Think about that for a moment.
Thirteen years since their last postseason appearance, eighteen years since their last playoff win. Losing records, coaching turnover, misses in free agency. It all led to this point. Guys like Lavonte David, Will Gholston, and Mike Evans that came in year in and year out trying to get over the hump. Players of days gone by like Gerald McCoy who never reached this pinnacle. It all led to this point.
For the final time of the 2020 season and in the best way possible, let’s Pick Six.
Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) I love it when a plan comes together. Jason Licht has faced endless ridicule from fans for missing on draft picks and free agents. Vernon Hargreaves, Roberto Aguayo, Josh McCown, Alterraun Verner, DeSean Jackson. Letting Darrelle Revis go after just one year. All of it. His vision, his hard work - it built this team. Spending multiple day two picks on the secondary in the last two years, drafting Vita Vea over Derwin James, signing troubled players like Ndamukong Suh, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette. All of it built this championship roster. Without Jason Licht, there is no hiring of Bruce Arians. Without Bruce Arians, there is no signing of Tom Brady. Without Tom Brady, there is no trade for Rob Gronkowski. Every decision, every roster move is what created this - whether it was popular or not. And there’s no question that the Buccaneers or their fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
2.) It was Gronk’s turn. So many players in the postgame press conferences echoed the same sentiments - there are no selfish players on this team. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are two of the best receivers in the NFL, but on Super Bowl Sunday they combined for three receptions and 40 yards. It was Gronk, Fournette, and AB that led the charge in the passing game. And even leading the team in receiving, Gronk finished with 67 yards. These guys all understood that team glory was bigger and better than individual success. Gronk told the media after the game that this offense would ride the hot hand and it just happened to be his turn tonight. That’s what made them successful. There was no fighting amongst the receivers and tight ends. There was no ill-will between Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones. They all understood that there was a bigger picture, a bigger goal - and together, they achieved it.
3.) MVP by default. Tom Brady was awarded his fifth Super Bowl MVP - but did he deserve it? You could easily argue he didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Brady had a great game. 21/29 for 201 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. That’s not exactly an eye-popping stat line. The true MVP was the defense. They got relentless pressure on Patrick Mahomes, holding him to a career low 52.3 quarterback rating and intercepting him twice. They sacked him three times. But which defensive player would have done enough, individually, to earn MVP honors? You can’t split the MVP among a dozen or so guys. Every player stepped up and did their job. As a collective effort, they had their best showing of the year. Truly, the MVP was Todd Bowles who drew up the perfect game plan and his players executed it to perfection.
4.) Don’t blame officiating. Lots of poor sports out on social media wanting to blame officiating for the Chiefs loss. It’s pretty simple - the Chiefs were outplayed, out-coached, and out-schemed. They were getting beat and it led to penalties. You can’t punch guys after the play, or hold defenders coming off the edge, or trip receivers then cry foul when the yellow laundry hits the turf. People are always going to look for a reason to discredit what Tom Brady does or find some reason to question the successes he’s found or that have now followed him to Tampa. Quite simply, he demands excellence. He demands the pursuit of perfection. After the loss to Chicago, we saw the team improving in the penalty department. The Chiefs fell behind, became undisciplined, and made mistakes. The Bucs did not. There’s no conspiracy to speak of and no “fix” was in. And let’s face it - if the fix was in, the NFL had a heck of a lot more to gain with Mahomes winning his second than Brady winning his seventh.
5.) More work still to be done. It’s nice to enjoy this win, to relish in it. That doesn’t change the fact that there is work to be done and it will start almost immediately. This team will not be the same in 2021. There are lots of free agents, a shrinking salary cap, and players will get big paydays elsewhere. You look at Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Leonard Fournette, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown to name a few and realize that the Bucs can’t keep all of them. For Jason Licht, the time to start building a roster that can repeat in Super Bowl LVI begins today.
6.) Title Town, USA. In a world where people are questioning their employment, their health, the safety of the ones they love, and how to begin to return to normalcy in a pandemic that has lasted nearly a year it was Tampa sports that gave people a much needed distraction - and a little happiness. Four Tampa teams made it to championship games or series and two of them came away with hardware while the Rowdies had their championship game canceled. The Bucs seemed like the most unlikely of all of them, even with the GOAT coming in at quarterback, to reach such a plateau. No OTAs, no training camp, no preseason, and a stretch that saw the Bucs go from 6-2 to 7-5. They had to learn as they went, trying to improve week to week. Eight straight wins and they’re Super Bowl champs, joining the Lightning as the last teams standing.
