In case you haven’t noticed, this column usually picks out the top-10 postgame quotes from the Bucs’ most recent win or loss. The point is to go through Sunday’s and Monday’s pressers and pick out the best topics of conversation between coaches, players, and the media.
Well, things are going to be a bit different this time around. There is a ton to talk about, therefore, this will be an unlimited edition of our postgame quotes column.
Bruce Arians on the fourth down call before halftime:
“We didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game. With the timeout and then the interception, I wanted to come out of there with points [instead of] punting it. I loved the play we had – got a great matchup and got the touchdown. I thought it was huge.”
Thoughts: I’m not going to lie. I thought it was a bad idea to call the timeout after the Jason Pierre-Paul sack on first down. I was a bit more carefree on the fourth down call, but it all worked out perfectly at the end of the day. I don’t think the Bucs win this game without Scotty Miller’s touchdown and that touchdown doesn’t happen without Arians’ decision to go for it. Just a tremendous sequence all-around.
Arians on hosting Super Bowl LV:
“So many teams don’t get a chance because they don’t get the Super Bowl in their stadium. It was obviously the goal of ours to start the season, but getting to the Super Bowl wasn’t what our goal is. Our goal is to win it.”
Thoughts: I’m not sure I follow the first two lines, but you have to love the last sentence. Sure, winning the NFC Championship is great, but winning a Super Bowl is even better. It’s nice to hear Arians say that this battle is far from over.
Arians on if he changed his mind and took the punt unit off the field during the fourth down call:
“I sent the punt team out [and then] I went through a couple scenarios in my mind. The clock was stopped and I said, ‘No, we’re going back out. We’ve got a good play. We’re going back out and trying to get some points.’”
Thoughts: Gotta love the transparency from Arians, here. I wonder what he said to himself to make him change his mind?
Arians on Scotty Miller’s touchdown reception before halftime:
“We just got a great matchup. I think they were playing for us trying to get into field goal range and Scotty just ran right by [Kevin] King. When we lined up, you could tell it was going to be a touchdown. Just had to protect and throw the ball.”
Thoughts: I don’t think anyone has any clue what King was thinking on this play. Not even King himself knew what he was doing. This is the NFC Championship Game, you can’t just lose focus on a play like he did. At the end of the day, King and the Packers paid a heavy price, too.
Scotty Miller on the level of aggressiveness involved with the touchdown before halftime:
“Yeah, the coaches told us, Byron [Leftwich] told us all week we’re going to be aggressive – we were going to go at them. We’re going to take chances with the guys we’ve got. That’s what we do. We’ve got so many playmakers. We’ve got Tom [Brady] at the helm. It was a risk at the time, but there was only 13 seconds left, so if we ran a play and didn’t get it, we probably waste six [seconds]. Then they probably have to throw a Hail Mary as well, so why not us do it? It was just a great execution by the coaches.”
Thoughts: Leftwich and Arians have received a decent amount of criticism at certain points in the season, but they have really figured things out over the last two months. You gotta think the aggressiveness comes from the confidence that has been built during this span.
Arians on the offensive line’s postseason performance:
“Since probably Week 9 or 10, they’ve been playing lights out. Again, Aaron Stinnie stepping in for ‘Cap’ (Alex Cappa), Joe Haeg playing tight end for us, Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) being a blocker, too. Those guys just did a great, great job of keeping Tom [Brady] clean.”
Thoughts: This could be the best offensive line in Tampa Bay history. They are consistently pushing guys around and keeping Brady clean. If the Bucs end up winning it all, these guys will be the unsung heroes.
Jordan Whitehead on the defense stepping up especially after he went out of the game:
“Mike Edwards coming into the game, he’s a splash player so we weren’t too concerned with that. We know Mike’s going to make plays. Then, Andrew Adams – the veteran in the room – he’s on everything. He’s up to speed, [knows] the playbook, [takes] the mental notes every week – he doesn’t get a lot of reps but he’s ready to be thrown in at any time. Then you’ve got D-White (Devin White) and Lavonte [David] getting everybody’s minds right and setting the tempo.”
