:

    Cool insight. My have to be a xmas gift

  2. BuccoDav Says:

    “Damn right we have, brother,” said Arians. “And we’re not done yet.”


  3. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Arians termed the discussion “a melding of the minds,” and Brady then called Byron Leftwich to flesh out the details.

    And I’m guessing the “details” of said conversation between Tom and Byron went something like…….”So yeah BL, I’m running the show now. Don’t worry man. You’ll still get paid, get to wear your phresh gear and it will look like you’re telling me what to do, but I call the offense and we all win”

    “Heck, I’ll even call a run up the middle on 1st down 75% of the time.

  4. Rob Says:

    Can’t wait to read this, Ira! Great teaser and we’ll be talking about this epic 2020 for years to come…

  5. #1bucsfan Says:

    Got chills just reading that last paragraph!! Let’s goo

  6. Medicated Pete Says:

    Licht & Arians forever connected thru the power of alcohol ❤❤❤❤❤

  7. ClodHopper Says:

    This is one the finest articles written on this website and that’s saying something!

    Wow, what a ride. Great job, Ira.

  8. Leonard Kirsch Says:

    Great work Ira. As usual.
    You can pre-order on Amazon for delivery on October 19th. I just ordered one.

  9. lambeau Says:

    First confirmation of what actually happened to jumpstart the offense midseason last year; BA previously said it just took Tom time to learn his offense–which obviously wasn’t the real story. Clearly Tom introduced motion, play action, more horizontal routes, etc.

  10. DoooshLaRue Says:

    But BL is the MASTERMIND!

  11. Hodad Says:

    You don’t lure Brady to Tampa saying we’ll do things your way, then don’t do things his way.

  12. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome story Ira.