TAMPA, Fla. — In what is going to go down as one of the vital unlikely free-agent signings in NFL historical past, quarterback Tom Brady, winner of six Tremendous Bowls with the New England Patriots, grew to become a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a franchise synonymous with shedding for the previous decade-plus.
However as far-fetched because it appeared, 10 months later, Brady has led the Bucs to simply their fourth 11-win season in franchise historical past. They’re within the NFC divisional spherical of the playoffs for the primary time because the 2002 season, dealing with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (6:40 p.m. ET, Fox).
A lot has occurred for Brady each professionally and personally in that span, from studying a brand new path to get to work every day to navigating a brand new offense below coach Bruce Arians. It wasn’t with out hiccups, however there have been additionally triumphant moments and fairly a number of laughs. Here is a glance again on the occasions and moments that formed Brady’s first season with the Bucs.
March 17, 2020: Brady indicators with Bucs
Brady signed a two-year contract price $50 million to play for a Bucs group that hadn’t been to the postseason since 2007. But it surely was an opportunity for him to start out over, to do one thing new for the primary time in 20 years, and Tampa Bay’s offensive playmakers had been interesting. Brady stated, “I am ready to offer them each little bit of dedication I’ve had my total profession to be the very best I could possibly be, to assist this group be the very best it could possibly be.”
April 2: Brady strikes into Derek Jeter’s home
In an unprecedented transfer for a former Bostonian, Brady moved into the “St. Jetersburg” residence of former New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter on Davis Islands. When requested by Howard Stern what occurs when the washer breaks, Brady stated, “I name and I bitch to him and he will get it fastened,” Brady stated. “Everybody thinks they wish to personal a house, and it is good to lease. You get all the advantages with no accountability, so I am completely cool with this.”
But it surely was just for the brief time period, as Jeter put the house in the marketplace. Brady and his household have since relocated.
April 7: Brady mistakenly enters incorrect residence
In an try and retrieve his playbook from offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and social distance himself, Brady walked into what he thought was Leftwich’s residence, but it surely as a substitute was the home subsequent door. “I am sitting right here, and I see this large shadow come as much as my entrance door … and I hear my doorknob turning … and I am like, ‘What the hell?’ Like, ‘Who’s coming in my home?'” house owner David Kramer informed TMZ. “He simply goes, ‘Am I within the incorrect home?!'”
April 21: Brady reunites with Rob Gronkowski after commerce
The Patriots traded Gronkowski to the Bucs for a fourth-round decide. The reunion has led to tales — LOTS of tales — over the course of the season, with some hilarious back-and-forths on Zoom and even some epic impersonations. Brady recalled one offseason when Gronk was making ready for a GQ photograph shoot and feeling off form, so he requested Brady to work out. The 2 had a throwing session on a baseball subject within the rain.
“The ball by no means hit the bottom,” Brady stated. “After which he was like (lowers voice in an try and sound like Gronkowski), ‘Dude, that was nice. That was good. That was simply what I wanted. I really feel ripped now.’ And he was prepared for his photograph shoot due to at some point of the 2 of us understanding collectively.”
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 31, 2020
Gronk responded the next week by mocking Brady’s “wrestle face” after he took a shot of Fireball on the Kentucky Derby. “Simply seeing his face after, like in disgust, like, ‘I am placing this alcohol in my physique?’ … He is identical to, ‘How am I gonna throw subsequent week?'”
Could 24: Brady splits pants after making epic golf shot
In The Match: Champions for Charity golf match, one of many few reside sporting occasions on tv in the course of the top of COVID-19 lockdowns, Brady was paired with Phil Mickelson towards Peyton Manning and Tiger Woods. Brady struggled all through the day and was taunted by announcer Charles Barkley. However then Brady sunk the shot of his life with a birdie on the No. 7 gap, earlier than telling Barkley, “Chuck, shut your mouth.” Brady then suffered an unlucky wardrobe malfunction, tweeting after, “Pants needed in on social distancing I suppose.”
Sept. 13: Brady suffers first loss as a Buc
In his debut with the Buccaneers at New Orleans, Brady threw two interceptions, together with a pick-six to Janoris Jenkins, whereas left sort out Donovan Smith surrendered two sacks in a 34-23 loss. However what generated much more consideration was Arians mentioning Brady’s errors publicly afterward.
Arians stated, “He appeared like Tom Brady in observe on a regular basis, so it is form of uncommon to see that in a ballgame as a result of they did not do issues that we did not prepare for. The whole lot they did, we thought we had been prepared for.” It did not sit properly with Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer Brett Favre who stated of Arians, “I feel you are barking up the incorrect tree.” In a while, Brady stated he appreciated Arians’ robust teaching.
Oct. 4: Brady leads comeback from 17-point deficit
Brady overcame a first-half pick-six to steer the Bucs to a 38-31 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. It was the second-largest comeback in franchise historical past, and Brady’s greatest comeback since his 28-3 comeback in Tremendous Bowl LI. “How are you going to not imagine in him?” broad receiver Scotty Miller stated. “He is the best to ever do it.”
At age 43, Brady grew to become the oldest participant in NFL historical past to report 5 passing touchdowns in a recreation, based on ESPN Stats & Info. It additionally signified the beginning of a tradition shift in Tampa Bay. “I can truthfully say, had this been final yr, we’d have gotten our ass beat by 20,” coach Bruce Arians stated. “[With] Tom — he is by no means behind in his thoughts, so we will at all times make performs to win video games.”
