Game On!…with Rob Kriete – JANUARY 6

Tom Brady in action

As a man well over forty, I still get out and exercise and play in adult softball leagues to keep it going. Several years ago, when I was 43 exact, I was invited to play in an adult flag football league. Flag football entails no tackling, just grabbing some flags from an opponent’s belt. The mornings after these no-contact games, I would wake up feeling like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz who had been left out in the rain to rust. Everything would hurt and it was difficult to move.

As I continue to drink from the Fountain of Middle-Age, the Buccaneers have a 43-year-old quarterback who has a record season for the franchise and is now leading Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.  Brady finished his first season in Tampa Bay with a franchise-record 40 passing touchdowns to go along with 4,633 yards, which rank as the second-most in a single season in team history. Brady’s 102.2 passer rating in 2020 is the highest single-season mark in Bucs team history. His 40 passing touchdowns surpassed Peyton Manning (37 in 2012 with Denver) for the most by a player in his first season with a team, while his 4,633 passing yards are the second-most by a player in his first season with a team.

Brady finished the 2020 NFL regular season tied for second in passing touchdowns and third in passing yards. He was the only quarterback this season to finish inside the top three in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. As a team, the Buccaneers finished third in scoring, fourth in passing offense, and seventh in total offense. The 492 points scored, 59 total touchdowns, and 42 passing touchdowns by Tampa Bay this season all set new franchise records.

Tampa Bay Buccs QB Tom Brady

To cap this season, in a 44-27 win versus Atlanta, Brady completed 26-of-41 passes for 399 yards and four touchdowns, recording a 117.8 passer rating. His 399 passing yards were the second-most by any player in the final week of the 2020 regular season while his four passing touchdowns tied for the most. The NFL named Brady the FedEx Air Player of the Week for Week 17, marking the 12th time Brady has won this award in his career and the second time with the Buccaneers.

Clearly, the Fountain of Youth that Tom Brady drinks from is no secret-lots of hard work, discipline, and an intense drive to be the best he can be. In one season, Tom Brady has broken numerous records for the Buccaneers. Now it is time for Tom to get his Game On for the playoffs!

Thank you to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the use of the photos in this column.

Be safe, everyone.