After one season at age 43, Tom Brady is already the greatest quarterback the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ever had.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had something of an up and down history, to put it kindly. They’ve achieved the highest of highs, such as winning the Super Bowl during the 2002 season and getting back this season. They have also achieved the lowest of lows, such as losing their first 26 games in a row that they played as a franchise. The same can’t exactly be said at the quarterback position. The Chicago Bears tend to get clowned for their lack of success at the quarterback position, but the Buccaneers haven’t fared much better. They haven’t exactly had the greatest gunslingers the NFL has ever seen. In fact, until Tom Brady came along, they really haven’t had anybody all that noteworthy. Steve Young did wind up in the Hall of Fame but as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
Before Tom Brady came along, Buccaneers fans would be hard-pressed to pick who the quarterback would be on the franchise’s all-time team. The team’s all-time passing leader is currently Jameis Winston, who the Buccaneers let leave town sign with a division rival in favor of Brady. Before Winston was drafted in 2015, the all-time passing leader was Vinny Testaverde with Josh Freeman being a close second place. JOSH FREEMAN. Let that sink in.
Suffice to say, as far as numbers go, they appear to be lying when it comes to the best Buccaneers quarterback. So let’s look at the other aspect in which quarterbacks are measured, wins.
Despite the franchise’s famous futility out of the gate, along with being the NFL’s laughingstock throughout most of the 1980s and first half of the 1990s, the Buccaneers have had some success. They have one Super Bowl victory and are getting ready to play in a second, but to go along with that they have also played in four NFC Championships in 1979, 1999, 2002, and 2020. However, with the exception of Brady this season, all of these Buccaneers teams got to where they did thanks to their defenses, not so much their quarterbacks:
Sure, Doug Williams went on to become a Super Bowl MVP with Washington and did have some good seasons in Tampa Bay while helping dig the franchise out of the gutter, and Brad Johnson was the quarterback for the Buccaneers (as of this writing) lone championship. However, neither of them is on anyone’s Mount Rushmore, and it’s safe to say Shaun King isn’t either. Tom Brady, on the other hand, would be.
Three other quarterbacks have started at least one playoff game for the Buccaneers but ultimately did not reach the NFC Championship. This unholy trinity consists of Trent Dilfer, Jeff Garcia, and Chris Simms. Much like the NFC Championship list, there is a Super Bowl champion there, but all three would range from pretty good to wildly mediocre on most people’s quarterback scale.
We’ll save our fellow Buccaneers fans the agony of deep-diving into the team’s less fortunate quarterbacks like Steve Spurrier or “The Throwin’ Samoan” Jack Thompson (Hall of Fame nickname, not Hall of Fame player) so we can pretty much leave it at this.
When the names above are the cream of the crop, as far as Tom Brady’s competition goes, it’s easy to see why he is the greatest quarterback the Buccaneers have ever had, regardless of what happens in Super Bowl LV, and it really isn’t even close.