The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done it. They are officially world champions for the second time in franchise history. The team will enter the 2021 with colossal expectations as defending champions. Can the team once again live up to the hype and return to the NFL’s biggest game?
Bucs’ quarterback Tom Brady is not done just yet. Brady confirmed after Sunday’s game that he will be returning in 2021 for his 22nd season. And his eyes are still set on another Lombardi Trophy.
With seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady on your team, you have a proven leader. Bucs star linebacker spoke for many of his teammates in saying that Brady is a player everyone wants to play with.
Former Patriot teammates tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Antonio Brown joined Brady in Tampa. Both caught touchdown passes Sunday — Gronkowski had two — and made a significant impact on the team’s success and moral. The leadership Brady brings to team can not be understated.
Wherever Brady goes, success follows. Another year with Brady in Tampa Bay likely means another successful year for the Bucs.
The Players Are Not Satisfied
That’s right. Even the 43-year-old, seven-time Super Bowl Champion Brady is not yet satisfied. The issue for the rest of the league? Brady’s not alone.
A pair of Buccaneers’ running backs made their desire to “run it back” quite clear. Third-year back Ronald Jones spoke earlier today about running it back next year.
The NFL’s leading rusher in the playoffs, Leonard Fournette, took to Twitter to share his thoughts on next season.
— 7⃣ Leonard Fournette (@_fournette) February 9, 2021
Another Bucs weapon, leading receiver Mike Evans, also plans on contributing to the cause. Peter King of NBC Sports reports Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians called Evans, “The most unselfish superstar I’ve ever met.” Arians said that Evans told him to use some of his money to help keep the team intact.
The selflessness of one player can create a domino effect in the organization. Soon, players hungry for another ring will follow suit in an effort to keep impending free agents on the roster.
Notable #Bucs players scheduled to be free agents this offseason:
• Chris Godwin
• Lavonte David
• Shaq Barrett
• Rob Gronkowski
• Antonio Brown
• Leonard Fournette
• Ndamukong Suh
• Ryan Succop
Most of the players have expressed interest in coming back.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) February 8, 2021
The players in the locker room are ready and willing to make sacrifices for the greater good of the team. They’re ready to do what it takes recapture the title.
The Coaching Staff Remains Intact
With all head coaching vacancies filled around the league, it appears Bucs defensive and offensive coordinators, Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich respectively, will return next season.
Both Bowles and Leftwich had brilliant game plans that foiled the mighty Kansas City Chiefs on both sides of the football. Bowles, who interviewed with Philadelphia Eagles for their head coaching vacancy weeks ago, has been lauded for shutting down the Chiefs’ prolific offense.
Chiefs’ quarterback and 2018 league MVP, Patrick Mahomes, spoke highly of the game plan Bowles put in place Sunday.
Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid had similarly high regard for Bowles saying, “give credit to Todd for the job that he did. He got us.”
The Chiefs offense averaged 29.3 points per game this season, scoring less than 20 points just once all year (Week 16 vs. Falcons). Bowles’ defense held them to just nine.
Leftwich also had a tremendous game plan offensively and throughout the postseason. Additionally, Leftwich relied on Jones and Fournette in the running game to average 3o.8 points per game in the postseason. Leftwhich’s offense scored 31 points against a Chiefs’ defense that ranked 10th in points per game allowed with 22.9.
With both coordinators and most of the roster likely to return next season there is no reason to believe that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t run it back in 2021.