football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart

Did Buccaneers Give Blueprint for Guaranteed Success?

  • Carmen Vitali
  • May 27, 2022
  • Share

In 2020, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in the biggest free agent in NFL history under center and surrounded him with other established free agents and players. They won the Super Bowl that season.

A year later, the Los Angeles Rams brought in a (decent-sized) free agent under center and surrounded him with other established free agents and players. They won the Super Bowl that season.

This offseason, we have seemingly seen more veteran and top free-agent movement than ever before, with an entire division loading up on proven talent to keep pace with each other. It’s left me wondering for a while now… did the Buccaneers provide the blueprint for near-guaranteed success in the NFL?

This is, of course, contingent on the team already having some degree of talent. The Buccaneers were on an upward climb, bringing in Head Coach Bruce Arians for the 2019 season and boasting talents like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on offense and guys like Lavonte David and Vita Vea on defense. Not to mention, the league’s sack leader in 2019 in Shaq Barrett, who tallied 19.5 sacks that season. 

With the defense leading the way, the Buccaneers needed just two things: consistency and validation. Add ‘Mr. Consistency’ to Tom Brady’s myriad nicknames and with him, came the validation that they were a team in which to believe. 

Build it and they will come, right?

And they did. Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to join his buddy ol’ pal Brady. Running back Leonard Fournette joined the ‘Krewe’ along with veteran Shady McCoy, who added more championship experience acting as a sort of player-coach for the young ‘backs in the room. There was also the Antonio Brown addition, which benefited the team in the postseason. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh re-signed. In fact, the Buccaneers brought back their entire dominating front seven on defense and all of a sudden, we were staring at perhaps the league’s most complete team.

It paid off. 

Despite some bumps along the way, dropping the first game of the season to the New Orleans Saints and at one point finding themselves in a 7-5 hole before their Week 13 bye week, the Buccaneers finished out the season on a four-game win streak and rode it all the way to Super Bowl LV. 

The experience of those proven veterans on the roster was invaluable along the way. There were guys who had been in those down-and-out situations and instead of being out, came out the other side. It was part of that ‘X’ factor championship teams have. There’s no doubt in my mind.

And if there was a doubt, it was erased when the Rams followed a similar strategy en route to their Super Bowl LVI victory. They traded quarterback Jared Goff for Matthew Stafford in a move, admittedly, more highly debated than the Brady acquisition (though it clearly paid off). They also signed veteran receiver DeSean Jackson, added Odell Beckham Jr. halfway through the season, brought in Sony Michel to help on the ground offensively and re-signed pass rusher Leonard Floyd. The Rams had already built a roster that had Jalen Ramsey leading the secondary and Aaron Donald leading the charge up front on defense and had receivers like Cooper Kupp to immediately help the newly arrived Stafford. Essentially, the Rams got over the hump by adding (or keeping) veteran and proven players.

Fast forward to this topsy-turvy offseason where we’ve seen the biggest free agents flock to the AFC. Teams like the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders and Buffalo Bills all made huge splash signings in the hopes of getting over the aforementioned proverbial hump.

The Broncos were probably the farthest away in terms of talent but arguably made the biggest move by trading for quarterback Russell Wilson. The Chargers loaded up on defense, trading for veteran pass rusher Khalil Mack and signing cornerback J.C. Jackson to complement a high-powered offense with a bright, young quarterback. The Raiders gave Derek Carr Agent 0, reuniting him with his former college teammate, Davante Adams, who also happens to be one of the best receivers in the league. And oh yeah, remember when the Bills signed veteran defensive end Von Miller to a six-year, $120 million deal?

If you think about it though, it makes sense. Excuse the cliché but the NFL is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ league that demands almost instant returns. No one has the patience for teams to sit there and develop young prospects. Not to mention, coaching tenure is shorter. Fans and ownership have less of a tolerance for waiting and more of a voice than ever before. Call it a symptom of a society as a whole that expects instant gratification but it’s just a reality at this point.

So, in this era of NFL football, and sports in general, the Buccaneers gave in and went all in. It paid off, and for that matter, has continued to pay off as they’ll enter their third year with Brady at the helm and their team largely unchanged. Because of that, and the Rams after them and now the AFC West after them, this may be the new path to success in the NFL that will continue to be emulated for seasons (and offseasons) to come.