For being over the hill in NFL years, Tom Brady proved he wouldn’t “fall off a cliff” into “Florida’s quarterbacking graveyard” this past season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback posted a hype video on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday, showing 2020 season highlights amid media naysayers commentary, headlines, and Tweets. As Brady mentioned on Instagram, he “kept all the receipts” and wrote, “never let them define you!”
Brady ultimately proved the naysayers wrong in leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7. He captured his seventh Lombardi Trophy and fifth Super Bowl MVP — more than anyone in NFL history. It capped a season where he threw the second-most touchdowns of his career in a season, 40, and threw for 4,633 yards.
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Debunking Cliff Theory
Brady really spent his career proving naysayers wrong from the time he waited until the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft to get selected by the New England Patriots.
Instead of becoming a career backup behind former Pro Bowl Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, Brady took advantage of his playing time after Bledsoe’s injury in 2001 and went on to lead the Patriots to the first of six Super Bowl titles in 20 seasons. Before Brady won his last two Super Bowls, ESPN’s Max Kellerman said in 2016 that “Brady is going to fall off a cliff” in production, a comment referenced at the end of Brady’s video on Wednesday.
Kellerman made his latest admission of being wrong on his take in January before Brady won his third Super Bowl since the Kellerman 2016 take.
Media criticism never went away for Brady as he showed signs of decline in 2019 with the Patriots, capped a game-sealing pick six in the Wild Card round. Brady’s 2020 departure from the Patriots to Tampa Bay only stoked the media pundits’ criticism.
The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi called Brady’s destination “Florida’s quarterbacking graveyard” as Brady highlighted in his video.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t have a glorious past of elite quarterbacks, especially amid its 18-year playoff win drought, Bianchi wrote. Bianchi didn’t see the move benefitting Brady.
Tampa Bay owned the worst winning percentage in NFL history. Even with stars such as longtime Patriots teammate Rob Gronkowski joining Brady, the Bucs couldn’t jell during a pandemic-ridden offseason.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan felt confident in a Week 1 against the Bucs.
“C’mon ay, he’s a week away from a little arthritis baby, give it to him,” Jordan said mic’d up in Brady’s video.
The Bucs lost their opener 34-23 to the Saints as Brady threw two interceptions. Tampa regrouped to post a 6-2 record at midseason but stumbled to 7-5. Headlines and critical commentary of Brady ensued, especially for his struggles on deep throws and apparent tensions with head coach Bruce Arians.
“Forget the Super Bowl, Tom Brady might not make it to the playoffs,” wrote The Boston Globe in Brady’s video.
Brady and company pulled it together after a late-November loss to the Chiefs and won eight straight to win Super Bowl LV. During that stretch, Brady threw 22 touchdown passes and four interceptions.
Brady kept receipts for teammates Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette, too.
Gronkowski took his share of criticism from the media such as Fox News’ headline “Rob Gronkowski fails to deliver in Buccaneers debut” per Brady’s video. The four-time All-Pro tight end caught seven touchdowns in the regular season and a couple in the Super Bowl.
It didn’t start well either for Brown, the Bucs’ free-agent acquisition in October. The Bucs faltered 38-3 against the Saints in his debut, and the Tampa Bay Times’ headline read “While the Bucs make a thud, Antonio Brown barely makes a splash” in Brady’s video. Brown, also a four-time All-Pro, turned it up in December and beyond with six touchdown catches, including one in the Big Game.
Brady also referenced a fan Tweet calling running back Fournette “washed up” in the video. Fournette, who played in a limited role much of the season, exploded at playoff time with 448 total yards and four touchdowns. He shut the door on the Chiefs in the Super Bowl with his rushing touchdown for a 28-9 lead.
Brady now turns his attention to winning an eighth Super Bowl whether or not he will find more receipts to keep.