TAMPA, Fla. — When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open the season on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, it will be year number 22 for quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady is attempting to become the first quarterback since — well, Brady — to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It’s something he accomplished 17 years ago with the New England Patriots. But now that his Buccaneers have that target on their back. Brady says this is a new year, so in one way, they’re not really defending it.
“As good as we were, we played with the same group of guys, I’d love to see where we can get this year,” Brady said. “All of it is earned. There is nothing given. It’s not about a bunch of hype or buildup. We got to go do it. That’s about a bunch of guys that are really mature that see ourselves as professional athletes and we want to put our best out there.”
Winning an eighth Super Bowl ring is the only thing on Brady’s mind. He won’t let his offense become complacent, despite averaging nearly 34 points per game during the final eight games of last season.
“It’s not like we won 60 to nothing,” he said. “We had a lot of games where we struggled and games where we struggled to move the ball, struggled against certain blitzes, struggled to run the ball, complete passes, so we can improve in a lot of areas.”
That improvement can begin when the season kicks off for Brady’s 22nd opening day.
“I think it’s butterflies, I think it’s being anxious,” Brady said of opening day. “You put a lot into it and emotionally you are at a super high point. We’ve had some really good days of practice. It feels like a regular-season week. Everything is in the books on this one. You want to be at your best.”
A Bucs-Cowboys match-up is a good one for Brady. He’s 5-0 all-time against Dallas with 10 touchdown passes and only two interceptions.