Now that I’ve had a chance to let the Super Bowl victory sink in, and watch the Buccaneers turn into big-time party animals during their boat parade, it’s time to hand out some postseason honors. There is no rhyme or reason to any of these categories; I’m just going to do these at random.
Offensive MVP: Tom Brady
How could a 43-year old quarterback leave a team he’s been with for 20 years, join one that hadn’t been to the playoffs in over a decade, and end up winning a Super Bowl in his first year with his new team. When your name is Tom Brady, of course. Brady looks like he could play until he’s 50 (though he probably won’t.) As you would expect with him, there was a lot more good than bad. The number of turnovers from the quarterback position dropped off dramatically compared to his predecessor, Jameis Winston. After going 7-5 through the first 12 games, Brady led the Bucs on an 8-game winning streak, and their second Super Bowl title. And you’d be crazy to say he didn’t help others elevate their games.
Defensive MVP: Devin White
When the Bucs drafted this guy two years ago, we the fans said, ‘he’d better be the next Derrick Brooks.’ Well, he’s on his way. White was sensational in his sophomore year in Tampa, leading the team in tackles. And that’s with missing the regular season finale and the wild card game against Washington due to COVID. White’s INT late in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl was the cherry on top of a tremendous season. Or, maybe the official dessert was getting to ride his horse around Ray-Jay for a victory lap after the parade. It was well-earned.
Best rookie: Tristan Wirfs
This is the guy the Buccaneers took in the first round of the 2020 draft. What a pick this turned out to be. One big question I had going into the season was, how well could the offensive line protect Tom Brady? Wirfs got the job done, and then some. You didn’t hear a lot about him during telecasts. That’s because he was doing his job, and not committing penalties. Antoine Winfield Jr. will get a lot of praise for his work in the secondary – and his little feud with Tyreek Hill – but I’m giving Wirfs the ever-so-slight edge.
Best special teams player: Ryan Succop
You all know how dreadful the Bucs’ kicking game has been over the years. Succop is another player they picked up in free agency. In 2020, he made 28-of-31 field goals during the regular season. That’s 90%. He was 9-for-9 in the playoffs. He brought an enormous deal of comfort to a position that has been a weak spot for a long time.
There are many more honorable mentions, but these are just a few. I’m sure you’re all aware of all the free agents the Bucs have to deal with. But that’s for Jason Licht to handle in the coming months. In the meantime, just keep reliving the moment, because who knows when this will ever happen again.
Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers