- Mar 20, 2019
No team has won consecutive Super Bowls since the Patriots in 2003 and 2004. The quarterback of that team is the quarterback of the next team that will try to do it. On Wednesday, Bucs quarterback Tom Brady explained to reporters the difficulty of winning back-to-back championships.
“I think the assumption [that it won’t be difficult] comes from the belief that it will just be exactly like it was last year,” Brady said. “I think that’s what you’ve got to not fall into is that, ‘Oh, this is the way it worked last year, so this is the way it will be this year.’ The reality is everything is different. The teams will approach you a little bit differently. You’re kind of the team everyone is watching now, so there are different degrees of expectation. There’s more external noise, there will be more people that will be wanting to come to games [and] more opportunities to do things outside of football. I think the reality is that you’ve got to stay focused on what’s really important. How do you improve? How do you get better from week to week, day to day? Improve your routine, improve your communication with your teammates [and] with your coaches. Not allow your mind to really fall into this position that you make this assumption that just because you did something in February that you’ll do it again next February because that’s not the reality of football – it’s way too competitive.
“Even the games we won last year were very razor-thin margins. One or two plays make the difference in every game. From how I feel about it and how [Bruce Arians] has talked about it with our team — he’s done a great job of keeping us focused, keeping the intensity there, allowing us to continue to work out together and communicate and make improvements that we need to make because I feel like we’re not finished projects. It was really our first opportunity to play together last year and there’s a lot of opportunity for us to grow into something that could be very different. We’ve got to improve the things that we did well, and we’ve got to certainly build on a lot of things that we didn’t do very well. All those things can be improved. I think that’s a commitment to a daily process of trying to improve. That just comes from working at it and we’ve got a lot of guys who like to do that — a very competitive group of guys.”
Brady’s right about the razor-thin margins, especially in the single-elimination setting. The Saints were poised to take a two-score second-half lead in the divisional round against Tampa Bay before safety Antoine Winfield Jr. ripped the ball out of the hands of tight end Jared Cook, sparking a dramatic change in momentum. And in the NFC Championship, Brady’s back-to-back-to-back second-half interceptions opened the door for the Packers to potentially steal the game.
Simms and I discussed that on a recent episode of PFT Live. How differently would the Buccaneers and Brady be viewed if the Packers had managed to parlay Brady’s meltdown into a win after falling behind 28-10 early in the third quarter? The Bucs would have had a very different offseason if the past several months had consisted not of trophy-tossing but soul searching. Would all of those starters have re-signed, or would they have wanted/needed a fresh start?
The point is that it very easily could have gone very differently for the Bucs last year. This year, it could go very differently than it did last year. Brady’s awareness of the potential pitfalls a year after winning a Super Bowl could help the Bucs avoid some of the problems that have kept every team since the 2003-04 Pats from repeating. Even then, it won’t be easy — as evidenced by the fact that, after seeing it happen eight times in the first 39 Super Bowls, no one has done it in nearly a generation.