“It only took one man” — How Bucs fans’ hope has sprung eternal from Tom Brady’s fountain of youth
18 years of time has passed between Super Bowl #1 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl #2. Brief flirtations with good (not great) times elapsed and evaporated like a flash of lightning.
Indeed, maybe the Bucs needed to speak to the lightning about what a semi-competent team looks like.
For all of the names that roll off the tongue when it comes to the 2002 Bucs, the QB certainly isn’t one. Brad Johnson had a very good career and sailed the good ship Tampa to glory, but he relaxes in the shadows created by the giants of Sapp, Lynch, Brooks et al.
Tampa has NEVER had an elite prime QB in its 45 year history. Or maybe that should be had: As this offseason, the greatest of all time joined the Sunshine State, and proceeded to become an in-the-flesh version of a mortal engine, picking up the entire city of Tampa and carrying it on his TB12-honed back.
Bucs HC Bruce Arians said after pickpocketing the Packers on their own turf, that Tom Brady “(Gave everybody) belief in this organisation that this could be done. It only took one man.”
Anyone that is reading this will have their own opinion on Tom Brady. And I’d like to think that even the biggest Brady basher can acknowledge the sheer numbers that gets put next to his name.
But for the first time perhaps, this year isn’t about numbers for Brady. It’s about something that seems to have magnified year after year, as he makes a fool of Father Time well into his fifth decade.
It’s about his intangibility.
Even if you have never watched a certain sport before, some athletes can jump off the screen with their talent, even if you’re not sure what it actually is.
It’s how Messi is always in the right place to score a goal, Mayweather is always able to dodge a punch and throw one back, Jordan could always nail a bucket at the crucial time.
Brady is cut from the same cloth. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, the most athletic ability, he’s not the tallest.
But that doesn’t matter, as wherever he is, teams win.
That doesn’t just go for his own sport. It branches out to the whole city.
What you can see below is the correlation between where Brady is living and the success that follows.
Just look at that above picture. It’s barely believable. But yet, there it is.
It’s the reason Jason Licht went all out this summer to land him.
It’s why the Bucs went overnight from talented but flawed pretenders to elite championship contenders.
And make no mistake, the 2019 Bucs WERE talented. 7–9 doesn’t tell you about the green shoots that were rising out of the Ray Jay turf.
Arian’s first year saw a burgeoning offense, a #1 ranked run defense, and just one game with less than 20 points scored.
It also saw six defeats by one score or less, and the jettison of Jameis Winston.
Thousands of column inches have been written about Jameis, so I’ll keep this succinct. Save for a couple of additions, the nucleus of this squad has remained intake going into this season.
Evans, Godwin, Miller, RoJo, Suh, SMB, Jensen, David, Cappa, White. They were all there already.
The aura of Brady produced four more regular season wins and a playoff run for the ages.
By complimenting the aforementioned chocolate sundae with the added cherry of Fournette and Gronkowski, this team just feels different. Just ask any Bucs fan.
Last year, it was nail-biters, roller-coasters, the consistency of inconsistence. Choppy waters around that pirate ship.
This year it’s smooth sailing. Excellence of execution. Setbacks, yes. But never a mutiny. From my personal experience and the feelings of others, there’s been an inherent trust in the system.
It’s been a long time coming.
And it leads to one final stop on the 2020 quest for bounty.
Washington was wrecked, New Orleans neutralised.
The Bay that’s Green will watch on green with envy.
Brady has been here nine times before, eight times more than our franchise.
325 days separates the birth of Brady and the Bucs’ first ever game. No-one saw the intertwining of a perennial winner and perennial losers.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if Brady can’t run around the field like Patrick Mahomes can.
It certainly won’t matter if the Lombardi trophy joins its 18-years older twin at One Bucs Place.
Besides, Brady has an excuse.
He has the whole of Tampa on his back.