Tom Brady, speaking on just two hours of sleep after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl triumph, says the COVID-19 restrictions in place during the NFL season actually provided him with an ideal base to improve and perfect his craft at the age of 43.
Given the many protocols in place to limit the spread of the virus, Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl title on Sunday, took full advantage of the opportunity to ramp up his already tireless work ethic and insatiable dedication .
“In a unique way it was kind of like, with the coronavirus situation and all the protocols, it was really like ‘football for junkies’,” Brady told a video news conference on Monday.
“There was not really a lot of other things to do other than show up to work and play football.”
Brady joined the Buccaneers last March after 20 years and six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots but had little time to get to know his new teammates before the season began last September.
Brady’s transition to a new team was not made any easier given the absence of an NFL pre-season schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic – but the extra time to study the Bucs’ playbook paid off.
A laser-focused Brady, already widely considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time, turned around the Buccaneers franchise and led them to their first Super Bowl appearance since the team won their maiden title in January 2003.
In the NFL’s championship game, Brady completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl for a fifth time.
“Normally there is a lot of other things that go along with playing football,” said Brady.
“So if you love football, this was the year to be a player in the NFL because that’s all it was. It was like football camp with all your buddies year-round so I really enjoyed that part.”
Meanwhile, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says he is confident the core of his Super Bowl-winning team will remain intact for next season despite a number of key players who will be eligible for free agency.
The Buccaneers will need to get creative in order to hang onto players with expiring contracts while also staying within the NFL’s spending limits per club.
“I’m very confident,” Arians said during a video news conference on Monday when asked if the Bucs will be able to return next season with mostly the same team.
“These guys, they have a bond. There will be dollars involved, but I think this group is so, so close that sometimes dollars don’t matter,” he said.
“But we’re going to do everything we can to get the dollars right, too, because they earned it.”