Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady made some waves earlier this week when he gushed about how much he loves playing for Bruce Arians. Arians became Brady’s head coach after he left New England, where, for 20 years, Bill Belichick guided him to nine Super Bowl trips and six title wins.
The Brady-Arians partnership makes for an interesting storyline among many that exist in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, as it resembles what has been a rather successful partnership during its first three years: Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes won the AP NFL MVP award in 2018. The duo has also been to three straight AFC title games and won last year’s Super Bowl. They are 38-8 in the regular season and 6-1 in the postseason.
As Mahomes continues to build on what has been the greatest career start in NFL history, Reid persists in challenging him by finding new guidelines for improvement. Mahomes, much to his head coach’s delight, welcomes that.
“I think he loves football,” described Reid of Mahomes on Thursday. “I think our coaching staff loves football. I think you start with that. I think he’s a good person and I like to have good people around here. I mean, that’s a positive. He’s a gym rat, and I think every gym coach loves gym rats. So, we like having guys that enjoy being here and coming to work, and there’s nobody that likes it more than he does. He’s always around, he always wants to get better. These are all things I appreciate from him.”
Mahomes recently shared that he tried to guess the playscript in the Chiefs’ Week 17 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Chad Henne started for the Chiefs, so in a way, Mahomes took on the role of an offensive assistant as he was inactive for the week.
Ahead of Super Bowl LIV last year, friend-of-the-site Terez Paylor of Yahoo! Sports covered what goes into Reid’s famous first 15 plays in detail. Each week, Reid takes stock of the plays the coaching staff and quarterback really like, and he uses that knowledge to create a plan designed to give the offense a fast and solid start.
As it happened, Mahomes told Dan Patrick he was “pretty close” in guessing the script for Week 17, further showcasing just how in sync he is with the head coach.
“I think it comes from communication,” said Mahomes on Thursday. “We communicate throughout the week; me, him, coach (Eric) Bieniemy, coach (Mike) Kafka and we have a really good feel for what we want to do and how we want to execute on game day. When you have that much communication with those guys and you’re on the same page, you understand why they’re calling plays not just the play that’s called, you understand what they’re kind of trying to build up towards and you try to execute the game plan the way they’re calling it so it’s a cool thing to have these coaches year in and year out that I’ve built this relationship with them that I understand exactly why we’re calling every single play that we’re calling.”
Pick any year before 2020, and Brady would have had the advantage in coach-quarterback collaboration when entering a Super Bowl. But this year changed a lot of things.
What Brady and Arians have done in only one year has been impressive, but Reid and Mahomes have the edge when it comes to game planning. Reid serves as the offensive mastermind — and his mind-meld with Mahomes offers a reasonable expectation for perfect execution.