He did it again.
He won another Super Bowl. This time with a new team, in a strange year, unlike any other in history.
He won six with the New England Patriots, and now he’s done it with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With a pandemic clouding every aspect of life, with virtually no training camp, and new teammates, Brady not only adjusted, he schooled a team that hadn’t learned how to win, to not only win, but win it all.
What the Bucs were able to accomplish cemented his standing as the Greatest of All Time.
As if that was needed.
While Tom Brady is the face of the Super Bowl champion Bucs, he is by no means the sole reason they won.
Yes, all the touchdowns scored by Tampa Bay were by former Patriots, but the story of their title really goes to the basics of what football on any level is all about.
Two of his three TD passes were to his tight end buddy Rob Gronkowski, one was to wide receiver Antonio Brown, the other was a 27-yard run by Leonard Fournette, all ex-New Englanders.
However, the cliche we’ve all heard forever is that football is won in the trenches.
The offensive and defensive lines.
You can sum up Super Bowl 55 by asserting that the Buccaneers controlled the line of scrimmage.
Sure, the Chiefs were jittery and mistake-prone in the first half.
Without question, costly penalties, particularly on defense put them in a hole.
Obviously, K.C. lost its poise.
But Todd Bowles, Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator, whose name was not even uttered until midway through the final quarter.
What Bowles did, was take advantage of a patchwork and shaky Chiefs offensive line to nullify the remarkable abilities of quarterback Patrick Mahomes to put points on the board.
When you consider the Chiefs were held to only three field goals the entire game, it is clear what the deciding factor was in determining the outcome.
Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles
The loss of left tackle Eric Fisher affected an offensive line that produced two changes to the group that started the contest. In fact, Kansas City had lost four starters from the five up-front since the season began.
It’s a wonder the defending world champs performed as well as they did, but that’s a credit to Mahomes, and his trusty receivers Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
Mahomes, who was nursing a toe injury, seemed to be running for his life against tremendous pressure by the Bucs defense. They have become a force in the two years under Bowles.
The story was the same on the other side of the line.
The strategy that allowed Brady to do what he does best, have time to find open receivers that don’t have to be deep downfield.
Once the Buccaneers showed they could run effectively with Fournette, who is so difficult to tackle, play-caller Byron Leftwich was able to eliminate the Chiefs pass rush with play-action passes and screens.
Both of those are predicated on selling the run. which the Bucs did beautifully.
Every NFL team proclaims it will make the moves necessary to win a Super Bowl. Every new coach that is hired claims that his only goal is to capture the Lombardi Trophy.
The Tampa Bay franchise which has known hard times was no different.
But two years ago, when Bruce Arians came out of retirement to lead the Bucs, he made the same, familiar claim.
Arians has always been expert on the offensive side of the ball. Knew the quarterback position as well as anyone.
He lost a Super Bowl on a dramatic late touchdown to the Steelers when he guided the Arizona Cardinals.
Tampa Bay’s franchise QB, Jameis Winston wasn’t the answer. The Bucs were 7-9 in Arians’ first season.
Arians, the Bucs, and Brady were a perfect marriage.
Head Coach Bruce Arians
Todd Bowles would build the defense. And Byron Leftwich would call the plays.
You see, the best head coaches rely on others to do their jobs, while he leads, teaches, and inspires.
Gronkowski wanted to come out of retirement and reunite with Brady.
The Patriots accommodated him with a trade.
Brady infused his new teammates with advice on how to become a championship team.
It all came together. Quickly.
For those who like to gleefully contrast the new champs with the struggling Patriots and Bill Belichick, save your breath.
The Patriots no longer had the weapons to satisfy a 43-year old great quarterback. It made sense for them to see him go.
They are rebuilding and are seeking their next leader behind center. They will find him, and they will be back.
Maybe not to the tune of six Super Bowls, but they will be back.
For the Tampa Bay Bucs, they achieved the ultimate. Their moves paid off.
For Tom Brady, he will be return for another season, at the ripe age of 44. So will Gronk.
Gronk and Brady
He says he’s working on improving his speed. It is apparent he still loves to play the game.
The one lesson to be learned, is that it is crazy to predict before a game is played, that it will be one for the ages, or that it will be talked about forever.
Wait till it’s over.
The game itself was lackluster and relatively unexciting.
It fell short of its advance billing.
What WILL be talked about forever, is how Tom Brady, after leading a team to six Super Bowl championships, went to a new team, a team that had known nothing but losing, and took over the reins to bring that team a crown, in his first season, under the most trying of circumstances.
It is likely the greatest achievement by a player in the history of the National Football League.