Tom Brady joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past season after two decades with the New England Patriots, and all he did was win his seventh championship in Super Bowl LV with a 31-9 romp over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The GOAT quarterback was great in the Big Game, but possibly even better during the Bucs’ championship parade, where he logged perhaps his most clutch completion of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run.
Tom Brady: Lombardi Trophy would’ve plunged ’80 feet’ if toss fell incomplete
In his first post-Super Bowl interview on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Brady addressed his infamous decision to throw the Lombardi Trophy from one boat to another, as Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate bailed him out from a potential disaster, per ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine:
I was not thinking at that moment. […] It was, ‘This seems really fun to do!’ Not to mention, when you get your hands on one of those trophies, there’s a lot of really sharp edges on the bottom…I found out later, had that been an incomplete pass, that would have went down like 80 feet. I’m so happy that [Brate caught it].Tom Brady on throwing Super Bowl LV trophy to another championship parade boat
Brady also took to Twitter to applaud his 8-year-old daughter for trying to talk him out of his hilarious trophy toss, which was obviously fueled by a little bit of liquid courage:
That saying about “all’s well that ends well” definitely applies in this instance. Laine reported that if Brady’s trophy throw had plunged into the deep water, that the Bucs would’ve simply requested a replacement.
At this point, though, Brady can really do no wrong. Ahead of his age-44 season, he seems reinvigorated by the change of scenery in Tampa Bay, and also disclosed in his interview with Corden he’s recovering from minor knee surgery.
As long as Brady is healthy entering the 2021 season, the Bucs should be viewed as the favorites to win the NFC South and be among the league’s top championship contenders — provided they can bring back most of their key pieces from this past year’s loaded roster.
How Tom Brady and Bucs can repeat as Super Bowl champions
Head coach Bruce Arians has expressed confidence Tampa Bay can figure out a way to keep its marquee free agents, but that’s easier said than done. The NFL salary cap is lower than usual, and there’s no shortage of star power hitting the open market from the Buccaneers’ championship roster.
Chris Godwin has formed one of the best receiver duos in the game alongside Mike Evans over the past several years, so he figures to command a large price tag. Godwin is a prime franchise tag candidate, which will still be a rather prohibitive cost for Tampa Bay to incur.
Another wideout in Antonio Brown is also a free agent, along with tailback Leonard “Playoff Lenny” Fournette, tight end Rob Gronkowski, star pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett, phenomenal linebacker Lavonte David and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh.
It’s conceivable Brown’s turbulent history of personal conduct will limit his market and curb his cost, and there are alternatives to Fournette in the Bucs backfield between Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Gronk will most likely do whatever it takes to stick with his former Patriots teammate Brady, who brought him out of retirement in the first place and scored two touchdowns in Super Bowl LV.
That leaves Barrett to likely score a big payday, meaning David and Suh are liable to be odd men out unless they take backloaded, shorter-term contracts. It’ll probably take deals of that variety to make everything work, but as he proved in his maiden Tampa season, Brady is a powerful influence who’s routinely taken pay cuts in the past.
Brady should be able to make do with whomever surrounds him on offense as long as his stellar offensive line remains intact and unique weapons like Evans and Gronkowski are on the roster. TB12 made do with unheralded skill players for years in New England, and as he gets more comfortable in the Bucs’ offense, he’ll be able to execute at an even higher level than in 2020.