Things didn't exactly end the way anyone in Tampa Bay wanted this season, but it's impossible to deny that the Buccaneers season went better than expected.
After being picked to win just a handful of games, the Bucs marched to a third straight division title on their way to a deep playoff run that didn't end until the NFC Divisional Round. Along the way Baker Mayfield made his case for being Tampa Bay's quarterback of the future, and has forced the team to make a pretty big decision this offseason.
We still have a few months until anything needs to happen, though, and right now everyone seems to be enjoying the high while it lasts. Baker was a late addition to the Pro Bowl roster and was in Orlando on Thursday to participate in the Pro Bowl Games and keep the good times rolling for the Bucs.
Baker competed in the Precision Passing challenge, and ended up beating C.J. Stroud to win the whole thing. While giving a victory speech, he made sure to drop some of the self-deprciating humor that is part of the charm that won over the Bucs locker room this season.
Baker Mayfield jokes about Buccaneers playoff loss to Lions at Pro Bowl Games
Baker might have won the competition but he wasn't perfect. After missing a few throws, he was asked whether or not he was telling himself
"So when you start missing a couple [of throws] do you start thinking 'now everyone's looking at me and I've gotta step it up," Ryan Clark asked.
That set Baker up to take a shot at himself over how things ended in what turned out to be the Bucs final game of the season against the Lions.
"My last pass went to Derrick Barnes in Detroit," Baker said with a laugh. "So, yeah a little bit."
Baker's inteception shouldn't have totally ended the Bucs season, as Todd Bowles botched some clock management and might have let Detroit off the hook. The Lions took a knee on third down with more than 30 seconds on the clock and the Bucs still possessing one final timeout.
Had Bowles called that timeout it would have forced the Lions to either kick a long field goal or punt the ball, both situations that could have created a miracle moment for the Bucs.
That didn't happen, and Baker's last pass indeed ended up being an interception. It's not the lasting memory of his first -- and hopefully not only -- season in Tampa Bay, though. That signature humor is part of the energy and personality he brought to the locker room, and it's no surprise that it wore off on the rest of the guys who ended up fully buying in on him.