The helmet might have been different but the vintage performance when it counted most definitely was the same.
The first-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback helped dispatch the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on his home field by throwing for a modest 201 yards, while completing 21-of-29 passes with three touchdowns.
Brady’s seventh Super Bowl title came with his fifth MVP award.
“They’re all special; it’s been an amazing year,” Brady said. “Just really proud of all the guys, proud of all the coaches, the effort we put in tonight.
“If you want to get this far you’ve got to get the job done. We did it.”
“I’m coming back.” – @TomBrady#SBLV | @Buccaneers https://t.co/P7gl5xMf76
— NFL (@NFL) 1612755178000
A sixth MVP still remains a possibility. Brady might be turning 44 in August, but he was feeling far too spirited during the postgame celebration to think this might end anytime soon.
“Yeah, we’re coming back,” he said after the game.
The Bucs’ victory already was starting to come to light in the first half. Brady threw his second touchdown pass to old friend Rob Gronkowski by the midway point of the second quarter for a 14-3 lead. He added another TD pass to Antonio Brown just before halftime.
“Big-time players making big-time plays,” Brady said. “Love what they added to the team. Gronk is an unbelievable player, teammate, talent, leader.”
He knew what to do from there. His methodical and error-free second half mirrored his season-long performance for a franchise that got everything they could have ever hoped from the newcomer.
“He’s a winner, man,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said in a postgame interview. “That’s all you can say. He brought a winning mentality to a really talented football team that didn’t know how to win.”
Brady became the second player to win a Super Bowl for two franchises, following the lead of Peyton Manning.
Some wondered if he could win it all again at age 43. The way Brady saw it, 20 years of experience over 301 regular-season games and 44 playoff games offered him the knowledge to navigate the unknowns on the NFL’s biggest stage.
Brady passed for just 61 yards after halftime, throwing just nine times, while completing five of those passes. He worked on the clock as much, if not more than, the Chiefs’ defense in the second half. The Buccaneers ran the ball 19 times after halftime and the defense brought it home from there.
“He kept faith in us this whole season,” said Tampa Bay running back Leonard Fournette, who ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards and a touchdown. “He’s the GOAT. I will tell my kids I played with that man. He’s the greatest.”
Brady also extended a number of Super Bowl records, including most completions (277), passing yards (3,039) and passing TDs (21). More could be on the way, but Brady declined to say what it all means in the big picture.
“We’ve been grinding pretty hard,” Brady said, when asked about his legacy. “I haven’t had a lot of time to think about things like that.”