Quarterback Tom Brady deflated Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s units many times before coming to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I know the kind of team they are and what they’re capable of,” Brady said per Tampa Bay Times reporter Joe Knight. “Really talented defense, really well-coached.”
Brady won eight-straight games against Pettine-led defenses, dating back to their AFC East days. That streak includes two wins over Pettine’s Packers defenses in 2018 and 2020. Brady hasn’t lost to a team with a Pettine-led defense since 2011.
Besides a chance to make history on Sunday, Brady may have extra motivation in facing a Pettine defense per WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. Pettine had a strong reaction in 2015 to the Deflatgate scandal report after Brady allegedly had footballs deflated for the second half of the 2014 AFC Championship game. The Patriots steamrolled the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in that game. Pettine was coaching in Cleveland at the time.
“I didn’t have much of a reaction,” Pettine said per Hannable. “Nothing is surprising. He’s one of the best ever and it would be a shame to tarnish that. I guess we’ll see how it plays out. I’ve always had a lot of respect for him, but also I lose a lot of respect for people who cheat.”
Since Brady has only continued to succeed with another two Super Bowl wins and his latest conference championship game on Sunday. The Deflategate scandal only lost air, too, with the documentary “Four Games in Fall” per Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel.
Brady and company now hope to take the air out of the Packers defense for the Bucs’ first Super Bowl in 18 years and to become the first team ever to play in its home stadium for the Super Bowl.
In just one postseason with the Bucs, Brady already owns a few franchise postseason records per Knight. Brady could become the all-time playoff leader in passing yards touchdowns for the Bucs.
There’s one piece of history Brady would like to avoid — the most career losses in conference championship games per ESPN Stats and Info. Brady has a 9-4 mark, but four losses is the most, tied with two other all-time greats.
Brady will pocket some extra change if he can lead the Bucs past the Packers on Sunday per ESPN’s Adm Schefter. The Bucs quarterback will earn another $500,000 with the win.
Schefter noted that Brady already earned $1.25 million this postseason. Brady signed a two-year $50 million dollar contract with the Bucs in March 2020 after two decades in New England.
Brady and the Bucs departed on Saturday for Green Bay with fans coming out send off the Bucs from a safe distance per WTSP’s Grace Remington.
The Bucs could have some fans at Lambeau Field on Sunday as the Packers will allow 6,500 fans into the stadium per Packers.com. Green Bay can still get loud with the small crowd as the fans displayed in the Divisional Round according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Richard Ryman.
Tampa will need to overcome the crowd and the NFC’s top seed in becoming the fifth Wild Card team to win three games on the road to reach the Super Bowl — and celebrate it with a dozen or more Bucs fans upon return.