Oct. 9: Brady forgets it is fourth down
In Brady’s first primetime recreation with the Bucs and down by 20-19 with 38 seconds to go, he failed to attach with tight finish Cam Brate on fourth-and-6. After the go was dominated incomplete, TV cameras zoomed in to Brady flashing 4 fingers, showing puzzled. Brady stated after the sport he was centered extra on yardage and never on the down. Brady did, nonetheless, handle to poke enjoyable at himself a number of days later. In congratulating the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James for successful his fourth NBA title, Brady tweeted a superimposed picture of James on his physique, holding up 4 fingers.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) October 12, 2020
Oct. 18: Brady will get first signature win with Bucs
After being down 10-0 within the first quarter to the Packers, Brady threw two landing passes — together with one to Gronkowski for his first as a Buccaneer — with Ronald Jones tacking on two extra for arguably the Bucs’ greatest win of the season. It was all ignited by an interception returned for a landing from cornerback Jamel Dean within the second quarter. It was additionally simply the second time in franchise historical past that the Bucs had zero penalties in a recreation, which got here after a tongue-lashing from Brady of their loss to the Bears. Previous to Brady’s arrival, the Bucs had been the most-penalized group within the league with 133 penalties in 2019. They completed 2020 with 84 penalties this season — eleventh fewest within the league.
Oct. 27: Brady persuades Bucs to get Antonio Brown
Regardless of Brown’s well-documented off-the-field struggles and Arians initially saying Brown “wasn’t a match” for the Bucs’ locker room, Brady, who had been pushing for the Bucs to signal Brown for months, lastly obtained his want. Brady stated he did not imagine he was risking his personal status by taking Brown below his wing and letting him keep at his residence.
“Lots of people weren’t born with the identical benefits that I’ve had rising up, they weren’t born with the identical background or help programs that I had,” Brady stated. “I feel quite a lot of pleasure in my expertise comes from seeing different folks be their greatest and seeing folks achieve methods that may set their household up. I feel that is a extremely vital side of soccer for me.”
Nov. 11: Brady loses dock, jet skis in Tropical Storm Eta
Experiencing his first tropical storm as a Florida resident, Brady tried to safe his jet skis by tying them to his dock. Besides the dock broke. “They had been about 300 yards away at another person’s home, and I obtained a bunch of messages from those who had been like, ‘Hey, man, are [those] your jet skis?” Brady stated. “They obtained fastened. We dragged ’em again.”
Nov. 8: Brady suffers worst Bucs loss in sweep by Saints
With out left guard Ali Marpet, who missed the sport with a concussion, Brady was pressured on 46% of his dropbacks, among the many highest in his profession. He threw no touchdowns and three interceptions within the 38-3 defeat — the worst lack of his profession.
“They kicked our ass in each part,” Arians stated.
“That was all-time low,” Brate stated. “Nothing labored [and] everybody performed terribly.”
It was their third poor displaying on prime-time TV this season. (They might lose as soon as extra in prime time to the Rams.)
“We have to carry out higher at each time,” Brady stated. “One o’clock, 4 o’clock, 8 o’clock, Monday night time, Sunday night time. Would not matter. … “As gamers we obtained to arrange more durable, we obtained to execute higher, there is no excuses for what it’s. It is a poor efficiency by a group that is obtained so much forward of it.”
Dec. 13, 2020-Jan. 3, 2021: Brady goes on tear to finish common season
After back-to-back three-point losses to the Rams and Kansas City Chiefs in a span of 9 days, Brady and the Bucs exploded out of the bye week. The received 4 straight, with Brady throwing 12 touchdowns and one interception in the very best four-game stretch of his profession. That included a 17-point comeback on the Falcons, which marked a turning level for the offense. “The second half of the [Falcons] recreation — it has been on hearth since then,” Arians stated.
Jan. 9: Brady delivers Bucs’ first playoff win since ’02 season
All week lengthy, Washington second-overall draft decide Chase Young stated, “Tom Brady, I am coming.” However as a substitute of sacking Brady, he got here as much as Brady after the sport to supply his congratulations, with Brady promising to ship him a jersey.
Brady threw two touchdowns, with left sort out Donovan Smith having arguably one in all his greatest NFL video games. “That is the boy,” operating again Leonard Fournette stated. “We have religion in him. We’re gonna shield our butts off for him to verify he will get that throw.”
Sunday: Brady and Drew Brees set to make historical past
To commemorate Sunday’s historic matchup that includes the primary time two quarterbacks over the age of 40 will face off, Brady tweeted a meme of him and Brees utilizing age development software program and slapped a Historical past Channel brand on it. Brady additionally had a little bit of a “senior second,” when requested about it, forgetting whether or not Brees was, in truth, youthful or older than him (Brady is, in truth, older).
“He is so much youthful than me,” Brady joked. “He is 18 months older than me…18 months youthful. Properly, 18 months in the past I felt fairly good, so I’ve obtained slightly superior age on him and expertise.
“Simply, assume a lot of him as an individual, as a participant,” Brady stated. “I do know what it takes to do what he is doing. He is aware of what it takes to do what I am doing. And I simply assume there’s quite a lot of mutual respect.”
Jokes and memes apart, Brees stated it got here as no shock that they are dealing with one another for a 3rd time this season within the playoffs.
“When Tom Brady signed with the Bucs and I knew that he was coming to our division, I envisioned this recreation,” Brees stated.