The Tampa Bay Buccaneers punched their ticket to the postseason with Saturday’s blowout win over the Detroit Lions, and Tom Brady is looking forward to playing with his new team in the playoffs.
Making his weekly appearance on Westwood One’s coverage of “Monday Night Football,” Brady opened up about how gratifying it is to be postseason-bound in his first season in Tampa following a two-decade dynastic run alongside Bill Belichick in New England.
“We’re all certainly excited about the opportunity to play beyond the regular season,” Brady told host Jim Gray, per Radio.com. “We still have one more week to go, but I would say from my standpoint one of the great feelings is to be a part of a team and to bring other guys that haven’t been in that position to get an opportunity to play in January. That was a goal for our team from the start of the season and we were able to accomplish that with a win last week.”
While the Bucs were able to capitalize on Brady’s arrival by qualifying for the playoffs in the superstar quarterback’s first season with the team, there were some glaring issues to navigate along the way.
The six-time Super Bowl champion endured an uneven 2020 season, and his struggles led to speculation that Bucs head coach Bruce Arians’ offense was a bad fit for his skill set.
Despite the skepticism about the Arians-Brady partnership, there have been signs down the stretch that all the hard work is starting to pay dividends. Not only did Arians come to Brady’s defense a few weeks back after throwing his quarterback under the bus at times this season, Brady enters the Bucs’ season finale having thrown for 4,234 yards to go along with 36 touchdowns to only 11 interceptions.
Brady of course recognizes there is much left to accomplish in the team’s season finale against the Atlanta Falcons. Still, he is eager to see how the Bucs can perform when everything is on the line in the playoffs.
“Our whole season is ahead of us,” Brady continued Monday. “There’s a lot of football left to be played and in order to continue to achieve, you have to play very, very well. And you’re playing against teams where there is very, very little margin of error because they are the best teams. Hopefully we can take everything we’ve learned over the course of the year and put it to use and I am excited about what we think we can achieve, but we have to earn it because nothing is given in the NFL.”
As things stand heading into Week 17, the Buccaneers (10-5) currently occupy the No. 5 spot in the NFC. A win Sunday over the Falcons would lock the Bucs into that top Wild Card spot regardless of how other games play out.
While which team the Buccaneers will play on Wild Card Weekend is yet to be determined, it was a challenging road for Brady and his new team just to get there. Doing so amid skepticism that he couldn't get it done without Belichick by his side presumably makes it that much better for Brady.