Tom Brady shouted it out from the podium with the Lombardi Trophy in his hands, “Yep, we’re coming back.” Moments later, he reiterated the message to CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, adding, “Better believe it.”
Of course, there’s a long time between Feb. 7, 2021 and early September when the Super Bowl 55 champion Buccaneers will open the next NFL season. But as of the night of the Super Bowl, the 43-year old Brady has given no signs to expect he won’t be suiting up for his second season with Tampa Bay.
Brady earned Super Bowl MVP honors in his first season with the Buccaneers, completing 21-of-29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns in defeating the Chiefs, 31-9. Tampa Bay had lost to Kansas City in Week 12, falling to 7-5 on the season. Brady and the Bucs didn’t lose from there on out, finishing the season with eight consecutive victories.
All along, things have pointed toward a Brady return for the 2021 season, which he’ll play at 44 years old. He signed a two-year contract upon joining the Buccaneers with the money split evenly across 2020 and 2021. There were also a couple of reports throughout the season that said Brady would be back.
But it’s a totally different thing for Brady to publicly confirm that. Players and coaches have been moved in the past to ride off into the sunset after a championship victory. Not Brady — he wants more.
He won’t be alone in 2021. Rob Gronkowski, who caught two TDs on Sunday, has already said he’ll be back if Brady returns. Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said after the Super Bowl that he, too, will seek to coach another Super Bowl team next season.
Even wide receiver Chris Godwin, who’s an impending free agent, could see the franchise tag and stay in town with Brady for another year, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport. Depending on what happens with free agents Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette, Brady could have most of the band back together for another go-around.
Brady threw 40 touchdowns, a franchise-record and second-best mark of his career, in his first season in Tampa Bay, and he capped it all off with a Super Bowl victory. The Chiefs’ motto in 2020 was “Run it back.” That’s what Brady will be trying to do next season after preventing Kansas City from doing just that.