Thoughts: Things looked pretty dire when Whitehead first went out, but Adams and Edwards really stepped up as the game went on. Todd Bowles and Nick Rapone deserve all the credit in the world for having those two ready to play at an effective level.
Jason Pierre-Paul on the defense closing out games in the fourth quarter:
“It means a lot. It tells you something special about this defense. We closed the game out, Tom [Brady] closed the game out and that was it. Don’t get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback – a phenomenal quarterback. It’s sad that he didn’t make it but I’d rather them than us, you know? The defense just showed up like we showed up last year, this year and the whole year.”
Thoughts: The Bucs defense has been on a tear when it comes to closing out games in the fourth quarter and Sunday’s game was no different. Closing out games is the true mark of a championship team and the Bucs are doing it on a routine basis.
Shaquil Barrett on hosting the Super Bowl:
“It’s crazy that we’re the first team to do it – making history. That’s not where history has to end. We could be the first team to win it, as well, and that’s the key. We’ve just got to get back ready to work. It’s crazy, like this has never been done before and we’re doing it. It’s amazing – it’s an amazing feeling. I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m happy that everyone who’s [in] this organization is a part of it. We’ve got some great guys here and everybody [else]. I just love it here, I love them and I’m happy that we’re doing it together.
Thoughts: Just like Arians, Barrett mentioned there is still work to be done. Sure, it’s cool to host a Super Bowl, but you know what’s even cooler? Winning it in your own backyard.
Tom Brady on making the Super Bowl in his first season with the Bucs:
“It’s been a great journey thus far. We put the work in and a lot of guys just embraced everything that [happened] when B.A. (Bruce Arians) got here last year. There were a lot of great things that were happening and a lot of great, young players. I just made thedecision [to come to Tampa Bay]. I love coming to work every day with this group of guys and worked really hard to get to this point. It’s a tough game – we’ve had a few tough games in a row and the next game will be really tough, too. We know what we’re playing for and we’ve got two weeks to prepare. It’s going to be a great opponent. It will be a really exciting couple of weeks for us.”
Thoughts: You literally couldn’t have scripted this any better outside the Bucs winning it all in two weeks. I can’t wait to see what Super Bowl LV and the 2021 season have in store for the Bucs and their fans.
Arians on the advantage of playing the Super Bowl in Raymond James Stadium:
“I think the big advantage is we stay in our own beds, sleep here and just do our normal routine. Nothing is out of the ordinary until we hit the media sessions next week. Just to be able to stay in your routine, sleep in your bed and all that stuff – I think it’s a huge advantage.”
Thoughts: This doesn’t give the Bucs the winning edge by any means, but you have to think it will be a huge advantage when it comes to preparation. Tampa Bay won’t lose any prep time to travel, which is a big, big deal.
Arians on whether or not he prefers to face a team he’s already faced once during the season:
“You go back and you look at the game and what matchups you had. This one, again, familiarity helps. I’m not really excited to play Tyreek Hill, [Travis] Kelce and [Patrick] Mahomes. That’s a formidable challenge, but our guys will be up for it.”
Thoughts: Ditto. Who the hell wants to play those three guys? But, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.
Arians on changing the losing culture around a team:
“It’s accountability. It’s accountability to the cause and honest to God caring for each other. If you don’t care about each other, you won’t be accountable to each other. This team is really, really close.”
Thoughts: If you listen to all of the postgame interviews, you can easily tell that this is group of guys who truly care for each other. That has obviously gotten them to this point and will definitely be a factor in whether or not the Bucs win Super Bowl LV.
Arians on the rematch with Kansas City:
“That game was one where I think we were down 17 [points] and then we came storming back. Just couldn’t get the ball back. It should be a really good game. They’re a hell of a football team and they’re super well coached by Andy [Reid] and his whole crew – ‘Spags’ (Steve Spagnuolo) and everybody. [They have] great players, so it should be fun.”
Thoughts: Yep. This should be a Super Bowl for the ages. We’ll see y’all on February 8!