For nearly two decades, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick led the Patriots through one of the greatest dynasties in American sports. With the legendary quarterback-coach tandem, the Patriots won six Super Bowls. With all of their success, many people thought Brady and Belichick would never separate during their NFL careers.
That changed this offseason when Brady explored options in free agency and decided to go elsewhere, ultimately signing with the Buccaneers. Though he has yet to take the field for Tampa Bay, the future Hall of Famer has already given the franchise something it desperately needs: positivity.
The Buccaneers’ franchise history
The Bucs have one of the worst histories of any NFL franchise. They entered the league in 1976 and have made the playoffs just 10 times. Tampa Bay’s cumulative record since entering the league is 267-424-1, according to Pro Football Reference. That .387 all-time winning percentage is the lowest among the 32 NFL teams.
Plus, the Bucs are the only team below a .400 winning percentage — a significant statistic considering how long the Bucs have existed. The team has gone 6-9 in the postseason, with one Super Bowl win. This means Bucs fans haven’t had much to be positive about in the last 40-plus years, including in recent times; Tampa’s last playoff appearance came in 2007.
Tom Brady brings optimism to Tampa
Bucs fans are hoping Brady donning the pirate-themed uniform will finally give them reason to think positively or optimistically about the team’s outlook for the 2020 season. Brady is arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, which is backed up by the fact that he has five more Super Bowl rings than the Bucs’ franchise.
Even at 43, Brady is still better than most of the league’s quarterbacks, and he brings a pedigree that the Bucs have not had previously in a quarterback. When the Bucs took Jameis Winston with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, the team thought he would be a franchise history. That didn’t work out the way management hoped, though.
In five seasons with Winston, the Bucs went 28-42 in games that he started, which is a major disappointment from the top pick in the draft. He’s also coming off a 2019 season when he threw a career-worst 30 interceptions. Replacing Winston with Brady should provide a big improvement in on-field performance for the Bucs, and giving their fans something to be optimistic about.
Brady has impressed his Bucs teammates
They haven’t had much time together practicing compared to a typical offseason. But the Bucs already seem impressed with Brady and how he carries himself at practice. Yahoo Sports reports TE Cameron Brate, a beneficiary of Brady’s signing, has discussed the quarterback. He’s given a glowing review of the veteran. Brate says Brady’s positivity is the first thing he noticed in practice.
If a receiver runs a wrong route or misses a pass, Brady doesn’t get upset about it. Instead, the Michigan alum tries to encourage his teammate by saying something like, “Hey, don’t worry about it. We’ll get the next one.” And when a pass-catcher does grab the pass from Brady or runs a good route, there’s more encouragement. But Brate acknowledges that Brady sometimes balances that out by getting on guys if they’re not performing up to expectations, which is part of Brady’s competitive nature.
Brate also says that Brady is raising expectations for the Bucs’ season, both internally and externally. Regardless of how the campaign turns out, one thing is certain — the Bucs will have more eyes on them than they’ve had in a long time, especially with Rob Gronkowski also joining Brady as a first-year Buc. Brate sees it as an exciting opportunity. It’s “a chance to show the country who we are as players and as a team. I think it’s super exciting for us to have those expectations and it’s going to be a great opportunity.”