(EDITOR’S NOTE: To access the Gary Myers interview fast forward to 4:40 of the following attachment: Ep 19: Tom Brady Talk w/ Gary Myers | The Eye Test for Two | Spreaker)
Guiding the Tampa Bay Bucs into Super Bowl LV is the latest in a litany of historic accomplishments for quarterback Tom Brady… and it may be his greatest.
Because the Bucs – the Tampa Bay Freakin’ Buccaneers — are the first team in the 55-year history of the Super Bowl to play the game in their home stadium. So what’s new? If history is to be made, it’s Tom Brady who will make it.
He’s the quarterback who will have gone to twice as many Super Bowls (10) as the competition and as many as Joe Montana (4), Peyton Manning (4) Drew Brees (1) and Aaron Rodgers (1) combined. He’s also the quarterback who won over twice as many playoff games (33) as Montana (16) and who, in one year in the NFC won as many conference championships (1) as Brees and Rodgers in their entire careers.
But this is different because … well, because Brady is 43 and because this is Tampa Bay, a bottom feeder that had one winning season the previous nine years and hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007. Yet at the age of 43, the NFL’s Benjamin Button somehow has them in their second Super Bowl ever.
So now the question: Is this his greatest achievement? No, says Gary Myers, author of “Brady vs. Manning” and host of The GOAT Tom Brady podcast.
“He did walk into a situation where they did have a lot of talent on this team,” Myers said on the latest “Eye Test for Two” podcast on fullpressradio.com. “But to do what he’s done this year is pretty amazing.
“Does he need to win this Super Bowl (for it) to be his most incredible accomplishment … just getting this far? I think just taking over in New England when he did (in 2001) … and a 0-2 team that had been 5-11 the year before when Drew Bledsoe got injured … (was better).
“Although he was more of a game manager that year, and he threw only three passes as a rookie the year before, I think that still stands out to me as his most incredible accomplishment – considering that he led a game-winning drive at the end to beat the Rams on Vinatieri’s field goal to beat the Rams who were favored by like 14 or 15 points.”
It was 14. The Rams were “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The Patriots were a division champion that should’ve lost in the snow at Foxboro. But they didn’t, advancing to the Super Bowl where they were supposed to be humbled.
But weren’t. They won 20-17 on Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal as time expired.
Brady was named the game MVP, though the MVP should’ve been coach Bill Belichick and a defense that somehow kept the Rams at bay, holding them to 17 points despite 427 yards. The Patriots would go on to win Super Bowls in two of the next three years, and Brady would establish himself as one of the game’s premier quarterbacks.
But now he’s the platinum bar against which all others are measured, the greatest quarterback of the modern era. Bowl. And remember: This isn’t just another team. These are the Buccaneers, a team once so dreadful that when, following another loss, then-coach John McKay was asked about its execution, he said he was in favor of it.
“With all due respect to the Bucs and having won the Super Bowl in 2002,” Myers said of Brady, “he took over a team that was considered dysfunctional … and has been considered dysfunctional almost from the time they came into the league. So turning around the culture, changing people’s perspective on this team in four months is pretty incredible.”
That is an understatement. The Patriots had given up on Brady, and nobody wanted him until Tampa Bay extended an invitation. He was supposed to be too old to win and unable to succeed without Belichick serving as his pathfinder.
Except he did. Against all odds. At the age of 43. Which is why he is Tom Terrific, now more than ever.
“Before the season,” said Myers, “if you were to ask me if would be shocked if the Bucs got to the Super Bowl I’d probably say, ‘No.’ You look at the offensive talent around him. They have a good defense. It was really a ready-made situation. So it was just a question of: Could he overcome not having an offseason and ow long would it take for his philosophy of offense … and the way he likes to run it … mesh with Bruce Arians?
“After 12 games at 7-5 I think it was kind of a mess. But they got it together during the bye week. Something must have happened during the bye week where they threw out all the plays that weren’t working and they identified the plays that were working. And they’ve won seven in a row since then.
“But to answer your question, I would count 2001 as his greatest accomplishment … whether or not he wins this Super Bowl.”