Unbelievable. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to their second Super Bowl in franchise history and they’re doing it on the back of the greatest quarterback to ever put on cleats as well as a defense playing their best football at the perfect time.
It’s hard to wrap your head around all of this. It was nearly thirteen months ago that we saw the Bucs finish with a whimper and a 7-9 finish. Then, they signed Tom Brady. Fans were hopeful that Brady could get the team in the postseason but I don’t think many (realistically) expected a Super Bowl appearance in his first year with the team - especially with virtually no offseason to prepare.
Let’s dive into the next-to-last Pick Six of the 2020 season.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Not the best of performances, but it got the job done. Tom Brady had a very uncharacteristic three interception day at Lambeau with all three picks coming on targets for Mike Evans. One was a bad pass, one was a deflection off Evans’ hands, and the third was a prayer as a blitzer came untouched off the edge. It kept the Packers in the game as the Bucs had seen their lead dwindle from 28-10 to 31-23. At one point, it was 28-23 and the Bucs faithful were having panic attacks across the country. In the end, Brady was able to orchestrate a drive that ended in a field goal then a drive to ice the game. They need Brady to be his best self in just two weeks from now.
2.) The storylines. We’re going to hear it all. Brady’s tenth Super Bowl appearance but first without Bill Belichick. The Bucs are the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Brady could be the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl for an AFC and a NFC team in his career. There is going to be two weeks of non-stop talk. Enjoy it. It’s been eighteen years since the Bucs were in this position and it may be eighteen - or more - before they’re in it again. Don’t worry about hearing the same things over and over. Relish in the fact that for two weeks, all those experts and pundits that picked the Saints then picked the Packers have to talk about your team playing on the biggest stage in all of sports.
3.) Get healthy. The Bucs have two weeks now to see some players get healthy. Even though Playoff Lenny has been tearing it up, a healthy Ronald Jones only helps the offense. Antonio Brown and Antoine Winfield Jr. had knee and ankle issues that kept them out of the NFC Championship game and we saw Jordan Whitehead leave with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. Plenty of time for these guys to get healthy and be ready to play in the Super Bowl.
4.) Defense, do your dance. This defense has been absolutely outstanding. They’ve scored 41 points off turnovers this postseason and when the offense was turning the ball over they went out and sent the Packers’ offense right back off the field. Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul were wrecking balls all day long, Vita Vea was crashing the middle of the pocket, Devin White was flying to the ball, and Sean Murphy-Bunting has taken his level of play up about six notches. Defense wins championships and they’ll need every ounce of playmaking ability to win a Lombardi.
5.) Revenge Tour? The Bucs had to go through the New Orleans Saints in order to play for the NFC Championship. It was reminiscent of the 2002 Buccaneers having to go through Philly to get to Super Bowl XXXVII. Both games were on the road, both needed huge defensive performances, and both exorcized demons that hung over the Bucs’ heads like a black cloud. Now, the win over New Orleans didn’t send them to the Super Bowl but it did catapult them into a chance to do so. As I said back then, they may look back on that game as the catalyst for a championship run. Now, they’ll have to continue their revenge tour to take out Kansas City.
6.) Tough task still ahead. The Buccaneers were shell shocked by the Chiefs in the regular season, getting torched by Tyreek Hill for over 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter. Yet, they almost came back to win that game. Now, they have a chance at redemption and with the way they played in the second half of that game, you have to believe it will be a much closer game. In fact, the Bucs can absolutely beat the Chiefs. They won’t go in with the same defensive game plan and Hill won’t have the outburst he did against this defense the first time around. It’s a match-up the entire world will be excited to see, no doubt about that.
Six Numbers To Consider
14 - Tackles by Devin White on Sunday, a Buccaneers playoff record for tackles in a game
110 - Receiving yards by Chris Godwin are the second most in team playoff history (Evans, 119 vs Washington)
3.0 - Sacks by Shaq Barrett, tying him with Warren Sapp for most sacks in a Bucs postseason game
3 - Touchdown passes by Tom Brady, most in a single game in Bucs postseason history
6 - Players in team history to have multi-sack playoff games; Lee Roy Selmon, Steve White, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Shaq Barrett, and Jason Pierre-Paul. Both Barrett and JPP’s came against Green Bay
1 - Team to ever play a Super Bowl in their home stadium - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Six Best Tweets
Tom Brady now has as many NFC Championship wins as Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.— Fake Teams (@faketeams) January 24, 2021
WHAT. A. RUN.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 24, 2021
: https://t.co/RwWO3c7TxT pic.twitter.com/op2gXiDVQN
Buccaneers QB Tom Brady ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 24, 2021
10 Super Bowl starts, twice as many as any QB.
33 playoff wins, more than twice as many as any QB.
First QB to win both conferences.
Second QB to get to the Super Bowl with 2 teams.
Greatest ever. Not sure anyone's ever catching him.
https://t.co/FuHn7UoxoI pic.twitter.com/fm2f47aKHM— Locked On Bucs (@LockedOnBucs) January 25, 2021
Brady... pic.twitter.com/LGW4jRWdIx— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 24, 2021
NFC Champs! #NFLPlayoffs#GoBucs @Buccaneers pic.twitter.com/SpF6WXbBqP— NFL (@NFL) January 24, 2021
Six Ways To Get Through The Bye Week
1.) Re-watch the Bucs’ playoff run. In fact, watch that Saints game three or four times
2.) Begin researching Super Bowl foods to have for the big game
3.) Watch the Lightning - if their games stop getting postponed because other teams keep getting COVID...
4.) Break out that Super Bowl XXXVII DVD you have laying somewhere, dust it off, and watch what happened the last time the Bucs were in this position
5.) Check out the Senior Bowl studs playing in Mobile this week. Some big names showing up ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft
6.) Continue to laugh at the fact that the Saints are losing Drew Brees and will still be about $70 million over the salary cap
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Yeah, I said it. The way they’re playing they will be hard to beat
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Mahomes is next level - but the Grave Diggers will be waiting for revenge
3.) Over - Always take the over on the National Anthem
4.) +2.5 - Bucs getting two-and-a-half against the Chiefs. Hammer it.
5.) Tiger? - Yes, Tiger Woods. There is a prop bet of total Super Bowl touchdowns vs. Tiger birdies in the first round of the Masters. Take the touchdowns.
6.) Team Ruff - Puppy Bowl! Team Ruff is taking on Team Fluff. No team named Fluff is going to win this battle. All in on Team Ruff.
Six Final Words
Just Four Quarters Left Until Immortality