A 90-minute phone conversation last Wednesday was enough to sell Tom Brady on the Buccaneers.
General manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians went in thinking they needed an aggressive pitch to have a prayer of winning the Brady sweepstakes, according to the Tampa Bay Times, but the 42-year-old quarterback came prepared. By the end of the call, it began to sink in what had just gone down.
“When they hung up the phone, Licht and Arians looked at each other incredulously, as if to say, ‘Wow, this is really happening,’” Buccaneers reporter Rick Stroud wrote Saturday in a behind-the-scenes look at how Brady landed with the Buccaneers.
By Friday, Brady officially signed a two-year, $50 million guaranteed contract with the Buccaneers, a potentially franchise-altering move for the organization with the lowest winning percentage in all of North American sports.
Despite the Buccaneers’ lack of established success, Brady “spoke a lot about winning,” according to the report, and did not come with any requirements that needed to be met. He did not ask for a certain price point or control of the offense or specific players to be acquired with him or for No. 12 from receiver Chris Godwin, Stroud wrote.
Instead he wanted to know if Godwin and fellow receiver Mike Evans, a pair of Pro Bowl weapons for Brady, were good guys.
One other request Brady had after signing his contract? He wanted the phone numbers of all his new teammates, according to the report.
“He spoke a lot about winning, and it was obvious to Licht and Arians that Brady’s competitiveness burns white hot, and the three-time league MVP still thinks he has something to prove,” Stroud wrote. “Maybe to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Maybe just to himself.”
In the end, Brady picked Tampa Bay as the place to do his proving starting this fall.
“Just happy that during this time, what we’re all going through, there’s an escape, something for our fans to really, really be happy about,” Licht told the newspaper. “You could say I’m probably not going to be very popular this summer in New England where I go vacationing.”