After being with the New England Patriots for 20 seasons, Tom Brady is officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.
Unlike Brady and the Patriots, the Buccaneers have not been to the Playoffs since the 2007 season. This dates back all the way to the Jon Gruden era. Since then, the Buccaneers have had mediocre quarterback play at best. And, again, unlike the Patriots, the Bucs have been on the outside-looking-in in the NFC South as the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers have shared numerous NFC South championships since the Bucs last division championship. Brady has won 17 division titles with the Patriots.
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Last season was boom-or-bust for the Bucs at the quarterback position with Jameis Winston under center. On Saturday, he said his goodbye to Tampa Bay signaling an end to a five-year run for the former first overall pick. Despite the issues at quarterback, mainly turnovers, the Bucs still managed a 7-9 record under Bruce Arians and one could argue a missed field goal, or two, cost them a 9-7 record.
Talent isn’t or hasn’t been the issue for the Bucs in these recent seasons. Especially at the wide receiver position with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. The defense is a work in progress but recently franchise-tagged Shaq Barrett gives a lot of hope to a group that should see a boost solely on the fact that Brady rarely turns the ball over. The four-time Super Bowl MVP will do wonders for this defense.
I wonder if this is the year that we will finally see more Bucs fans in the stands than the opposing teams. The way this franchise started from the bottom in 1976 from nothing, I still think the Buccaneers did not deserve to go through the period of struggle that they have gone through. Even in more recent history, it has been a long time since the Glazer Family and Tony Dungy built the Buccaneers Super Bowl roster that won it all with Jon Gruden at the helm in San Diego that night in 2003.
The 2020 season will bring more than one primetime game for the Bucs. That is the Brady effect. He has participated in many Sunday night primetime games, and hopefully, he can bring those to Tampa. And, this year’s schedule offers a number of intriguing possibilities for primetime games. One game, in particular, that should be a Sunday Night game will be when the defending world champion Kansas City Chiefs come to town. In addition, a Monday Night matchup between the Bucs and Saints or Bucs and Falcons is certainly on the table.
The Buccaneers in 2020 should be a team to be reckoned with due to Tom Brady and the talent around him. However, I wouldn’t predict a Super Bowl run just yet. In years past, the Buccaneers haven’t quite responded well to high expectations. I do expect big things from the Bucs, but are the tough times officially over just because we have the four-time Super Bowl MVP as our quarterback?
I sure hope so.