We're nearly at the end of the season, but before we can get to the Super Bowl we needed to get through the Pro Bowl.
It turned out to be one more opportunity for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to remind everyone to put some respect on what they did this season. Specifically, the Baker Mayfield revenge tour had its final stop at the Pro Bowl on Sunday where he was named the game's Offensive MVP.
Trying to track stats and stack them up to emphasize a performance is tough in the Pro Bowl, and the jagged flag football nature of the game makes it even harder. Just know that the NFC was trailing when Baker Mayfield came into the game and he orchestrated a comeback to clinch back-to-back victories for Eli Manning over his brother.
It was thanks to Baker that the bragging rights remained with Eli for another season.
Baker Mayfield won Offensive MVP at the Pro Bowl
Stats don't really matter in the Pro Bowl, but it was a perfect opportunity for Baker to channel his unique energy into a clutch situation. It might be a phony exhibition game, but the way Baker was able to come in and calmly make the comeback both fun and exciting is another example of the sort of grit he brought to the Bucs this season.
After the game he had a short and sweet MVP speech.
Baker helped change the culture in Tampa Bay this season, with the team rallying around his chip-on-the-shoulder attitude but also fully buying into his leadership. This is something that has been referenced time and time again as the question about what his contract situation will be this offseason gets discussed.
While Tom Brady brought greatness with him to Tampa, Baker brought a relatability that gave the locker room a different energy. It's part of the reason why the team was able to navigate a 1-6 slump in the middle of the season and bounce back to win a third straight NFC South title.
He simply channeled the composure he had with the Bucs this season to turn in some highlight reel plays during the NFC's comeback on Sunday.
Everything about Baker's year in Tampa Bay indicates that he should be the team's quarterback moving forward. The Bucs were supposed to toil away in obscurity and irrelavancy after Brady left, but Baker has brought them back and is commanding respect we never thought he'd be demanding.
Who needs Tom Brady when you have the Pro Bowl MVP?