New crew, identical ole Tom Brady.
The six-time Tremendous Bowl champion who left New England for sunny Florida is within the playoffs for an NFL-record 18th time in 21 years, and keen to construct on an ever-expanding legacy in his first postseason look with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Invoice Belichick and the Patriots are house looking at following a ancient two-decade run with the 43-year-old quarterback, who’s now pumping energy right into a franchise with the worst all-time profitable share within the 4 primary skilled sports activities.
Brady led New England to the Tremendous Bowl 9 instances in 20 seasons, showing in 41 playoff video games and profitable 30 — each data.
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The Bucs, who will finish a 13-year postseason drought once they face Washington in a NFC wild-card sport Saturday night time, have performed 15 playoff video games within the membership’s 45-season historical past.
“Anytime you are making the playoffs, it’s a excellent feeling, and it’s a excellent alternative to be enjoying this weekend, a privilege for any people,” Brady mentioned Wednesday.
“We’re a crew that’s made a number of enhancements over the process the yr, and we should be at our perfect. That’s what this a part of the season is all about,” the three-time league MVP added. “The common season is what it’s. You recognize you place it within the books, however we’re right here to win playoff video games.”
Brady left New England in unfastened company, signing a two-year, $50 million contract with the Bucs, who’ve surrounded him with an All-Famous person solid of playmakers that comes with receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight finish Rob Gronkowski and working backs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette.
An progressed protection has helped Brady proceed to defy Father Time, too.
“It’s superb as a result of whilst you’re in the market looking at him in apply, you’re like, ‘This man looks as if he’s 30, perhaps 33 at maximum,’” trainer Bruce Arians mentioned.
“It’s simply superb looking at him and the way in which he works so laborious at taking good care of himself. That’s now not simple at 43, taking a couple of photographs — confidently now not too many — and transferring on. … He actually is a freak of nature in that regard.”
It’s by no means been Brady’s taste to name consideration to his accomplishments, so he shall we his play talk for what he’s been in a position to try this season with out advantage of an ordinary offseason or preseason to organize for his transition to a brand new crew.
With a franchise-record 40 landing passes, he joined Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino as the one quarterbacks to throw no less than 40 in more than one seasons. It additionally tied Russell Wilson for the second one maximum within the league this yr at the back of’s Rodgers’ 48.
“When he first signed I mentioned, ‘OK, we’ll be a 40 (landing) and 10 (interception) crew,’” Arians mentioned. “I used to be anticipating apply, I used to be anticipating OTAs and the ones issues. What he’s finished without any of that — particularly this ultimate part of the season — is fantastic.”
Brady enters the playoffs coming off throwing for 1,067 yards and 10 touchdowns over the past 8 quarters he performed. He rallied the Bucs from double-digit deficits to win 4 instances this season and has thrown for a minimum of two TDs in seven consecutive video games.
“As a participant, he actually hasn’t modified,” Gronkowski, the quarterback’s favourite goal in New England, mentioned. “From the second one I first met him, he’s been all-in — all-in with practices, all-in at conferences, all-in looking to recover each and every unmarried day.”
In many ways, Brady has exceeded Arians’ expectancies.
“His management is past anything else I’ve ever observed. Peyton Manning is the one factor shut,” mentioned Arians, who’s labored with Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer and Andrew Good fortune whilst setting up a name as a quarterback whisperer.
“It’s a endless factor with him, the perfectionist, to get the entirety proper in apply,” Arians added. “Additionally, his calmness at the sideline in video games after we’re now not profitable, announcing ‘We’re going to win.’ The ones form of issues. You place the ones in a bottle and you are making a number of cash.”
It hasn’t been all rosy, even though.
Whilst the Bucs went 10-Zero in opposition to groups that did not make the playoffs, they had been 1-Five in opposition to combatants that earned berths. Brady had 10 landing passes and 9 interceptions within the losses.
When Arians, who doesn’t sugarcoat his evaluate of quarterbacks, spoke publicly about Brady’s early inconsistency many questioned if there used to be a rift creating between participant and trainer.
A four-game profitable streak to finish the common season put that perception to relaxation.
“I think like we now have an ideal courting. From the instant I were given right here, we’ve simply had nice discussion and I indisputably respect the entire perception he provides me and the way in which he coaches and leads,” Brady mentioned.
“It’s very open, truthful discussion about how we expect, indisputably how I will be most efficient,” Brady added. “Any questions he has, we at all times have an ideal, open line of communique. I actually experience my time getting to understand him, and I’ve nice admiration for him as a trainer, as a person, as what he’s off the sector and the way he instructions and leads the crew.”
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Arians mentioned there used to be by no means an issue.
“The chemistry actually began in our first assembly. We first began speaking offensive soccer after which the Tampa Bay Bucs. His pleasure degree and my pleasure degree simply saved rising and continues to be rising,” Arians mentioned.
“We’re nonetheless studying each week the little issues, the sport plans and situational soccer that we communicate out,” the trainer added. “The collaboration has been superior and prefer I’ve mentioned, it’s our activity to stay him wholesome, stay him upright and let him do his factor.”