Amid the hype for Tom Brady’s return to New England this fall, one Tampa Bay Buccaneers star has heard enough.
Bucs linebacker Devin White fired off a strong, sarcastic tweet about Brady vs. Belichick before quickly deleting it on May 19, but The Spun captured it beforehand. “I wonder how many times Belichick is going to sack Tom Brady,” White wrote. “Tired of hearing about them two vs. one another.”
To his point, Brady will be leading the Bucs’ offense against the Patriots’ defense, coached by Belichick. White and company will meanwhile look to shut down the Patriots offense, whether led by old NFC South rival Cam Newton or rookie Mac Jones.
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Stealing the Show
White will have to wait a little more than four months to make the Bucs-Patriots story be more about other players on the field besides Brady competing against his former coach’s team. The former LSU star has done that before though, particularly with his monster game against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome for the NFC Divisional Round.
Brady competing against Saints quarterback Drew Brees grabbed headlines before the game. The History Channel-theme social media frenzy on Brady and Brees being the oldest two quarterbacks ever to meet in a playoff only added to the quarterback fixation.
White swung momentum away from the quarterback craze with a fumble recovery for 18 yards and interception return for 28 yards that put the Bucs in the driver seat. Both of his turnovers set up the Bucs for touchdowns in a 30-20 victory. He also finished with 10 tackles.
What Sets Brady and Belichick Apart
Belichick and Brady having worked together for 20 seasons could get a History Channel meme craze going again, but it’s their experience that sets this matchup apart from others especially when the Bucs will have the ball against the Patriots. The knowledge those two have of each other is unprecedented in NFL history — 326 games together and countless practices.
No other coach and quarterback combo lasted that long or led their team to more championships per CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo. Brady and Belichick led the Patriots to nine Super Bowls and won six. Brady’s 326 under Belichick was second all-time for NFL career games for a quarterback until Brady broke Brett Favre‘s record in 2020 per CBS Sports’ John Breech.
Belichick oversaw Brady making 9,988 throws, completing 63.8 percent of them, for 74,571 yards and 541 yards but getting intercepted 179 times in regular season games. Belichick also saw what worked for Brady in 219 wins with him and didn’t work in 64 losses. That all doesn’t include 45 postseason games together.
Brady likewise has 326 games and countless of practices worth of information about the Patriots’ defensive tendencies under Belichick. That includes practicing against many of the players the Bucs will face in Week 4.
A year apart means Brady and Belichick will have a season plus three 2021 games of film to study ahead of the Week 4 matchup. That’s 4.7 percent of Brady’s career dwarfs the 20 years he spent with Belichick.
Albeit, the 2020 and 2021 film is the most relevant for Brady and Belichick.