When the Patriots came back to win Super Bowl LI over the Falcons, head coach Bill Belichick said one of the best parts of that 2016 team was that it took no days off.
He even started chanting it.
Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t seem to live by that mantra.
“You’ve got to be super involved as a coach, but with [Brady] it’s not about Xs and Os,” Arians said. “It’s making sure he’s comfortable and feels good about the game plan and work week. He’d text me and say, ‘Do you mind if I don’t throw Wednesday?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I don’t care.’ … I’d ask him, ‘Do you want to take mental reps or do you just want to sit back?’ He’d say, ‘I just need to sit back.’ And we did that two or three times during the season.”
Arians noted Brady went from saying, “This will be the last day I ever take off,” to asking, “Do you mind if I take off Wednesday?”
Arians took the same kind of approach to Gronkowski.
“Even with Gronk I’d say, ‘Dude, you’re not practicing on Wednesdays. I need you on Sunday. I don’t need you on Thursday,'” Arians said. “And he was like, ‘Oh, man, I’ll be fresh. I’ll be like, super.’ I told him that if he ever needed a day off, he should just let me know. Because he never had days off before.”
After retiring following the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LIII, Gronkowski’s body was likely well rested and healthy for the season. Gronkowski had not played all 16 regular-season games since 2011, and was able to start each of the Bucs’ 20 games en route to a Super Bowl victory.
There’s more than one way to win a championship in the NFL. Both Belichick and Arians have found formulas that worked for their individual teams.