Tom Brady's in a conference championship game once again. In a vacuum, that statement isn't anything new. After all, he's now reached the doorstep of the Super Bowl 14 times in his career, which is by far the most all-time. What is different, however, is the team he'll be taking with him as he makes a bid to reach the big game. Instead of it being the New England Patriots, the club he won six Super Bowls with over his two-decades-long career, Brady is taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the conference title game in his first season with the club.
Along with the jersey being different, Brady's first season in Tampa has seemingly been a night-and-day experience in another regard: coaching. It's not hard to spot the differences between Bill Belichick, who follows more of a militaristic approach, and Bruce Arians, who adopts a more laid back style. While the two coaching techniques have produced similar results with Brady at the helm, Arians did highlight how he's unlocked one aspect of Brady's game that was largely capped in Foxborough.
"Consummate leader," Arians told NBC Sports' Peter King of Brady. "Has been all year. Got the air of confidence that permeates through our team every day. I allow him to be himself. Like, New England didn't allow him to coach. I allow him to coach. I just sit back sometimes and watch."
Buccaneers linebacker Devin White also gave a strong nod to Brady's ability to coach up the rest of his team.
"Thing I love about Tom is he's always teaching," White said. "Teaching me how to be a great leader. Every single day, every single practice, he puts the team before himself. First few days he's in the locker room, we're all like, 'We're in the locker room with the greatest quarterback of all time! Like, I wanna talk to him, I wanna get a picture with him.' But then, he's your teammate. You're here for a reason.
"Few weeks ago, I was kinda upset I didn't make the Pro Bowl. He's like, 'D, there's a bigger bowl I'm chasing. We're all chasing it. C'mon.' I just thought, man, it's a blessing to hear that. I need to hear that. This thing's about us. He's still chasing those bowls in his forties. I am just so grateful to be able to spend this time with him."
This ability to have a bigger voice within the Bucs organization may have been one of the more attractive aspects for Brady leaving the Patriots last offseason. It's likely much easier for him to use his aura of being the greatest of all-time on a brand new team that features a more receptive coach in Arians than the situation he had in New England. After all, trying to coach in the manner that Arians highlighted may be a difficult lane to merge into with Belichick, especially after having decades of time rolling through a certain routine.
No matter which way you prefer it, however, you can't argue with the results as Brady had his Patriots routinely in contention and now firmly has the Bucs in the Super Bowl conversation. He'll now try to reach the Super Bowl for the 10th time in his career when his Buccaneers roll into Lambeau Field to take on the Packers on Sunday.