Is it Super Bowl or Bust for Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

Tom Brady retired in February but only 40 days later U-turned with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers


In the end, Tom Brady’s retirement lasted just 40 days. 

On February 1, the most prestigious name in the NFL called time on his career after a period of reflection following Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat by Los Angeles Rams.

‘I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition – if a 100 percent competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,’ Brady wrote on his Instagram.

‘This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.’

But then on March 13, he unretired with the swagger that has made him the greatest player in the game. 

‘These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,’ he wrote. ‘That time will come. But it’s not now. 

‘I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG (let’s f***ing go).’

Tom Brady retired in February but only 40 days later U-turned with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady retired in February but only 40 days later U-turned with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The iconic quarterback says he has 'unfinished business' as he targets and eighth Super Bowl

The iconic quarterback says he has ‘unfinished business’ as he targets and eighth Super Bowl

Brady has said an eighth career Super Bowl would be 'the greatest way' to leave the sport

Brady has said an eighth career Super Bowl would be ‘the greatest way’ to leave the sport

So what changed, in just under six weeks?

‘I felt some pressure to do it and talked to the team and organization, and it all worked out,’ Brady said to the The Match podcast in early June. 

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‘It’s not that I’m not 100 percent committed, it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like “Ugh. All right, here we go.” It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, “Hey, I’m going to start running.”

And a couple weeks later, he said he thought he was crazy for making the U-turn.

‘I think I’m part crazy. I mean, I think that’s the reality,” Brady told NFL.com. ’45 years old and I’m out here with a lot of young guys that are trying to take my head off. I see Aaron Donald work out on my Instagram, and I’m like, damn, maybe I should’ve stayed retired because he’s a beast.’

Brady joked that seeing Aaron Donald in the gym made him feel 'crazy' for not retiring

Brady joked that seeing Aaron Donald in the gym made him feel ‘crazy’ for not retiring 

Brady, who has turned 45 today, now admits that 2022 might not even be his final season

Brady, who has turned 45 today, now admits that 2022 might not even be his final season

So now attention turns to the upcoming season, starting with three exhibition games against Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts. Things then get going properly from September 11 against Dallas Cowboys at the AT&T Stadium.

Any team with Brady in its ranks has a chance of winning the Super Bowl and for the man himself, an eighth Super Bowl title to his name would vindicate his U-turn.

The Bucs also has a stern defensive line, something that isn’t spoken about as much – perhaps in part due to the limelight Brady has taken by his U-turn.

Cornerback Carlton Davis III enters his fifth season with the Bucs and gets better each term. His new three-year deal signed in the offseason was smart business. 

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Jamel Dean and safety Antoine Winfield Jr are also key parts of the Bucs defense. Logan Ryan, who signed for the Bucs in March, also brings versatility and experience to the ranks and could prove a shrewd addition across the duration of the season.

There is also a new coach at the helm. Bruce Arians stepped aside, into a role of Senior Football Consultant and he was replaced by Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles.

Bowles work on the defense is clearly evident in the aforementioned names but he now has to transfer that across the team. He was head coach at the New York Jets from 2015 until 2018 before being fired for a dire record of 4-12 in his last year. His coaching pedigree cannot, overall, be questioned though.

As well as his impressive defense work for the Bucs, he was also named assistant coach of the year by The Associated Press in 2015 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. 

Players such as Carlton Davis in the Bucs defense show how strong a team they have this year

Players such as Carlton Davis in the Bucs defense show how strong a team they have this year

Antoine Winfield Jr is part of a Bucs defense that is under the radar with attention on Brady

Antoine Winfield Jr is part of a Bucs defense that is under the radar with attention on Brady

But as ever, all eyes return to quarterback Brady. He is 45 today and inevitably, people will question if this campaign will be his last dance.

If it is, don’t expect him to say until the season is up. He has been clear from the start that he doesn’t want a farewell season.

‘I think that would be distracting for me,’ Brady said back in January on his ‘Let’s Go’ podcast with Jim Gray. ‘My enjoyment comes from not a recognition of kind of what I’ve accomplished as a player in the league – my enjoyment comes from the competition.’

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Brady talks like a guy who knows that, at this present moment in time, he can still compete physically but mentally, needs time to recharge. And he knows he won’t physically be able to compete forever – his amusing remarks about Donald prove that.

Brady talks like a guy who knows that, at this moment in time, he can still compete physically

Brady talks like a guy who knows that, at this moment in time, he can still compete physically

‘I would say it’s year to year: Could this be my last year? Absolutely. Could I change my mind? Absolutely. I’ve realized I don’t have five years left,’ Brady told Variety recently, before admitting an eighth Super Bowl title ‘would obviously be the greatest way to end.’

So it might not quite be Super Bowl or bust for Brady this year. They could win it and he decides to carry on. They could lose again and Brady may still feel he has another year in the tank and can keep father time at arm’s length.

Whatever happens, let’s just be grateful he’s not done yet. 



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