One moment Tom Brady highlighted Mike Zimmer’s cultural failures

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Yes, you clicked on a ridiculous title. And no, Tom Brady hasn’t spoken publicly about the Minnesota Vikings’ decision to fire Mike Zimmer. But the actions of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback spoke louder than words last Sunday as he showed exactly what was missing in Mike Zimmer’s run to Minnesota.

Before explaining further, let’s set the table correctly. After Zimmer was sacked, Eric Kendricks and Brian O’Neill came out and criticized team culture. They are not loud and dramatic guys. They are seasoned team leaders who are more than respected by their peers. Bringing them out is a damning accusation of how things turned out under Zimmer. The man was clearly disconnected from his players.

Back to Tom. Rob Gronkowski appeared in the Tampa Week 18 game against the Carolina Panthers, requiring seven catches and 85 yards to earn a separate $ 500,000 inducements in his contract. Gronk pocketed half a mil after catching a 42-yard pass in the third quarter, but he was still one catch off the mark with less than seven minutes to go.

The Bucs were leading 14 at the time, and head coach Bruce Arians called on substitute Blaine Gabbert to step into the game. Why risk Brady injury when the team has nothing at stake? Well, Touchdown Tommy had another idea. CBS cameras caught Brady telling Arians he wasn’t going to be taken out of the game as he placed his pewter helmet over his dyed hair.

“Let’s see who has more power, Brady or Arians,” one of the CBS broadcasters said.

Spoiler alert: it was Brady.

Brady gave the ball to Gronk, Gabbert replaced him and the rest is history.

Contract incentives are important to gamers whether you like it or not. The recordings too.

Justin Jefferson has made it clear he wants to break Randy Moss’ yard record before Minnesota’s Week 18 game against the Chicago Bears. Jefferson entered the game at 124 yards of Moss’s 1632 in 2003.

He finished 17 yards away and saw his team choose to run the ball and take a knee instead of trying to get him the ball back so he could break it.

“We’ve been talking about it all week,” admitted Kirk Cousins ​​after the game, who threw a screen pass at Jefferson late in the game in an attempt to break the record. “I mentioned (the record) to his locker earlier this week that I was aware of it.”

“Just being that close and not understanding is definitely difficult,” Jefferson admitted, “but it is.”

Zimmer? Now, you know what he said now.

“I don’t care about records,” he explained. “I care about wins.”

The truth is, there are a number of things you can worry about. A coach can be completely determined to win and also listen to what is important and meaningful to their players. A coach who watches over his players will have players who watch over him.

Jefferson should be celebrated for trying to break Moss’ records. The offense must be built around it. He should be contractually incentivized to be in the field and blaze secondaries. A great coach should have wanted this record for Jefferson almost as bad as Jefferson wanted for himself. A great coach should have understood that this moment could galvanize his teammates.

It’s something Brady gets because he’s an all-time great. And more importantly, it’s something Bruce Arians gets. It would have been easy to take the old grizzled approach and hit back or make it a negative deal after the game. He did not do it. He understands.

The teams are mobilized around a good culture. Maybe not 50 years ago. Hell, maybe not even 20 years ago. But today they do. It might seem like a small thing, but Brady’s insistence on helping a teammate and the Arians’ recognition of the importance of the matter shows you exactly who the Buccaneers are and how they run their team. This completely highlights what Mike Zimmer struggled to understand when he cost himself a job. In the modern NFL, you can care about wins and create a great culture of support that truly understands your players.

As the Vikings search for Zimmer’s replacement, they should keep these two drastically different moments in mind. I’m not insisting that the Wilfs hire someone who will do whatever they can to make sure they pay all the bonuses on the roster, but whoever they bring should know the difference between those two moments. of culture creation. Everyone they recruit should be able to recognize what motivates and galvanize their players and be prepared to push in that direction while doing whatever they can to win.

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