Tom Brady spent 19 years as the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback, leading the team on the most dominant run in NFL history. Seventeen division titles, nine conference championships, six Super Bowl wins — a first-ballot Hall of Fame career that has no equal and earned him the title of greatest quarterback of all time.
Since last spring, however, Brady is calling Tampa Bay his home. The 43-year-old signed a two-year free agency pact with the Buccaneers, and promptly lifted the team from mediocrity — it had not won a playoff game since 2002 before his arrival — to a Super Bowl berth: the veteran passer was not at his best in the NFC Championship Game, but did enough to beat the top-seeded Green Bay Packers on the road.
Now, it’s on to the Super Bowl again for Brady. However, he would not tell whether or not his record-extending 10th trip to the sport’s biggest stage feels any different from his first nine that all happened in New England.
“It’s hard to compare — it’s not worth it comparing any of that to me,” he told Peter King of NBC Sports after the Buccaneers’ 31-26 victory on Sunday afternoon. “It doesn’t really matter. It’s an incredible feeling and to win a conference championship is incredible. To win a Super Bowl championship is one of the great feelings in the world. But they don’t give these away.
“Obviously, everything’s different this year, with us being at home. I’m sure it’ll feel like just another game, although we all know it’s just not another game.”
Brady being his ever-diplomatic self does not come as a surprise — he was no different in New England. And yet, the questions and comparisons between his time with the Patriots and now the Buccaneers will undoubtably persist over the coming two weeks leading up to Super Bowl 55.
Behind the scenes, however, his former organization and the man trying to win a seventh Super Bowl ring on February 7th still have a relationship. It is naturally not as tight as it once was, but Brady still got a congratulatory message from Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the game. While its content is not known, we do know that Kraft and all of New England will keep a close eye on Brady when he takes on the Kansas City Chiefs with the Lombardi Trophy on the line.
Brady has held that trophy more often than any player in league history. His team may have changed since the last time he did that in February 2019, but he is still around fighting for it in 2021 as well. And that’s all that matters for him, comparisons be damned.