Five not in their favor: What not to like about Buccaneers’ repeat odds

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Bucs Nation 22 July, 2021 - 08:00am 6 views

Are the Buccaneers going to the White House?

Bryan Glazer said the Bucs got their invite to the White House because the 2020 team "did the impossible," but also called the Bucs' White House visit an honor "20 years in the making." ... Fortunately, the team's incredible journey in 2020 did include a trip to Washington, D.C., for which Arians was very grateful. Buccaneers.comTampa Bay Buccaneers Visit President Biden at White House

How many times has Brady been to the White House?

Brady, 43, last visited the White House in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration after Super Bowl XXXIX when he clinched his third title as a New England Patriot. Brady celebrated three wins at the White House during Bush's four-year term. BuzzFeed NewsSuper Bowl Champion Tom Brady Is Back At The White House, Again

What’s working against Tampa Bay as it looks to go back-to-back in 2021?

That’s been the Buccaneers’ mantra ever since the final seconds ran down on their 31-9 Super Bowl LV victory over the Chiefs back in February. In fact, head coach Bruce Arians made it abundantly clear that his team was not trying to “run it back.” Tampa Bay is going for two.

However you want to say it or brand it, the goal is clear: The Bucs are hoping to get back to the playoffs, return to the Super Bowl and take home the Lombardi Trophy for a second straight year. But despite having some factors working in their favor as they look to repeat, there will be other things working against the team during its quest. Here, we’ll break down five things not going in favor of the defending champs as they look to go for two.

And it’s not as if teams haven’t had chances to complete repeat seasons in the years since. The Seahawks beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII and returned to Super Bowl XLIX the following year, but they lost to the Patriots. The Patriots won Super Bowl LI and returned to defend their title the next year, only to lose to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. And, of course, the Chiefs were the most recent team that failed to get the job done. After winning Super Bowl LIV, they dropped Super Bowl LV to the Buccaneers. For one reason or another, teams just haven’t been able to finish off their repeat attempts.

So, while the Bucs were able to keep their entire Super Bowl-winning roster together unlike these other teams, there are still no guarantees in this league. As much as the team tries to stay on the hunt instead of allowing itself to be the hunted, the road will be difficult. There’s little room for error. Tampa Bay has the talent and the coaching to go far, but all it takes is a slip-up down the stretch or a close loss in the postseason to kill off any hopes of a repeat. The Seahawks, Patriots, Chiefs and a host of other champions certainly know that.

But with that being said, it’s hard to complain about any injury luck with this team last year. Not to diminish the importance of guys like Vea, Howard and Cappa, but the Bucs didn’t lose one of their top guys for significant parts of the season in 2020. Other teams weren’t so lucky. Take the Chiefs, for example. They got all the way to the Super Bowl, but they had to play the game without their two starting offensive tackles. Other teams dealt with season-ending injuries at key “skill” positions. The Cowboys lost Dak Prescott. The Panthers couldn’t keep Christian McCaffrey on the field. The Giants saw Saquon Barkley’s season end prematurely. There are high-profile injuries every year, but they were seemingly on a different level in 2020. Tampa Bay largely avoided that.

There’s no way you can count on the Bucs staying as healthy in 2021 as they did in 2020. If they can, that’s great. If it stays healthy, this roster is the NFL’s best. But that has to be a big “if” and you can almost bet there will be some sort of injury adversities that this team has to deal with this year. The depth within the squad is quite impressive, but you never like to see it tested too much, especially when the margin for error is so slim when you’re trying to go back-to-back.

Not to mention, there’s plenty of parity in the NFL. That’s part of the reason why no team has gone on to repeat as champions since the 2003-2004 Patriots. The league is tough. Going into 2021, the NFC may not look all that strong on paper. No team looks to be as proven and battle-tested as the Bucs. But there are going to be some tough challengers in the conference and others could very well emerge and get hot at the right time too. The Seahawks are always a tough out, while the Rams look to be one of the most complete teams in the entire NFL this year.

The Cowboys have a star-studded offense and—if they can get their defense on the right track—could be a solid contender. The Washington Football Team should be even better and even more dangerous in 2021. If the Aaron Rodgers saga ends favorably for the Packers, Green Bay will be in the mix again. Even within the NFC South, the Saints are no cakewalk. If Jameis Winston cuts down on his turnovers and plays like the 2015 No. 1 overall draft pick, there’s enough talent in New Orleans to compete at a high level. Plus, there’s always room for a sleeper team like the Cardinals to step up in the new year. The Bucs won’t just be able to sleepwalk through the NFC.

And, of course, if Tampa Bay can get through the NFC to play for the Lombardi Trophy again, it will meet a very good team on the other side. The AFC is quite stacked, with the Chiefs leading the way and the Bills, Ravens, Titans, Steelers and Browns right behind them looking to knock off the back-to-back AFC champs. Getting to Super Bowl LVI will be hard enough, but going on to win it is a completely different thing.

Of course, the good thing for this group of guys is that they’ll get a full training camp and preseason to prepare together. And unlike last season, they had some semblance of an offseason together. Not to mention, they played 20 games together last year. But as advantageous as all of that will be, things can still go wrong. In fact, plenty is bound to go wrong, and it’s possible that no one even knows where potential declines will happen. Does the offensive line perform to the same level as it did last year? Will Leonard Fournette be the same guy he was in the playoffs or will he be more like he was during the regular season? Will Ronald Jones II continue his upward trajectory or does he take a step back in 2021? Will the defense’s rise continue, or will there be more struggles than we’re projecting at this point?

