In a league which prides itself on parity, Tom Brady has dominated the National Football League competition for over the last two decades. Ever since he became the starting Quarterback for the New England Patriots in 2001 and minus the 2008 year he was injured, Tom has been to more Super Bowls than not. 10 out of 19 seasons have resulted in Tom playing for a Super Bowl. The previous nine times he went with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. This time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This franchise is not just one of the worst franchises in the NFL but all of sports. A team with an all-time win percentage of 39.3% sits just below the Minnesota Timberwolves, who currently are at 39.6% win percent, for worst all-time win percentage in the major four professional sports. Before this year, the Buccaneers had one winning season since 2010, coming in 2016 when they went 9-7. The Buccaneers went 5-11 in 2018 and 2017. They have drafted #1 overall five times for the 3rd most in NFL history, behind the Rams and Colts who were each founded at least 20 years before the Bucs in 1976. This will be the franchise’s second Super Bowl appearance.
Yeah, this current Buccaneers team is loaded with talent. However, they went 7-9 last year with a #1 overall draft pick under center. They had a very similar core as to this year’s team with Jameis Winston at QB and were below .500. Tom Brady brought some friends with him in Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown, with Leonard Fournette joining mid-season after being cut by the Jaguars. Devin White and Tristan Wirfs were two home run draft picks in the 2019 and 2020 NFL Drafts by Bruce Arians and the Bucs. That doesn’t change the fact that this franchise is the worst in all of football. It is the only franchise with a sub-.400 winning percentage.
Yet here we are in 2021 and the Buccaneers are in Super Bowl LV thanks to Tom Brady.
The NFC Championship Game
Was Tom Brady perfect in this game vs the Packers? No, but he was pretty damn good on Sunday. I’m going to defend Brady (shocker) on those back to back to back drives which ended in an interception. I’m here to tell you two of those three weren’t terrible INTs. The first interception was bad; it came with 7:55 left in the 3rd quarter with the Bucs up 28-17. It was 2nd and 10 and Brady tried to hit Mike Evans deep down the right sideline. A poor throw resulted in the ball staying in the middle of the field for the safety to make an easy interception. The Packers turned around and scored six off the turnover. Bad.
The next interception came with 12:26 in the 4th quarter with the Bucs on the Packers 28 yard line, aka field goal position. This ball from Brady was a tad overthrown to Mike Evans – who dropped a perfect pass two plays before – and resulted in the ball tipping off Mike’s hands into a defender’s arms for a turnover. This INT is not all on Tom Brady. It wasn’t a poor pass but it also wasn’t a great pass; however, it was a catchable pass. The old saying is the ball should be caught if it hits you in the hands. All players need to make exceptional plays for teams to move on to the Super Bowl and Mike Evans didn’t make the play. The Packers went three and out after this INT.
The last interception was not close to a bad interception and was a glorified punt. The play came with 9:15 left in the 4th quarter on 3rd and 2 at the Buccaneers 47 yard line with an unblocked blitzer coming right for Brady. He desperately threw the ball up to Mike Evans to no avail and the Packers picked the ball off at the Packers 23 yard line. Twitter was going nuts criticizing the pick. But in reality the worse situation would have been to get sacked by the free blitzer and lose yards or potentially fumble on the wrong side of the field. Brady, having played this game for 20 years, made a quick decision to basically punt the ball on 3rd down. Again, better than a sack or worse, a fumble giving the Packers short field position.
Ultimately, the Buccaneers beat the Packers for Tom Brady’s 1st NFC Championship, tying him with both Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers for NFC titles.
Tom Brady Facts and Figures
-Tom Brady is already the all-time franchise leader in playoff touchdown passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-Brady (10) has double the amount of Super Bowl appearances than the next quarterback behind him, John Elway (5).
-Super Bowl LV will be Tom Brady’s 45th playoff game. More than 21 NFL franchises.
-Tom Brady has beaten over half, 19 in fact, of NFL teams… just in the playoffs.
Would the Buccaneers be in the Super Bowl without Tom Brady? I don’t think so. I think he was the key factor both on the field and off the field, to lead this young group to the final game of the season. And conversely, would the Patriots be in the Super Bowl WITH Tom Brady? Again, I don’t think so. The Patriots roster needs an overhaul and with TB12 not there anymore, it should start at Quarterback.