Tom Brady’s lucky seventh ring took the most skill

In+Nickelodeon%27s+coverage+of+the+Super+Bowl%2C+special+effects+were+implemented+to+make+the+game+appeal+to+younger+audiences.+Tom+Brady+appears+to+be+a+Super+Saiyan+on+the+sidelines+during+the+Buccaneers%27+31-9+win+in+Super+Bowl+55.

Graphic by Nickelodeon

In Nickelodeon’s coverage of the Super Bowl, special effects were implemented to make the game appeal to younger audiences. Tom Brady appears to be a Super Saiyan on the sidelines during the Buccaneers’ 31-9 win in Super Bowl 55.

Jotham Israel, Sports Editor

Usually when sports seasons end, nobody really talks about it until the next season starts, but in football, even after seasons end with a champion crowned, there is always a major storyline for fans to pay attention to. A prime example of this is the NFL.

Super Bowl 55 may have been “way back” on Feb. 7, but it’s going to be talked about forever, and it’s not because it was a great game that went down to the wire. It’s because one man silenced all of his doubters once again, and that man is none other than Tom Brady.

There were a lot of people who thought Tom Brady was washed, who thought he couldn’t win a Super Bowl outside of New England, who thought he should’ve retired, but guess what? He came through and got his seventh ring. In my opinion, this is his most impressive championship yet, and here’s why.

Coming into this season, there was a lot of hype centering around Patrick Mahomes, who is off to the greatest start that the NFL has ever seen from a QB. The stats he puts up are insane, he makes the Kansas City Chiefs a nightmare to try to stop and the way he came back and won Super Bowl 54 against the San Francisco 49ers made him a young legend with a bright future.

And while Mahomes was getting all the praise, what about Brady? Well, he and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers got off to a slow start, and every single time the Bucs lost a game, they had to hear about how Brady should hang up the cleats.

In the first game of the season, the New Orleans Saints beat the Bucs, and some hit the panic button on Brady thinking that he wasn’t going to go anywhere in Tampa Bay. People didn’t understand that Brady had to operate during a pandemic with no preseason. It was most likely going to take time for the Bucs to gel as a team, and the Saints basically had the same core as they did last year, so they had an easier time just getting out there and playing football.

The Bucs showed promise as they won three straight after the season-opening loss, but then they ran into the Chicago Bears and somehow lost the game. Again, the naysayers gave Brady an earful, but this time, they made fun of him for two different reasons: He lost to back-up quarterback Nick Foles for the second time and he apparently thought it was third down when he threw an incomplete pass deep over the middle, but it was actually fourth down, and the Bears got the ball back, ran out the clock and won the game.

Brady was the victim of a meme when he confusingly held up four fingers thinking it was fourth down, and he was criticized for not knowing what down it was in a situation where thrives in; game on the line, two-minute drill, field goal wins it. The Bucs bumped down to 3-2 after the loss, and they clearly showed that their team was still a work in progress.

In their very next game against the undefeated Packers, the Buccaneers showed major signs of progress. Simply put, Green Bay got whooped! The Packers went up 10-0, and that was it for them. The 38-10 victory gave the Bucs confidence that they were on the right track, and then they went on to win three straight after a loss again.

That set them up at 6-2 going into a crucial rematch against the Saints, but now it was the Bucs’ turn to get whooped. In a game that got major hype because of Tom Brady and Drew Brees, Brady played arguably the worst game of his career, and he threw no touchdowns and three interceptions while only mustering up three points for the whole game. The Brady slander was at its peak, and the Saints pretty much put the NFC South out of reach for the Bucs in that 38-3 beatdown.

Tampa Bay regrouped by beating the Carolina Panthers, but they were approaching a two-game homestand that would tell us if they were ready to compete for a Super Bowl or not. The first game was against the Los Angeles Rams, and the Bucs offense was decent in the first half, but stagnant in the second half. However, they tied the game at 24 with a touchdown in the middle of the fourth quarter, and then they had the ball down by three going into the two-minute drill again in primetime… And Tom Brady threw a game-losing interception, prompting more Brady slander to bust through the door.

So now Brady has lost two games in crunch time, and they were both kind of his fault. That’s something that we’re not used to seeing from him, and his haters knew it, so they pounced on it while they could. Everyone was losing faith in the Bucs, and they weren’t in a good spot because they had to turn around six days later and host the defending Super Bowl champs in the Chiefs in their second game of that crucial homestand.

In the first half, it got ugly. Brady’s offense struggled, and the Chiefs quickly built a 17-0 lead. The Bucs actually almost pulled off a comeback, but they still lost 27-24. The Chiefs were glorified because Mahomes threw for 462 yards and three touchdowns, all going to Tyreek Hill, who caught 13 passes for 269 yards. Brady threw two interceptions, and now we have entered the GOAT debate.

Mahomes outplaying Brady in a regular season game doesn’t make him the GOAT, but the talks were heating up anyway because the Chiefs looked unbeatable while the Bucs were sitting at 7-5 just fighting for a spot in the Wild Card. However, the strength of their schedule diminished mightily at the right time.

They beat the Minnesota Vikings, beat the Atlanta Falcons twice and because I respect the Detroit Lions, I’ll just say the Bucs beat the Lions. Just like that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to the playoffs as the fifth seed. If they wanted to go back home and play in the Super Bowl instead of watching it, they had to win three road games.

Their opponent in the Wild Card was the Washington Football Team, a team that endured a major franchise overhaul. The franchise QB was released because he wasn’t a franchise QB, they had their name changed because it was deemed offensive and they had to start their fourth different quarterback in the playoffs. 

