By Andy Villamarzo
TAMPA- The addition of quarterback Tom Brady has paid off and then some.
If there was any doubt about the greatness of Tom Brady before he came to Tampa Bay he’s pretty much silenced mostly many of his naysayers. How you might ask?
Someone who has been often labeled a system quarterback because of playing under just one head coach his entire career (Bill Belichick), Brady is defying all odds at the ripe age of 43 years old. The former New England Patriot with a much more scaled-down off-season and playing within the scope of a new offensive system under Bruce Arians threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions. Not too shabby for someone who was supposed to fall off the cliff awhile ago.
Yes, Brady did inherit an embarrassment of riches when it came to the offensive skill positions and he knew that would be a point of emphasis when it came to selecting his next team after New England. But his career was written off after the 2019 season and many say rightfully so. He threw for 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Not too bad if we were talking about maybe an up and coming signal-caller. This is Tom Brady we’re talking about, however.
The Tom Brady addition to Tampa Bay has affected the franchise in more ways than just on the field. His and the team's success has led to a surge of interest in the team. Though crowds have been limited for home games, there’s no question that the hype around the Buccaneers can be seen all across Tampa Bay. From murals in St. Petersburg to sandcastles in Clearwater Beach to signs all over the area. Brady’s impact has been felt. From new NFC Conference Championship merchandise being sold all over the area, the feeling of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is close to becoming a reality.
Now on the cusp of being the first team to ever play in a home ‘Super Bowl’ game, many are wondering if this berth in Super Bowl LV will be enough if the Buccaneers end up losing to the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday evening. Well, we can all say this, if it wasn’t for the arrival of Brady, it is likely the Super Bowl wouldn’t have included the Tampa Bay Buccaneers whatsoever. One thing is for certain, everyone in the Tampa Bay area has certainly enjoyed the epic ride back to Raymond James Stadium.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.