The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs held their virtual media conferences today. A common theme involved questions about other players and coaches, in what often sounded more like a “love fest,” rather than trash talking.
Bucs Head Coach, Bruce Arians commented on Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu, whom he coached in Arizona. Arians called Mathieu “My favorite draft choice of all time. I’m so proud of the man he has become. He’s a great football player, but he’s a better man.” Mathieu returned the praise, saying, “Me and Coach Bruce, we’ve got a great relationship.”
Bucs QB Tom Brady was asked about QB Peyton Manning, who is expected to be announced as a Hall of Famer this weekend. “Peyton was someone that I always just admired. I always looked up to Peyton because he was just a little older than me. It’s no real surprise that he’d be a first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s a tremendous player, he’s always wishing me well. I’m really happy for him.”
Brady also had words of praise for Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich. “He’s got a great understanding of the game, and a great work ethic. I love working with him. He has a real instinctive feel of the game. We talk football all day. He’s a ‘gym rat’ like I am. We’ve known each other for a long time.”
Brady also spoke about LB Jason Pierre-Paul. “He’s a relentless competitor. When you look over and see him out there, making plays, JPP is absolutely a great leader in that group. He brings a lot of juice. He’s an amazing guy and an amazing player.”
Regarding how he developed such a strong connection with WR Antonio Brown so quickly, Brady explained, “I don’t have any predisposed notions of how things will go. I just try to be a positive influence in their life. Antonio and I connected right away. He has incredible football IQ. He’s made incredible strides over the last twelve months. I want to help other people maximize their potential. Everybody is dealing with life, I just try to provide support. Just care for people more, and allow people to blossom to be the best they can be. Invest in seeing people grow. I want to see them succeed.”
Bucs WR Mike Evans spoke about playing for Head Coach Bruce Arians. He’s a phenomenal coach.” Regarding QB Tom Brady, “Tom is an interesting talent. The best quarterback ever. Playing with him is great. Knowing that he’s going to make some plays.” When asked to comment on what it will take to stop the Chiefs’ QB, Evans said that with Pat Mahomes, there are “not many weaknesses. We definitely got to limit his plays, keep him in the pocket. Limit him from those deep throws he likes to do.”
Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu was asked about Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. “He’s a great man, he has a great heart. He’s so detailed, so informative. He never lets us get complacent, always finding ways for us to get better. One of the best coaches I’ve ever been around. He’s a guy that really has great knowledge.”
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid expounded on Tyreek Hill’s development. “He has worked so hard this year. Just his dependability and reliability. You really see it day in and day out. That takes a certain amount of toughness. How hard he worked in the off-season.” QB Pat Mahomes added, “He’s a guy that comes with energy every single day.”
Pat Mahomes was asked about what social justice efforts he was most proud of. While his voter registration efforts were important, he was even more proud of “the open dialogue we had within the team, coming together and making us even closer, to help us become more unified. To come together and make progress.” Coach Reid also commented on this season’s emphasis on social justice efforts in the NFL. “The more people get along the better off we all are. Have a better life for everybody. If we can do that worldwide, that’d be even better.”
Stay tuned to Florida National News for coverage leading up to the big game on Sunday.