This NFL offseason will go down as one of the most historic ever, if only because of the free agency of the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady. Rumors have been swirling for months, with commentators offering all sorts of speculations about where he might end up. At last, the uncertainty ended with the news that Brady would join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Of course, that news has hardly diminished the massive amounts of buzz about Brady’s future. Bucs fans have already entered a frenzy of anticipation — and, for that matter, a frenzy of ticket-buying. Here we take a closer look at the effects Brady’s decision have had on the Tampa Bay area, as well as what the Bucs future may hold, both on and off the field.
Buccaneers fans react to Tom Brady’s signing
Bucs fans didn’t wait for official confirmation before they started acting on the reports that Brady was going to Tampa Bay. Virtually as soon as news of that decision broke, fans began flocking to the web to purchase season tickets. In fact, the influx of ticket buyers was so massive that it nearly crashed the Ticketmaster website.
Within roughly the first half-hour after the news broke, a waiting list of 972 people had cropped up. Less than an hour later, the line had ballooned to over 4,000. Just over two hours after the news broke, the waiting list had reached 6,655 people. That kind of fan reaction represents a huge change for a team whose stadium ranking 29th in overall attendance in 2019.
That means significantly more revenue for the Bucs — theoretically, enough to completely pay off Brady’s contract. Fortunately, the price increase only applies to those buying season tickets for the first time. Existing pass members will be able to purchase tickets at the non-inflated rate.
Bucs players react to Brady’s signing
Bucs fans haven’t been the only ones surging with enthusiasm about Brady’s arrival. Bucs players have also begun expressing their anticipation in recent days. Wide receiver Chris Godwin was one of the first to react, in a brief video interview posted on the Bucs twitter feed. “My first instinct was just like, “Wow,” said Godwin, who also acknowledged that the “possibilities are endless” for next season.
Further praise and elation soon followed from Bucs’ left tackle Donovan Smith, linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White, and center Ryan Jensen. That kind of instant enthusiasm bodes well for the Bucs’ chemistry. Brady’s work ethic and unrelenting dedication to excellence should also have a huge effect on the culture of the team.
Looking forward to 2020
With Brady’s signing now a done deal, fans and analysts can begin looking forward to what they can expect from the Bucs next season. The initial feeling is that Brady should make an excellent fit with this Bucs squad as it currently stands. To begin with, even a 42-year-old Brady is a huge upgrade from Tampa Bay’s former starting quarterback, Jameis Winston.
Taking a look at the two quarterbacks’ performances from last season, and a few things jump out. First of all, Brady threw just 8 interceptions, to Winston’s 30. Second, Winston suffered 20 more sacks than Brady, giving up nearly 100 more yards in the process. Brady also posted a better pass completion rate — albeit by just one-tenth of a percentage point.
Last season, Brady was saddled with one of the worst supporting casts of his career, especially when it came to receivers. The situation in Tampa Bay should prove a huge upgrade in that regard. So long as Brady continues to stave off the hands of time, the Bucs have a real chance to field a Super Bowl contender in 2020.