As soon as Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers, the conversation quickly turned to questions about whether the 43-year-old quarterback could (or could not) lead Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl.
Those around the NFL knew how much talent the Buccaneers had. They knew how Tampa Bay’s 2019 starting quarterback Jameis Winston threw 30 interceptions and that Brady would not do the same.
But did Brady envision that level of success in his first year? Did he really think Tampa Bay would play in Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay?
“You know, I think it’s hard to envision,” Brady told reporters Sunday after the Buccaneers won the NFC Championship Game over the Green Bay Packers, per the team.
“This is a goal, but at the same time, it’s a week-to-week league,” Brady continued. “So, we were at 7-5 seven games ago, not feeling great, felt like we needed to find our rhythm and played four great games down the stretch the last quarter of the season.
“And then after that, it was just all bonus. We just had to go play well. We played well in Washington. We played well all the way around in New Orleans against a great football team and came up here knowing we needed to play great. The guys came through. Everyone stepped up to the challenge. And again, football is just the ultimate team sport. It takes everybody and everybody plays a role. And I’m just so proud of this whole team, and just blessed to be a part of it.”
Brady was asked if this trip to the Super Bowl is any more noteworthy following the criticism he faced about joining the Buccaneers. He showed his New England roots and deflected.
“This is the ultimate team sport,” Brady responded. “We’ve had a lot of people work really hard over a course of a period of time to get to this point. It’s a tough journey to get here. So, to go on the road and win another road playoff game is just a great achievement and now a home Super Bowl for the first time in NFL history puts a lot of cool things in perspective. Anytime you’re the first team doing something, it’s usually a pretty good thing. Now, we just have to have a great two weeks, prepare for whoever it is and be ready to go.”
Brady was far from at his best Sunday, throwing an uncharacteristic three interceptions in the second half. But in his first year in Tampa Bay, after two decades and six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, he’s on his way back to the title game.
And just because it may not have been tough to envision doesn’t make it any less incredible.