Penalties are a funny thing. Some teams just draw calls like moths to a flame. Sometimes the entire offensive line can be accident-prone. Every once in a while you encounter that rare player or team that just seems immune to penalties though, stars with that intangible quality, charisma, or some form of control over the officials. Tom Brady is one such magical player.
Brady’s relationship with the NFL’s officiating staff is the stuff of legend. This fall he looks to bring a little bit of that magic with him to Tampa Bay where he can hopefully turn around the Buccaneer’s dismal performance last season.
The most penalties in the league
There are 32 professional teams in the National Football League. And of those 32 teams, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked 32nd in terms of penalties per game. That’s dead last. In the 2019 season, they averaged 8.3 penalties per game with a staggering 12 penalties in their final regular-season game alone.
The 2018 season wasn’t much better. In 2018, the Buccaneers were tied for 29th place with a sky-high 7.3 penalties per game. That’s a lot of holding, offsides, and unnecessary roughness for a single team to accrue.
Their game-by-game penalty log? It reads like a broken record according to NFL Penalty Tracker: false start, offensive holding, offensive holding, false start, pass interference, pass interference….you get the point.
The Bucs had just about every type of penalty called against them multiple times over the course of the season. The bottom line: they just couldn’t seem to stay on the right side of the refs even for a single game.
The Tom Brady factor
Brady is known for a lot of things, Not least of all being the front-runner for greatest of all time. During the 2020 off-season, Brady shocked the entire NFL by ending a 20-year career with the New England Patriots, opting not to renew his contract.
Instead, he’s Tampa Bay bound this fall and looking to bring his leadership skills and charisma to a team in desperate need of a turnaround. Part of that turnaround has to be cleaning up their penalties. Fortunately, Brady can help with that part.
There’s been a long-time perception that Brady and many NFL officials are pretty cozy. The rumors have even bordered on scandal and inappropriateness, according to the Huffington Post.
From the Spygate scandal where the Patriots were accused of taping footage of the Jets’ defensive play-calling back in 2007, to Deflategate in 2014 where Brady was accused of deflating game balls to make them easier for his receivers to catch, he is no stranger to controversy.
In regards to penalty calls, however, Brady and his former crew in New England have been at the opposite end of the spectrum as Tampa Bay. Last year the Patriots were ranked 5th in the league with just under six penalties per game. The year before that was a similar story. But what does that mean for the Buccaneers?
Tom Brady’s consistency and leadership
This past season the Buccaneers lacked that certain something. To be perfectly honest, they lacked a lot of certain somethings. Two of those things were a sense of consistency and real leadership. In 2019, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were just plain bad.
Their defense was nothing to write home about. Their quarterback, Jameis Winston, was plagued by turnovers. Tom Brady might not be a cure-all, but he’s spent 20 years in Foxborough under a well-regimented program.
Hate him or love him, he’s the most winning quarterback in NFL history. He knows how to properly set the game’s tempo, and settle his offense down, ensuring that they make good choices while avoiding game-breaking penalties.