National Football League

Can Tom Brady and Tampa Bay repeat as Super Bowl champions?

February 11

Bruce Arians put it plainly: "We're going for two. And we ain't stopping."

The head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't hold back as he addressed the crowd at the team's victory parade. (WARNING: Arians' speech contains NSFW language)

Yes, the Bucs were feeling good coming off of their Super Bowl LV win.

But going back-to-back as champions is no easy feat.

Just seven franchises have done it, and only the Pittsburgh Steelers have done it more than once. The Buccaneers are hoping to join that elite club of repeat winners.

One of the biggest question marks ⁠— Will Tom Brady be back? ⁠— has been sufficiently answered by the Super Bowl MVP himself. 

Brady's return is a big boost, considering he threw for 40 touchdowns and more than 4,600 yards in the regular season, posting a 102.2 passer rating.

The 43-year-old QB also knows what it takes to go back-to-back, having steered the New England Patriots to repeat titles in 2003 and 2004. He also knows the heartache of coming up short, failing to defend the titles he won in 2001, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Shannon Sharpe is another guy familiar with repeating as champion. Prior to co-hosting "Undisputed," the Hall of Fame tight end won back-to-back rings with John Elway and the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998.

He explained how the motivation to be truly "special" fueled that team.

Motivation aside, the Buccaneers have some big-name players, on both sides of the ball, entering free agency for 2021.

Some of the more notable stars include wide receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown, tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette, linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

Outside of Brown (34%) and Suh (64%), that list of players played at least 70% of the snaps on their respective sides of the ball in the Super Bowl.

It's hard to imagine the Buccaneers having to replace them all, but Brandon Marshall laid out who he thinks the team should prioritize on Thursday's episode of "First Things First."

"First off, you've gotta bring back Shaq Barrett. ... Bring back either AB or Godwin. You've gotta have a solution on the other side of Mike Evans. And last, Gronkowski. He is great for the chemistry, he's great for the locker room. ... If you do those things and build off the chemistry that you created during the season, you're going to be right where you need to be."

A real offseason could go a long way to building upon that chemistry, too.

Remember, Brady came to Tampa Bay and was getting tossed out of parks for trying to get work in with his new teammates amid a shutdown during the pandemic.

The NFL also eliminated preseason games and most of Brady's acclimation to the Buccaneers came virtually, to start.

The hope is that this preseason will be more like seasons past. That change should only serve to help the ageless Brady and the Bucs, said ESPN's Domonique Foxworth:

"They are only going to get better with what, hopefully, seems like a real offseason. I hate to be a prisoner of the moment, but what they showed defensively in this playoffs and what we know about Tom Brady ⁠— how he's defeated aging. We used to hear 'Father Time is undefeated.' No more. ... Cause clearly Father Time has taken L, after L, after L, to Tom Brady."

Still, amid the hoopla and celebrations in Tampa Bay, Nick Wright isn't ready to declare Super Bowl LVI a foregone conclusion.  

"Picking them today to repeat as champions is three bridges too far."

If the Buccaneers do make a repeat run, there's a good chance they'll run into the team they just beat, too.

The oddsmakers at FOX Bet have the Kansas City Chiefs priced at +550 to win it all next year, with Brady & Co. behind them at +850.

For now, the Buccaneers are likely still basking in the glow of Sunday's win and Wednesday's marine parade.

But will they have the goods to gas up the boats for another tour around Tampa Bay next year?

We'll see.


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