After achieving the ultimate team goal in football of winning the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, pass-rushing extraordinaire Shaquil Barrett has his sights set on the ultimate individual achievement for active players in the NFL: the MVP award.
During an interview on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, Barrett about his goals for the 2021 season. The official Twitter account for the Buccaneers advertised his answer for all the world to see:
So let’s get the stickler in us out of the way now. Alan Page won both awards in 1971 as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings as did Lawrence Taylor in 1986 with the New York Giants. If you want to get real deep into the history books/nerdiness, there are some discrepancies over whether or not Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti won the MVP in 1958 over Jim Brown, and if Detroit Lions linebacker Joe Schmidt shared the award with Norm Van Brocklin in 1960. So yes, technically Barrett’s statement is not factually correct. However, that’s not the part of his statement we’re going to focus on.
Barrett is hungry. He’s not alone, as the Buccaneers were able to bring back all 22 starters and some change back in their quest to “go for two” as Super Bowl champions. However, despite these athletes being among the most competitive people on the planet, especially Tom Brady, it’s nice to see them not being complacent and still expecting to be even better than they were a year ago.
As for Barrett, he certainly has a tall task ahead of him. However, there is nothing wrong with setting lofty expectations, especially after reaching the mountain top. You know what they say, shoot for the moon because if you miss, you still land among the stars. That old chestnut stays true.
Barrett certainly had a season worthy of Defensive Player of the Year, or even MVP consideration, when he came out of nowhere in his first season with the Bucs, bursting onto the scene with 19.5 sacks in 2019, but only recording eight in 2020. That’s still a solid season, but not to Barrett’s standards compared to what he did in 2019.
Of course, Barrett was a force in the playoffs. He had three sacks in the NFC Championship, and added another one in Super Bowl LV but was in the backfield all evening giving Patrick Mahomes fits. It’s easy to see why Barrett is capable of carrying that momentum into 2021.
At the end of the day, awards are voted on by the media, fairly or not. Barrett can do all he can on the field to merit such recognition, and it may not matter. Fortunately, with Shaq Barrett performing up to his lofty expectations of himself, both he and the Buccaneers ultimately benefit. This of course is great news for Bucs fans.