I can’t believe I’m actually about to type this sentence: Tom Brady will be the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.
I mean, I can believe it - but I can’t. It’s an odd feeling. It’s like when you know you’re walking into your boss’s office to receive the promotion you were recently vying for. Like, you knew you were getting the job the whole time, but to officially hear that you’re in fact getting the job just makes it that much better. You’re opening the door to a whole new world, but at the same time, your environment around you won’t change to a certain degree.
Hopefully that all made sense. Sorry if it doesn’t.
But there is one thing that definitely makes sense - and that is Brady and the Buccaneers. The dollars, the players (now teammates), the location, the coach, the chance to further his legacy - his own legacy and not the Patriots’ - were all ripe for the taking in Tampa Bay.
And he took it.
Bruce Arians made his desire for Brady no secret. He mentioned “picking up the phone” for Brady at the combine and soon after, there was talk about the Bucs being “all in” for Brady. The rest is history.
This is easily the biggest addition in the history of the Buccaneers, regardless of where Brady is in his career, and regardless of context. It’s bigger than Hardy Nickerson and Jon Gruden.
It may even be bigger than both of them combined.
This is as big as you can get in terms of excitement, competition, and a known quantity. Tampa Bay is automatically relevant again. Andrew Gretchko of ticket marketplace Vivid Seats tells us that traffic to the Bucs’ page had a 4,280% increase after the announcement of Brady to Tampa Bay. Expect ticket sales to go through the roof, as well. Nationally-televised games will be scheduled. Pewter and red jerseys will pop up in places we’ve never seen before. The majority of NFL eyes will be on the Bucs for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII.
It’s not just the sports world that will be watching, either. Brady is a celebrity that is known worldwide thanks to his supermodel wife Giselle Bundchen and his legacy as the NFL’s greatest quarterback. If the Bucs can win with this guy at quarterback, then there’s a possibility that this franchise could be put on a path that has never been seen before.
And the Bucs pulled this off as underdogs the entire time. Even though the situation made total sense for Brady, media pundits and dedicated followers of the NFL continuously dismissed the idea that he would come to Tampa Bay. Many of those who said he’d remain in New England soon bounced to the Chargers - even though the Bucs were still a better spot - once Brady officially announced he was leaving the Patriots.
This wasn’t supposed to happen, according to the outside world. But it did.
For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2007 and has only had three winning seasons since, that’s all you could ask for. Outside of winning.
But guess what? Brady can help there, too. The dude has six Super Bowl rings.
Tampa Bay will now likely be favorites to not only win the division, but maybe even to win the NFC. With elite weapons at nearly every offensive position, a rising defense, and a head coach willing to take shots down the field - this is a team that will make a lot of noise in 2020 if everything goes accordingly. To go from a 7-9 team to possible Super Bowl contenders is a leap that only a quarterback of Brady’s stature can help provide.
There are other dominoes to fall in the coming days and weeks. Word is already out that a high number of free agents are wanting to now play in Tampa Bay. Some of the Bucs’ own free agents, like Breshad Perriman - who’s current market value of $8.7 million is simply too high a salary for the Bucs - may take less money in order to stay with the team and have a realistic shot at the Super Bowl.
The signing itself is like throwing a boulder into a 4-foot-wide x 20-foot-deep pond from 200 feet in the air.
That’s gonna be a big splash.
Now, there are some concerns with his age, what looked like to be declining arm strength (in 2019), and Tampa Bay’s right tackle situation, but those are all issues that can be remedied in the long run. It seems to me that overcoming the age of 43 is probably easier than overcoming 30 interceptions in a season (not trying to take a shot).
The dawn of a new season in the NFL has arrived. So has the dawn of a new era in Tampa Bay.
It’s a red sky at night for the Bucs and the world is anxious to see what happens next.