When Tom Brady made the almost unthinkable move from his legendary status as a New England Patriot for a fresh start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was the talk of the NFL.
Brady, the most decorated quarterback in league history, had nothing left to prove. At 43 years of age, he was the owner of six Super Bowl rings and could have very well ridden off in the sunset as a Patriot. Perhaps to a career in broadcasting or spending his days on the golf course.
But the fire to compete still burned in Tom Brady. So he took his talents to Tampa, and he even brought a few friends along with him.
Joined by his former Pats partner Rob Gronkowski at tight end, Brady was stepping into an already talented Buccaneers' offense, spearheaded by skill players like wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end O.J. Howard.
There was immediate speculation of just how much the addition of Tom Brady could add. Did he still have enough gas left in the tank to fuel the underachieving Bucs for a long drive in the postseason? Would he find his comfort zone in coach Bruce Arians' offense?
And most importantly... Would Tampa hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII ?
NFL Week 8: Tom Brady got off to a slow start this season
To be honest, things didn't click right away. Tom Brady and the Bucs dropped the season opener to division rival New Orleans, 34-23. And even after they bounced back to defeat Carolina in Week 2, there were grumblings that Brady may have been regretting his decision to continue his career in Florida.
"Execution was a little bit better. I think we still are a long ways from where we need to be," Brady said at the time. "I think we have the ability to make plays. I think consistency, dependability are gonna be things that we really need."
"We've gotta get back to work."
The Buccaneers (5-2) have really found their rhythm since then, and heading in to tonight's contest with the Giants (1-6) on "Monday Night Football," they have a chance to showcase to a national audience just how much they've gelled.
NFL Week 8: Tom Brady, Bucs meet Giants on 'MNF'
Tampa has posted two straight victories of 20 or more points, including a 45-20 blowout of the Raiders last week. And as they reach the halfway point of the season, it seems like all the wrinkles that once concerned Tom Brady are starting to be smoothed out.
The Bucs will have more help on the way, too, thanks to their signing of controversial wide receiver Antonio Brown, another Tom Brady ally. (Brown won't be eligible to play in Week 8, as he serves the final week of a suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct rules.)
In all fairness, this shouldn't be much of a challenge for Tampa Bay, as the G-Men have been one of the worst teams in the league. However, with so many questions finally being answered about Brady and his new team, it's still a showdown that they can't look past.
Tonight is their opportunity to take the lead in the NFC South and eliminate any doubts on if they are a true title contender with a convincing victory. This is a game that this potential powerhouse should win easily, and make a statement on Monday night:
That the super team they've assembled has all that it takes to win a Super Bowl.Published 03 Nov 2020, 02:51 IST