Tom Brady has taken things to another level not seen before: Winning a Super Bowl at age 43, in his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and making history by being part of the first team to appear in a Super Bowl in its home stadium — and accomplishing all of this in a pandemic.
It’s not a movie script — yet? — but Brady helped make it reality. Who else could have done that?
The Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV by a score of 31-9 against last year’s champs, the Kansas City Chiefs and their superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, viewed as the player who will take the torch from Brady one day. This is Tampa Bay’s second title, and it caps an NFL season unlike any before it.
Brady has won his seventh Super Bowl, extending the mark for the most by any player. That total is more than any NFL team, as his former team, the New England Patriots, and the Pittsburgh Steelers each have six. It was his 10th Super Bowl appearance, also the most of all time.
His performance Sunday was vintage, completing 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns.
But it’s not just Brady’s age. It’s that’s he doing this with a new team after spending 20 seasons with the Patriots, where he won his first six Super Bowls with head coach Bill Belichick. It’s unlikely that kind of combination seen during the Brady-Belichick era will happen again.
And it’s not like Brady went to a team that had an illustrious postseason history. The Buccaneers hadn’t been in the playoffs since the 2007 season. Until Sunday, this franchise’s crowning moment was winning Super Bowl XXXVII against the then-Oakland Raiders to end the 2002 season.
Brady also switched teams during a pandemic, not being able to immediately — at least officially — practice with his new team until July 29, far from the typical operating procedure for NFL standards. With strict Covid-19 protocols, there weren’t the usual opportunities to bond with teammates. There were no preseason games.
Brady and the Buccaneers started the season 7-5. But after losing to the Chiefs at home in Week 12, however, the Buccaneers didn’t lose again, winning eight consecutive games, including three on the road during the NFC playoffs to reach Super Bowl LV.
Brady is not the same quarterback as he was in the 2001 season, when he won his first Super Bowl. But he clearly has plenty left in the tank. He previously has said he wants to play until he’s 45, and earlier in the week, he said he’d consider playing past that age.
Perhaps it’s fitting, with so many people staying at home because of the pandemic, that Tampa Bay became the first team to play at its home stadium in the Super Bowl. Just add that as another layer of the magic Brady seemingly brings.