TAMPA ― As Tom Brady watched the Rams beat the Bengals in Super Bowl 56, it was no surprise to him why the team that eliminated the Bucs from the playoffs won the Lombardi Trophy.
It went for it.
The biggest move was the trade for quarterback Matthew Stafford, adding him to a talented team that included Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. But what put the Rams over the top, according to Brady, was the addition of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and edge rusher Von Miller.
“You’re just trying to find the right mix of guys and the right team with the right attitude and the right desire and determination to get over the hump, and I think Matt found that in the Rams and they found that in Matt,” Brady said Monday on his final Let’s Go! podcast of the season.
“Matt is a very talented quarterback, and he went to a very competitive organization where you have Aaron Donald there and you had Jalen Ramsey, and I know those guys are very competitive. Sean McVay, who is a great young coach. And then they bring in the same year, they bring in Odell. They go all in with Odell. He has a great first quarter and a half in that game. And they go and trade for Von Miller.
People think their time will come, but the reality is you’ve got to do the work to put yourself into position to win a Super Bowl, Brady said. “You’ve got to go for it.”
“These things are really hard to earn,” he said. “You can’t buy them. You’ve got to go earn them. And when you watch the Rams’ approach, you know, they could go the other way, but it’s not from lack of effort. That’s an organization that’s determined to go out there and win Super Bowls, and I have a lot of respect for that.”
The Bucs certainly went for it during Brady’s first season in Tampa Bay, trading for Rob Gronkowski, claiming running back Leonard Fournette and signing receiver Antonio Brown after his eight-game suspension. All three players caught touchdowns from Brady in the Bucs’ 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 a year ago.
But the 2021 season was different. Brown got injured and then was suspended for obtaining a fake vaccination card. He returned for one game and caught 10 passes for 110 yards in a win over the Panthers. The next week, he refused to re-enter the game in the second half against the Jets and was released.
Beckham was available while Brown was injured, but coach Bruce Arians passed on him. Outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul was playing with a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and a fractured finger and not producing.
Meanwhile, the Rams traded a second- and third-round pick to the Broncos for Miller, who had two sacks in the Super Bowl.
Brady knew how effective Miller was first-hand. The Bucs quarterback was hit 17 times in the 30-27 loss to the Rams in the division playoff game, and Miller delivered nine of them, including a sack and forced fumble.
Brady said he has been out of the country but still watched the Super Bowl. He said it took him back to his days growing up in California watching the 49ers.
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“When the Niners won the Super Bowl, I would go out and bang pots and pans up and down El Camino Real in San Mateo, I was so excited,” he said. “Because I played in it, you kind of lose the sense of the perspective of the game.
“... This game, yeah, I was bummed I wasn’t playing, but at the same time I was happy for the guys that were playing that got to live out their dreams in front of the whole world. ... ..I just kind of enjoyed watching these guys fight for something they worked hard to achieve.”
Brady said it was difficult watching two other teams play. But he said he remains at peace with his decision to retire.
“I’m super content and happy with how I feel in my decision,” Brady said. “All you can do is take it day by day. Nothing is promised for us. I’m going to do things that I really enjoy and spend time with people that I really enjoy spending time with. The future is bright. I look forward to the opportunities that are ahead.”
Last week, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated told Rich Eisen of the NFL Network he believes that if Brady returns to the NFL, it will not be with the Bucs. He indicated Brady wasn’t happy with how things unfolded at the end of the season.
“I think if Brady comes back, it’s with another team,” Breer said. “Brady loves the guys he worked with. Loves (general manager) Jason Licht, loves Bruce Arians, loves (offensive coordinator) Byron Leftwich. But I do think that there were little things that frustrated him there having come from this tight-knit operation he came from for 20 years (in New England) that’s perfect situationally ... that knows how to handle everything that is so big, buttoned-down and businesslike.
“I think that there were things as far as the way, like. from in-game things to, like, the handling of the Antonio Brown situation, that I think over time started to get to him a little bit. So I don’t think he’s coming back as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.”
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