Tom Brady’s journey with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

“No one feels good about where we’re at. No one feels good about how we played or what we’re doing. We’re all in it together, and we have to pull ourselves out of it.”- Tom Brady

It seemed like no one saw it coming when Tom Brady, who had played with the New England Patriots for 20 seasons, left and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His first two seasons with the Buccaneers were successful, with the Buccaneers even going to the Superbowl and winning in Brady’s second season with them. The team is now over halfway through the 2022-2023 NFL season with only six games remaining to play. The Buccaneers (according to their own website are “far more likely to get to the postseason via a division crown rather than a Wild Card spot”. reports as of November 30 that the Buccaneers have a 69% chance to win the division and a 71% chance of making the playoffs. 

2020 Season

In March 2020 just six and a half months before the start of the 2020-2021 season, Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers hadn’t been to a Super Bowl since 2003 and hadn’t even come close to qualifying for the Super Bowl since. With Brady on their team, their chances of making playoffs and heading to the Super Bowl were looking good. Brady stated in a clip posted on the Buccaneers’ Twitter on March 24, 2020, 

“I’m prepared to give them every bit of commitment, I’ve had my entire career to be the best I could be, to help this team be the best it could be.” 

Shortly after Brady joined the Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, a tight end, came out of retirement to play with Tampa bay. Brady and Grownkski had played together before on the patriots for 11 years. Brady and Gronkowski are not only friends on the field but off the field as well. In an interview at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Gronkowski says, 

“You know, everyone keeps asking me, ‘Did Tom (Brady) get you to Tampa?'” Gronkowski told DeGeneres. “Well, of course, it didn’t hurt that Tom went to Tampa, you know, and the opportunity to go to Tampa was there too. But you know, Tom was like the appetizer, and then there are a few other reasons”. 

That same year Brady played a big role in signing Antonio Brown with the Buccaneers. Brown had also played with Brady on the Patriots. Brown however only played with the Buccaneers for a year and had a dramatic exit from the Buccaneers, to say the least. 

 Antonio Brown may have said goodbye to the NFL, leaving the Tampa bay Buccaneers‘ Week 17 game in the middle of the third quarter as they trailed the New York Jets by double digits. “Said CBS sports.” Brown decided not to exit subtly, taking his pads off on the sideline and giving some of his equipment to fans. The Buccaneers wide receiver then proceeded to wave his hands up in the end zone — with his shirt off — and exited the stadium soon after”

According to  New York Times sports writer Ben Shpigel, The Buccaneers had finalized Brown’s exit by terminating his $3.1 million contract.

 “The Buccaneers finalized that exit by announcing on Thursday by announcing that they had released Brown, terminated his $3.1 million contract, and contested his assertion of the events that led to his departure.”

 Now the Buccaneers had a star-studded lineup with Brady, Gronkowski, and Brown. Gronkowski had been ranked as the number 1 tight end 2 years prior by, and Brown who ranked as the number 2 wide receiver in the NFL in 2018. Each player excelled in their respective positions. The Buccaneers did not make it to the Superbowl during the 2020 season. The Buccaneers did however finish second in their conference with 11 games won and five games lost which was a big step up from the previous season’s seven games won and nine games lost. The 2020 season foreshadowed what was to come for the Buccaneers.

 2021 Season

The 2021-2022 season was one of the Buccaneer’s best seasons in a long time. The Buccaneers qualified for playoffs and made it to the Superbowl. The Buccaneers won the Superbowl against the Kansas city chiefs and won their second Lombardi Trophy since 2003. The 2021 season was head coach Bruce Arians’ last season with the Buccaneers. Following Brady’s unretirement Arians announced he was stepping down from his head coaching position.

CBS Sports reporter Jared Dubin writes, 

“Two weeks after Brady’s unretirement, Bruce Arians announced he would be stepping down as head coach and transitioning to a front office role, while the Bucs named Todd Bowles their new head coach. According to Arians, he would likely not have stepped aside if Brady had not come back”. 

Fans have speculated that there may have been tension between Brady and Arians and that Brady had “forced” Arians out. Arians said that he felt he could leave his head coaching position when Brady decided to come out of retirement because the Buccaneers would be in a good place with the man who most of the world considered the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) of the NFL (National Football League).

2022 Season

The Buccaneers had a new coach,  Gronkowski had retired, and since September Bradys’ personal life had been mentioned in the press almost daily. Whether from speculations about his personal life, and teammates disrespecting him publicly to setting new records, records that aren’t something to be proud of. 

Brady said in an after-game press interview that “No one feels good about where we’re at,” Brady said after the game. “No one feels good about how we played or what we’re doing. We’re all in it together, and we have to pull ourselves out of it.”

On Feb. 1, 2022, Brady announced his retirement via an Instagram post. Less than two months after announcing his retirement Brady announced that he was unretiring. The next few months following his unretirement could be seen as chaotic. Rumors of Bradys’ wife Gisele Bundchen being “unhappy” with his unretirement made headlines. Nine months later, Gisele and Brady announced their divorce after 13 years of marriage. Amid the divorce rumors, the Buccaneers and Brady started the 2022 season. In October Antonio Brown made headlines for mocking Brady and his now ex-wife Gisele’s divorce on Twitter. This shocked many people because Brady was thought to be the whole reason Brown even had a job playing for the Buccaneers. Brady and Brown were rumored to be close. There is no exact moment we can pinpoint the tension between Brady and Brown starting. 

On Jan. 7, 2022, Brown went on the Full Send podcast hosted by NELK, an internet group. While Brown was on he was asked about his relationship with Brady he responded by saying, “Tom Brady’s my friend. Why? Because I’m a good football player,” said  Brown.  “He needs me to play football, right? These guys called me to win the Super Bowl… People have different meanings of what friendship is.”

In October Brady set a record for most sacked quarterback in NFL history. Being sacked in NFL terms is when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he is able to throw a pass. Now in November Antonio Brown is still publicly making stabs at Brady. Nov. 16, 2022, Brown shares screenshots of messages Brady sent him. To sum up the messages, Brady called Brown out for his “poor decisions” and “poor communication” and how it has negatively affected those who had helped him get to where he is.

The Buccaneers will go into their bye week and then in week 12, they’ll play the Cleveland Browns. In week 13 they’ll play the Saints and in week 14 they’ll play the 49ers a game in which they are predicted to lose. Each day another story headlines involving Brady and the Buccaneers it will be an exciting journey to follow and that’s saying the least.