The fact is, no one knows how the Bucs will perform when they take the field this fall. Of course, everyone has a good idea of what they’re capable of and we’re all expecting to see more of the same in terms of their ability to perform at a high level. But things can go wrong. Regression can kick in. And if it does, the difficult road back to the Super Bowl gets even tougher.

There’s no scheduling “cupcakes” as there may be in college football. That’s one of the most exciting things about the NFL, really. Any team is capable of winning on a given day. There’s a lot of parity in the league. So, yes, maybe the Bucs have an easy schedule based on records from last year and projections, but that doesn’t mean they’ll roll right through it. Plus, with a 17th game on the regular season schedule, that could add even more to the difficulty of the season. Every team will be in the same boat in terms of playing 17 regular season games for the first time, but for a team that played 20 games last year and has the potential for the famed “Super Bowl hangover,” adding another contest could prove to be a challenge, especially when that extra contest is a road game against the Indianapolis Colts, who have a chance to be a contender this year.

Looking at the schedule as we did in the “competition” section, there are some tough teams that the defending champs will see this fall. Opening with the Cowboys is a tough way to start the year. Going on the road to play the Rams and Patriots in back-to-back weeks will be a tough stretch. Playing the Saints twice will be no easy task. The Washington Football team, the Colts and the Bills are all going to be tough outs as well. There’s really no easy road to the Lombardi Trophy in any year, so it would be foolish to think the Bucs could just cruise through the regular season. The hope is obviously to win the NFC South and clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage, but that certainly won’t be easy. The playoffs are a different animal as well. It’s just not going to be easy for the Bucs, that’s for sure.

So, what do you think, Bucs Nation? What worries you about the team’s chances to repeat as champions in 2021? Do you feel like there’s more working for or against Tampa Bay in its quest to go for two? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.

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Tom Brady Says He 'Owes' It to His Family to Retire — But Plans to Continue Playing Until At Least 45

Yahoo Entertainment 22 July, 2021 - 06:02pm

Tom Brady isn't quite ready to throw in the towel on his NFL career, but his family is a big factor in his retirement timeline.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, 43, opened up in a recent interview about the "sacrifice" his career has cost his wife Gisele Bündchen, their children Benjamin, 11, and Vivian, 8, and his son John "Jack" Edward, 13, who he shares with ex Bridget Moynahan.

Brady said on Wednesday's episode of SiriusXM Town Hall, hosted by Jim Gray, that he wants to play until he's 45 years old before evaluating retirement. "Things change as you get older and there's a lot of different responsibilities I have in my life," he said.

"My kids and my family is certainly very important and they made a lot of sacrifice over a long period of time to watch me play. So, you know, I owe it to them, too," the athlete said.

RELATED: Tom Brady Reacts to Being Passed Up for Another Quarterback in Free Agency: 'That Motherf-----?'

The NFL veteran was drafted in 2000 and spent 19 years with the New England Patriots before making his Buccaneers debut in 2020.

"I play because I love the game. I play because I love to compete," Brady told Gray, 61. "We shouldn't stop our life, even though we love something because it's just, someone puts an arbitrary timeline on that."

He added, "And I felt for a long time, I could play until I was 45 years old. I think I committed to say, 'Hey, I'm going to play till I'm 45.' And this year I'll be 44, which naturally takes me to the next year. I've got a two-year contract. We'll see what happens beyond that."

Retirement has been the hot topic of discussion surrounding the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

Chris Graythen/Getty Tom Brady

RELATED: Gisele Bündchen Honors 'Loving and Caring' Tom Brady for Father's Day: 'We Are So Grateful'

After he led the Buccaneers to victory at the Super Bowl in February, his wife Bündchen asked, "What more do you have to prove?"

James Corden asked Brady about that moment during an episode of The Late Late Show in late June.

"It's hard to walk away from something that you still feel like you can do and you wanna do. It's not about proving it to others what you can do, it's more about proving it to yourself," he candidly admitted. "And I still feel like even though I'll be 44 for this year, I still have a chance to still prove to myself that I can still do it at 44 because I really worked to a point where I can still do it at this age."

Gisele/Instagram Tom Brady, Gisele Bündchen and family

RELATED: Tom Brady Wishes Wife Gisele Bündchen a Happy 41st Birthday: 'Hard to Imagine Loving You More'

In April, the quarterback touched on his support from Bündchen, whom he married in 2009, during an interview with Michael Strahan for Good Morning America.

"She's the one that, you know, supports the family and, at the end of the day, makes a lot of sacrifices," he said of his wife. "She brings out the best version of me."

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen

Brady similarly told PEOPLE back in 2018, while still playing for the New England Patriots, that he had his wife's support to continue playing.

"At the end of the day, she's been such a supportive wife, and been so supportive of my career," he said. "I think she wants me to continue to do what I love and continue taking care of myself and, you know, make sure I'm still really present for my kids when they need me and still available to everyone in the family because our kids aren't getting any younger."

The football player and supermodel celebrated 12 years of marriage in February

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