Tom Brady’s inaugural season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer got off to a great start. He reached the pinnacle of the sport. Winning his seventh championship and fifth Super Bowl MVP award. In his first interview since winning the Super Bowl, an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Brady had this to say about the expectations in New England compared to Tampa Bay:
“It was very different because where I was for 20 years was, obviously, it was great for me, it was spectacular, I wouldn’t change anything, and I think that when we’re at that point at the Patriots, everyone at the start of the season would be like ‘well, who are you guys playing in the championship game? And it always got to be like, you know, the expectations were so, not unrealistic, it was just like people jumped ahead of all the intense competition which in the end for us you kind of feel like, you know, it’s a lot harder than that. It’s a lot harder than that. And I think going into this year was different for me, because you go to a different place and that wasn’t really the question I was being asked. The question is, you know, ‘can you guys be successful? How are you going to be successful? How are you going to learn your teammates? How are they going to learn you?”
Expecting Conference championships and Super Bowl became a yearly routine after 20 years with the Patriots. It’s not hard to see how the lofty expectations can weigh on someone. It’s easy to see how a change of scenery could be nice. If not necessary.
Learning a new playbook and developing chemistry with teammates in a new city is difficult. Doing it during a pandemic presented plenty of challenges early on. The team had to learn on the fly for much of the season due to practically no offseason.
Brady touched on how the campaign evolved for him and the team starting with their Week One matchup against the Saints:
“Next you know we’re thrust into the season. The season starts and we go play basically one of the best teams in the league in the first game of the year. Which you know is kind of the measuring stick and we got off to a slow start. So we basically, …. we started off not great. Improved a little bit to the middle of the year then we had a pretty rough patch in the month of November. And we got a bye week at the right time where we didn’t have a game and we kind of recalibrated where we were at.“
After the bye week is when the Buccaneers put it all together. It was the beginning of the run that culminated in a Super Bowl victory.
Brady recalled how things started clicking and how they continued to get better:
“And man, the last four weeks of the season and then through the postseason, we really just found our rhythm. We really had the pedal on the metal and everyone worked really hard. I mean it was just so much fun to see a team come together the way that it did. And the belief as we kept going, it was like it grew and grew and grew and grew and I think by the time we even got to the Super Bowl, all of us still felt like we were still getting better. We were still improving,” Brady said. “If the game was a month from now, we would still be getting better and I think that was a great feeling to have going into that game which is I think why we all felt so much confidence that we weren’t going on fumes at that point, we weren’t trying to survive this season, we were really excited about where we at and we really wanted to finish that game the right way and prove to everyone that we were deserving to be the champs and just so happy for our team that we accomplished that.”
Brady also touched on how his off-season plans differ from usual after undergoing knee surgery shortly after the season:
“I actually had knee surgery so I’m kind of rehabbing right now. So it’s giving me something to do. Although I’d much rather be staying active like I normally do.”
In a recent press conference, head coach Bruce Arians said Brady should be good to go by June. After a season which saw Brady win his seventh championship, he appears eager to start the path to his eighth. If the team can pick up where they left off they’ll be in a great position when then 2021 season starts.