However, through all of that madness, Taylor Heinicke put up a great fight against the the Bucs and even had the ball in crunch time with a chance to tie the game, but the Bucs defense stopped them and won the game 31-23. Many people were not convinced by the win because they cut it close against a 7-9 division champion, but Tampa Bay didn’t have Devin White, a key part of their defense.

Regardless of the style, the Buccaneers punched their tickets back to where their season began for yet another rematch against the NFC South champion Saints in the Divisional round. Remember how Brady got slandered both times he lost to the Saints? Well, I like to say, “If you talk smack now, you’ll get smacked later” , and after the Saints jabbed and uppercutted the Bucs in the regular season, they got knocked out of the postseason by a hook from that Buccaneers defense.

30-20 is a score that doesn’t justify how amazing that Bucs defense was. The Saints were held to 294 total yards of offense and turned the ball over four times, including three Drew Brees interceptions. When playing against Tom Brady, giving him extra chances has proven to be the main reason why he wins some of these games. Tampa Bay got 21 points off of turnovers, and though Brady only threw for 199 yards, he still took care of the football the entire game.

Now we’re set for ANOTHER Bucs rematch. This time they went to Green Bay to play the Packers in Lambeau Field, a place where many people fail to win playoff games. Every Packers was excited to finally see Aaron Rodgers play the NFC Championship game at home, but home field advantage doesn’t automatically win you playoff games.

Tom Brady had a roller coaster of a game. He started off hot, converting third downs left and right, throwing an insane touchdown to Scotty Miller and leading a Bucs offense that was really grooving, especially after they cashed in a touchdown on a Green Bay fumble to put them up 28-10. The game looked done for. Tom Brady, the comeback king, with an 18-point lead? No way the Packers come back, right? Well, it got scary.

After throwing three touchdowns, Brady gifted the Packers not one, not two, but three consecutive interceptions, two of those coming in the fourth quarter of all quarters. Luckily, the Bucs defense didn’t fold and made the Packers go three-and-out after the last two picks. After that, the rest is history. Rodgers doesn’t scramble for the endzone on third and goal, Matt LaFleur decided to kick a field goal and trust a defense that has a bad habit of choking in NFC Championship games to stop Tom Brady from getting a first down rather than just going for it on fourth and goal, Kevin King has one more highlight against him, the Bucs run out the clock and boom! The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the first team to ever play a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

Fast forward two weeks, and here the Buccaneers are, face-to-face with the last rematch, the most important game of the year against a familiar and unforgettable foe. Patrick Mahomes and the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. Same place, slightly different time, completely different atmosphere and a lot more than just the Lombardi trophy on the line.

Everybody was talking about Patrick Mahomes potentially being the next GOAT and possibly surpassing Brady in the future. That was literally the main storyline of the Super Bowl! People were talking a lot more about Brady vs. Mahomes than Chiefs vs. Buccaneers because of the legacies the two quarterbacks came into the game with. If Mahomes wins, the GOAT debate is on its way to getting real. If Brady wins, he is the undisputed GOAT and Mahomes would need to do a whole lot more than just win seven Super Bowls to surpass him.

Now Brady has had legendary moments in the Super Bowl. He was an underdog against the greatest show on turf in the St. Louis Rams, but he beat them by defying John Madden’s analysis and driving down the field for the Super-Bowl-winning field goal that kicked off the Patriots dynasty. He also came back from down 25 points in the middle of the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in what was just an insane comeback.

So what crunch time magic did Tom Brady have under his sleeves for this Super Bowl? Well, uh, the sleeves weren’t for pulling out miracles. They were there for him to roll up while he beat down the Chiefs like the nerd in a movie that everybody underestimates and makes fun of until he knocks out the super popular bully in a fight after three o’clock. Let’s be real. Tom Brady took all of his doubters to school. While his Super Bowl 55 win against the Chiefs wasn’t nearly as nail-biting as you’d expect a Tom Brady Super Bowl to be, that capped off his greatest achievement in his career.

The fun facts are insane. Not only does Brady have more Super Bowls than any other franchise in the NFL, including the six that he gave the Patriots, but in his first season with a new team during a pandemic with no preseason and having to hear about how he should pass the torch to Mahomes, he delivered a Super Bowl to a Buccaneers franchise that easily has the lowest winning percentage of any NFL franchise at .393, hadn’t been to the playoffs in 11 years and hadn’t even won a playoff game since they won their first Super Bowl 15 days after I started breathing and living on this planet.

Some may say that talking about Tom Brady being the greatest football player ever a few weeks after he runs the table and wins his seventh Super Bowl is irrelevant, but they probably don’t understand that this situation with Brady and Mahomes is similar to what basketball fans deal with when they debate LeBron James against Michael Jordan.

If that basketball GOAT talk is relevant all the time, then of course the football GOAT talk will be relevant all the time. Brady first beat Mahomes in that legendary 2019 AFC Championship game, and then he turned around and cemented his GOAT status by beating Mahomes again in the Super Bowl. LeBron and MJ played in two completely different time periods and never saw each other on the court as NBA players. Mahomes and Brady have played against each other five times, including twice in the postseason, and Brady beat him both times in the two biggest stages of the game!

At the end of the day, Tom Brady is the GOAT, and if he retired right now, which he definitely isn’t going to do, winning Super Bowl 55 is his greatest achievement in his football career. It will be a long, long time before we see another 43-year-old starting quarterback win the Super Bowl like he did.

I will leave all of the sports fans out there with this. Tom Brady has taught us that you shouldn’t count people out when they have great abilities and have shown time and time again that they always come out on top no matter what. When a person prematurely doubts another person because they only use their own opinions and not the facts, the doubter ends up being salty when he or she is proven wrong. Greatness has no limits when it comes to relevance, and if a guy has a documented history of being great, no conversation involving him will ever be irrelevant.