Tom Brady’s short retirement has taken the Buccaneers from an uncertain off season to back in the hunt for a second Super Bowl title in three years. Tampa Bay is now listed in most sportsbooks as tied with Green Bay as the NFC Super Bowl favorites right behind the Buffalo Bills who have emerged as the trendy choice to win it all.
More Than One Winner
Another winner in this Brady return to the Buccaneers could be second year QB Kyle Trask who spent his first season with the team as the thrid string signal caller but also getting a “Master Class.” in how the game is played by the GOAT. Trask now has a real chance to move up to the number two spot on the depth chart and when Brady does retire for good then he should be ready to step into the role of starter.
But Trask’s future now clearly rests in how well he performs both in the offseason as well as the drills, and camps as rhe 2022 season draws near. A strong performance will mean that Blaine Gabbert who has served as Brady’s backup is for the moment a free agent and if the Buccaneers feel Trask is the long-term solution, then there is no need to re-sign him.
Meanwhile, the 44-year-old Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) in 2021, but the Buccaneers lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round. “Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said. “As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field. He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship.”
Brady cited his desire to spend more time with his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and three children when he decided to walk away from the game on Feb. 1. But he changed his mind about staying home, a day after attending the Manchester United match against Tottenham Hotspur. Brady sat with the Glazer Family, who own Manchester United and the Buccaneers.
His reversal sent shock waves throughout the sports world, and his teammates and Buccaneers fans reacted with jubilation.
Giants safety Logan Ryan said Brady’s return is “good for football.” Rams star cornerback Jalen Ramsey tweeted: “THANK YOU! throw that last touchdown on somebody else.”
It’s Happened Before
Many Hall of Fame players across several sports returned to playing after retiring, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy in the NBA, Brett Favre and Reggie White in the NFL, Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux in the NHL.
The Buccaneers are hopeful star tight end Rob Gronkowski also returns. Brady convinced his buddy to unretire to join him in Tampa in 2020. The team lost Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet, who retired at age 28. But Godwin is staying after getting the franchise tag.
Brady’s decision comes right before the NFL free agency period begins. The Bucs have several key players set to hit the open market: running back Leonard Fournette, safety Jordan Whitehead, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Gronkowski and others.
They kept two of those key players when Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and CB Carlton Davis agreed to a three-year contracts.
Better Odds With Brady
Brady’s return should impact their decisions and the team’s plans. Tampa’s odds for winning the Super Bowl went from 25:1 to 7 1/2:1, tied with Green Bay for second-best behind Buffalo at 7:1, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
“We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said. “We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today’s announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days.
“Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back. Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run.”
Brady is the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (84,520) and TDs (624). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times.
Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, been a first-team All-Pro three times and selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times. He is 243-73 in his career in the regular season and 35-12 in the playoffs.
He’s back to build on all those numbers.