If Tom Brady and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose at the start of the NFL playoffs, it could have been the last game for the most successful quarterback in league history. But Brady has a good chance of progressing against the Cowboys.
Some may not want to hear it anymore. But if the greatest quarterback in NFL history could play the final playoff game of his career, that’s just headline-worthy: Tom Brady vs. the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night.
In the spotlight at Raymond James Stadium, it might be The Last Dance. Because what happens to him after this season is completely uncertain.
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This game can’t get a bigger stage. The G.O.A.T. against America’s Team. The Dallas Cowboys are among the best teams in the NFL this year.
With twelve regular-season wins, they still only finished second in their division, which is why they now have to play away in Tampa, Florida.
The Buccaneers, on the other hand, didn’t even manage a positive record and still made it into the playoffs as divisional champions in a weak NFC South. As a reward, Tampa now gets a home game against Dallas.
The fairness can certainly be argued here, but the 8:9 balance is above all an indicator of the current performance of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady compared to previous years. In 22 seasons as a regular starter for his teams, the future Hall of Famer has never had a negative record.
Brady has only had nine wins once, narrowly missing out on a losing season – and that was more than 20 years ago.
Critics are therefore right to ask the question to what extent the dominant quarterback of the last two decades can still carry a team and do better or whether Tom Brady also needs more support from his teammates at the end of his career?
Because his offensive line did not help him, after admittedly many injury-related absences, to raise his fast short passing game.
When even seasoned receivers like Mike Evans began not to process the simplest passes from Brady, even participation in the playoffs was briefly in danger. It would be the first NFL playoffs without Tom Brady in 14 years.
Back then, an injury kept him from playing in the postseason. A healthy Tom Brady only missed the playoffs at the end of the 2003 season.
And just before the end of the season, Tom Brady and his men are back on track. Mike Evans caught three touchdowns for 207 yards in Week 17 against the Carolina Panthers. The clear victory made the entry into the playoffs perfect, which meant that Brady’s veterans were even able to watch large parts of the game from the bench on the last day of the game.
The defense also presents itself in a better light. Anthony Nelson, Sean Murphy-Bunting and Keanu Neal contributed key turnovers to the season-ending successes. The focus of this part of the team came at exactly the right time.
Brady will swear in his men. Because with the playoffs, the season starts again from scratch and the G.O.A.T. had to learn in his career that a supposed underdog can win the Super Bowl.
He himself was once pushed off the throne by the New York Giants after a perfect season without a loss in the Super Bowl, when they had previously qualified for the postseaon at the last minute. Quarterback Eli Manning brought the legend to perhaps the greatest triumph of his career.
But it’s experiences like these that sharpen Tom Brady’s view of the coming weeks. He knows it only takes a few games to make it to the Super Bowl again. He would trade the special feeling of standing in the stadium on a final day for anything in the world.
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He will share his thoughts and experiences from a long career with his fellow players. The team will be highly motivated going into the playoffs.
With the Dallas Cowboys, however, a heavyweight from this season awaits in the wild cards. However, a heavyweight that has recently revealed major weaknesses itself. The defense of the cowboys around linebacker Micah Parsons is far from the dominance of the first half of the season, quarterback Dak Prescott makes far too many bad passes – and the running game around Tony Pollard and Zeke Elliott is wobbling.
Most recently, Dallas made a very embarrassing gossip to the Washington Commanders reservists. And this despite the fact that the cowboys themselves lined up with the starters in hopes of winning the NFC. Just a few weeks earlier, head coach Mike McCarthy’s team in Jacksonville botched a game and thus proved what is probably the biggest problem of the season: the enormous inconsistency.
And: Against the Buccaneers, the Cowboys looked old in Week 1 of this season and went under completely at home in Texas. So if Tom Brady carries the mood of the last few weeks into the game against Dallas, it can be enough to win against an actually superior opponent.
So the “last dance” can last a few more rounds before the band plays the last song. However, if it’s the final track, it may have been Brady’s final appearance in the NFL. At least in the Buccaneers jersey.
The original of this post “Tom Brady’s last game? Anyone who writes off the NFL icon makes a big mistake” comes from touchdown24.de.