It is a rite of winter that even before the confetti is scooped off the ground, once the Lombardi Trophy has stopped being passed around during the postgame euphoria, we ask:
Could these guys be a new dynasty?
When Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were terrorizing the NFL for most of the past two decades, the question was posed more as a plea than anything else. But Patriots fans today are coming to grips with whether their dynasty is, at best, interrupted, or, at worst, dead.
And after what we witnessed yet again on Super Bowl Sunday from Tom Brady, in his endless twilight, we find ourselves forced to question the notion that it is The Next Tom Brady, with Andy Reid by his side, who holds in his otherworldly young right arm the next chance to be The Next Dynasty.
This isn’t intended to rub salt in the wounds of Patriots fans, but suddenly it isn’t terribly farfetched to ask:
Could Tom Brady’s Bucs be The Next Dynasty? Even if it is only a mini-dynasty?
Now, the 43-year-old GOAT will be the 44-year-old GOAT next summer, and there are no guarantees that Father Time will decide to tap him on the shoulder once and for all. Brady himself can tell you how difficult it is to repeat, given that he only did it once, and that was 16 years ago.
But shouldn’t we have learned by now that betting against Tom Brady is a losing proposition?
And shouldn’t we be open to the idea, deposed during Super Bowl Week by Brady himself, that he will be better next season in his second year with head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich? I mean, the guy has won four of the last seven Super Bowls. And ask Mahomes about Super Bowles – Todd Bowles – and that Bucs defense that suffocated him. What if Arians and GM Jason Licht can keep the gang together?
“This group is so so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter,” Arians said on Monday morning. “But we’re gonna do everything we can to get the dollars right too, ‘cause they earned it.”
The Glazer family, who own the Buccaneers, shouldn’t want Brady to be a lame duck in 2021. Wouldn’t giving him a small piece of the team be a nice reward for giving them their second championship?
“This was a very very talented football team last year,” Arians said, “but we really didn’t know how to win. And, when you bring a winner in, and he’s running the ship, it makes a total difference in your locker room, every time we step out on the field.
“I think the leadership that Tom brings and his attitude that, ‘Hey, let’s go play, it’s never over til it’s over, and we’re gonna win this thing somehow, some way,’ and it permeated through our whole locker room, his belief that we’re gonna do this, and knowing that he’s been there and done it, our guys believed it. And it changed our entire football team.”
Jameis Winston, who quarterbacked the Bucs last season, threw 30 interceptions in 2020. Brady threw 12 this season. This pandemic season.
“It’s great, that’s where I rank it, it’s great,” Brady said. “It’s been a great year.
“I think, in a unique way, it was kinda like with the coronavirus situation and all the protocols, it was really like football for junkies.”
And there is no bigger football junkie that Tom Brady. It is what sustains him. It is what fuels him. It is what keeps him young.
“There was not really a lot of other things to do other than show up to work and play football,” Brady said. “If you love football, this was the year to be a player in the NFL, ‘cause that’s all it was, it was like football camp with all your buddies year round. I really enjoyed that part.”
He enjoyed Arians, he enjoyed the warm weather, he enjoyed throwing to the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and, of course, his trusted old tight end, Rob Gronkowski. And an Antonio Brown that he helped stay on the straight and narrow.
It is a risky proposition betting against Belichick as well. It is absurd expecting him to be more motivated now that Brady beat him to a seventh Super Bowl because no one is more motivated. It doesn’t mean that this wasn’t some sort of Monday mourning for him. Brady could not have won six Super Bowls in New England without Belichick, and Belichick could not win six Super Bowls without Brady. Brady walks away from the 2020 season with the bragging rights.
And the current reality is that when he walked away from Belichick, he left him without a playoff quarterback, much less a Super Bowl quarterback. Belichick desperately needs one now. If he finds one, and a No. 1 receiver, don’t count out a potential Brady versus Belichick in Super Bowl LVI.