Bucs Coach Reveals Key Reason Why Tom Brady Left in Free Agency

Tom Brady

Getty Tom Brady celebrates winning Super Bowl LV.

Tom Brady wasted no time in letting one Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant coach know why he left the New England Patriots in 2020 as a free agent.

Bucs quarterback coach Clyde Christensen shared the story on CBS Sports Radio’s “The Zach Gelb Show.” The new Bucs quarterback wanted to become the second quarterback to ever lead two different teams to a Super Bowl win, Christensen told Gelb.

“There was a part of him the first time I met him…He said one of the things that looked really fun and challenging to him is what Peyton [Manning] did in Denver,” Christensen told Gelb via Radio.com’s John Healy. “There was something about that challenge that hit [Brady] right. ‘Hey, I’m going to go see if I can do this again somewhere else.”

Rivalry Factor

Brady competed against Manning for years in the AFC during the 2000s and 2010s until Manning’s retirement in 2016. Going to a new team meant another chance to compete with Manning indirectly at least, USA Today’s Nate Davis noted.

“I do think that the challenge of that was a huge thing for him,” Christensen added per Healy. Twenty-one years is a long time. Sometimes there’s time for a change. He’s mentioned several times that he was impressed with it and that looked fun and challenging to him.”

Manning led the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 win in the 2015 season, making him the first quarterback ever to lead two different teams to the Lombardi Trophy. He did it with the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 season.

Christensen served on the Colts coach staff during Manning’s time, mostly coaching wide receivers. Christensen coached under former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy when the Colts won Super Bowl XLI with Manning.

In Manning’s final season playing for the Colts, 2010, Christensen worked more closely with him as the offensive coordinator. Manning left for Denver in 2012 after a neck injury ended his time in Indy.

Manning led the Broncos to a pair of Super Bowls in four seasons, losing the first one to the Seattle Seahawks. He also won an MVP with the Broncos in 2013, a year after being cut by his former team. Though retired, Manning still leads Brady in total regular season MVPs 5-3, per the New York Post’s Mollie Walker.

Paths Meet

Christensen left Indy in 2016 and joined Bucs staff in 2019 after a brief stint in Miami from 2016 to 2018.

He worked with former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston in 2019 as the team sputtered to 7-9 amid Winston’s franchise record-breaking 5,109 passing yards and his 33-interception season. In came a 43-year-old Brady after winning six Super Bowls in New England, and he turned the culture around by leading the Bucs to an 11-5 record and a Super Bowl LV victory.

Brady has Super Bowl ring number eight in mind now, which he tweeted less than a  week after the Big Game. Additionally, the Bucs brass confirmed wanting to extend Brady’s contract, and Brady has been open about wanting to play until age 45 or longer. Brady’s knee surgery shouldn’t slow him down either.

Christensen didn’t have a guess for Gelb how many more years Brady can keep playing at a high level.

“I don’t see an end in sight and he certainly doesn’t act like there’s an end in sight,” Christensen said per Healy. “He’s so confident in his routine and what he’s doing physically, he’s going to be around a while.”

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