Six Numbers To Consider
1 - Touchdown passes in the first quarter by Tom Brady in all ten of his Super Bowl appearances
52.3 - Patrick Mahomes’ quarterback rating, the lowest of his career
4 - Postseason touchdowns by Leonard Fournette, second most in franchise history
448 - Total yards this postseason by Fournette, most in a single postseason in team history
14 - Brady-to-Gronk touchdowns in playoff history, the most of any duo
2 - Super Bowl championships by the Bucs, most in the NFC South
Six Best Tweets
The love I have for these men is incredible and I can’t think of a more deserving group!! Congratulations to the entire @Buccaneers organization!! Enjoy it now and go get y’all another one!! YEAAAAAAAAAA BOYS!! pic.twitter.com/gE9CvocsYj— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) February 8, 2021
Imagine being in the "It was mostly Belichick" camp.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 8, 2021
Belichick has a career losing record without Brady overall and just on the #Patriots and missed the playoffs 7 of 8 seasons without him.
Belichick in 8 years has 1 playoff win without Brady.
Brady has 4 in 1 year without him pic.twitter.com/FKISsRsgwK
Patrick Mahomes ran a total of 497 yards before his passes/sacks tonight per @NextGenStats.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) February 8, 2021
That's the most pre-throw/pre-sack yards run by any quarterback in any game this season.
Just a couple ex bartenders hanging out. pic.twitter.com/C9Z7BQYSZH— Jason Licht (@jasonrlicht) February 8, 2021
How it started: How it’s going: pic.twitter.com/ioG32rCttT— Bolts Jolts (@BoltsJolts) February 8, 2021
Check out the date on Bailey’s tweet in this next one. Impressive.
Pretty cool that the #Bucs will get to win Super Bowl 55 in their own stadium.— Bailey Adams (@BaileyJAdams22) May 23, 2017
Six Things To Do On Victory Monday
1.) Call in, write in, tune in! Call every sports talk show you listened to the last two weeks where every expert or analyst picked the Chiefs to win. Watch the talking heads on the sports networks eat crow after talking up the Chiefs’ offense the last two weeks without mentioning the Bucs defense.
2.) Celebrate. Now, we endorse doing so safely - but celebrate with your friends, your family, your co-workers. Give those elbow bumps, send a message to a Bucs loving friend you haven’t talked to in a while to congratulate them. Relish this moment because you know that it may be a while before you get the chance to do it again.
3.) Shop til you drop. Load up on that merch! Shirts, hats, bobbleheads, backpacks, Bernie mittens - whatever! Load up for yourself, get all that Christmas and birthday shopping done for loved ones ten months early. There’s something for everyone - and it’s not like you can justify “waiting for the next one.”
4.) Re-watch the game. Was it the most exciting Super Bowl? Not at all. But neither was Super Bowl XXXVII and we still love that one. Hopefully you DVR’d it since there’s no telling when the commemorative Blu-Ray will drop, but re-live the whole night. I mean, football season is over. What else are you supposed to do with your spare time?
5.) Check on a Chiefs fan. Be a good sport. Reach out to a Chiefs fan you know, congratulate them on a great season, and tell them you look forward to the rematch in Los Angeles next year. You know they’re down right now and that last night stung, but they have every reason to be proud of their squad.
6.) Take a nap. I know it’s not exciting, but it was a late night. A lot of you had to get up for work this morning. Grab a quick nap and catch up on a little bit of sleep.
Six Super Bowl Bets
1.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - To be the best, you gotta beat the best. Tampa did just that and now they have a crown to defend.
2.) Kansas City Chiefs - They’re motivated and out for revenge
3.) Green Bay Packers - Think they finally get Aaron Rodgers some help?
4.) Buffalo Bills - Josh Allen fixing to take another leap forward
5.) Los Angeles Rams - Matty Stafford makes them an instant contender
6.) New Orleans Saints - *Subject to change based on their decision of who replaces a retiring Drew Brees
Six Final Words
Your Buccaneers Are Super Bowl Champions