I can still remember the feeling I had, starting from way down deep and moving up through my body until it reached my vocal cords. I’m not sure what it was exactly that I said, but I can tell you I was screaming it from my living room. I just knew there was another Super Bowl Trophy coming now that would soon be displayed at One Buc. Tom Brady and the Bucs did not disappoint either, winning in Brady’s first year with the team and at home, no less. We have all heard it repeated enough to almost feel nauseous at times: The GOAT, the best that’s ever played the game; blah, blah, blah. However, the truth of that statement is almost impossible to question or deny. But Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr. is much more than Just the Greatest of all time. It’s been said that great players make those around them better. In those instances, they are usually talking about the higher level of play, bringing out the best in his teammates, but it goes much deeper than that with Brady.
It’s not only the consistently high level of play on the field. It’s the way that number twelve lives his entire life. The fact that he eats, drinks, sleep, works out, practices, watches film, shaves, and brushes his hair to win — I know that’s pouring it on, kind of thick, but it’s true — Brady has been preparing for his future in football since around 2004 when Willie McGinest advised him that his future and longevity in football were being affected by the life he was living now. Long story short, Brady took McGinest’s advice and made major changes that he still practices today and every day. Brady’s teammates know how disciplined he is. He’s a living example to all of them on how to get the most out of their minds and bodies. Beyond even that, Brady is their friend, and they know it’s not just lip service; it’s the truth. It’s things like in 2020, his first season as a Buc, Brady would pick up the phone at night before a playoff game and call a bunch of his teammates and verbally get them pumped up about a big game. He’s infectious in all he does.
Teammates not only generally really like the guy, but they are also extremely respectful of him in all he does. Tom Brady has an aura about him; “If you follow me”, liken the Pope to a devout Catholic, but a pontiff that will sit down and have a beer with you and yuk it up with pats on the back. The whole ten yards. Think of someone like a celebrity, a singer, an actor, maybe even a president that you have held close to your heart, in high esteem, then one day you actually meet your idol, so to speak, and he’s just the greatest guy ever. Down to earth and cooler than you ever could have imagined. Not only that, he treats you like you are the special one and downplays his importance. How far would you go for that person if they needed your help?
It’s no secret that when the quarterback before Brady was here, the Buccaneers’ offensive line could be considered to be okay on its best day. Enter the Tom Brady effect in 2020. The Bucs make one change to the wall in front of the veteran signal-caller, adding right tackle Tristan Wirfs via the draft after Davin Joseph moved on. The entire offensive line started playing like a top-five line. The human turnstile, Donovan Smith, is now considered a top 3 to 5 left tackle. He allowed only one sack in all of the 2021 season. There is only one thing that can account for the turnaround. That is the belief in and the trust they have for the Greatest Quarterback in NFL History. Nobody at any position wants to let down Tom Brady.
In addition, the amount of free agents around the league that want so badly to play with a guy like Brady is phenomenal. When Brady was retired, guys like Carlton Davis, Leonard Fournette, among others, were thought to be leaving the team for bigger paydays. Several of those players, since Brady announced his return, have taken, in some cases, less money to remain and play with the GOAT and all that entails. You can’t take anything away from the Bucs players who have raised their gameplay and become better players. You cannot say Brady deserves all the credit. His teammates still have to dig down and do the work to play at that higher level. With that being said, it should be understood that Brady did play a part in it, but he did nothing special to motivate his teammates; other than just being himself, and that’s enough for the Bucs to elevate and push them to higher highs, and lesser lows. So here’s to you, Tom Brady! For just being you and being an almost flawless example to others. Go Bucs!!