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Tom Brady now has an eye-popping seven Super Bowl titles to his name. What's different about this latest championship, however, is that it comes with his new Buccaneers team after signing with Tampa Bay last offseason. When Brady decided to leave Foxborough after six titles and two decades of dominance with the New England Patriots, it was an opportunity for the NFL world to see how both the quarterback and his now-former head coach, Bill Belichick, would do without each other. Together, they created the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen and this divorce, for some, would better crystalize who was the bigger piece to that dynastic puzzle.  

Well, in his first season as a Buc, the 43-year-old Brady was able to throw for the second-most touchdowns (40) and the fifth-most yards (4,633) of his career while, more importantly, leading Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl LV title. 

Not too shabby for his first season away from the hoodie.  

"Tom is playing for his teammates right now," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told Sports Illustrated. "He wants those guys to experience what he's experienced six times. I think personally, too, he's making a statement. You know? It wasn't all coach [Bill] Belichick."

While Arians suggests that finding success post-Belichick was a key motivation for Brady, the quarterback has publicly taken the high road when asked about it. In an interview with Jim Gray on Westwood One Radio prior to Super Bowl LV, Brady shrugged off the idea that he was trying to show the NFL that he can win outside of Belichick and the Patriots dynasty. 

"I've never once in my life thought about that," said Brady. "I think that's definitely a conversation that people like to have because, in the end, it can create some entertainment. Coaches don't play and players don't coach. You need great coaches and you need great players. That's the way this sport works. It's not an individual sport, it's a team sport. 

"The only thing that does is, again, it tries to create division inside your team that the outside wants to tear apart what you've accomplished. I don't think that's an argument that I've ever wanted to be a part of, thought to be a part of. I've greatly appreciated what I've learned from the coaching mentors I've had -- certainly Coach Belichick. I couldn't be who I am without those amazing coaches that I've had and I couldn't be the player I am without all the other playing mentors I've had. 

"In the end, to me, it's all irrelevant. The greatest joy I have in sports is living up to my potential for my team and being the best I can be for my team. That's what motivates me. That's 100% of my motivation." 

That's a pretty diplomatic answer by Brady, which is to be expected. However, Arians may have given us a peek behind the curtain to Brady's motivation as this seventh title does create a compelling case for the quarterback being the main reason for New England's success over the last twenty years, especially after Belichick and company just missed the playoffs with a 7-9 record in 2020.