TAMPA, Fla. – It’s official: Tom Brady is the starting quarterback for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The team on Friday tweeted the news, which had been reported by several media outlets earlier this week.
Brady ended his historic run in New England, announcing on social media Tuesday that he would become a free agent for the first time in his career.
Armed with plenty of salary cap space, a roster featuring a pair of 1,000-yard receivers and a coach with a proven track record of working with high-profile quarterbacks, the Bucs took a shot at making themselves relevant for the first time in more than a decade.
Tampa Bay ranked 30th among 32 teams in home attendance, averaging 51,898 per game last season. Within hours of reports of the team closing in on a deal with Brady, the website selling season passes for 2020 showed more than 2,400 people in a queue waiting for an opportunity to make purchases.
The Bucs went 7-9 last season and missed the playoffs for the 12th straight year, the second-longest drought in the league behind the Cleveland Browns. They haven’t won a postseason game since their 2002 Super Bowl championship run.
Landing Brady not only figures to fill empty seats at Raymond James Stadium and make the Bucs a playoff contender right away, but also raises the prospect of Tampa Bay becoming the first team to win a Super Bowl in the host city’s stadium.
Next season’s Super Bowl is in Tampa.
Brady won 17 division titles and appeared in nine Super Bowls — winning six — with the Patriots. He’s a four-time Super Bowl MVP, 14-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time regular season MVP who has made 41 postseason starts.
The Bucs have played 15 playoff games in their 44-season history, none since 2007.
In signing Brady, Tampa Bay also officially moved on from Jameis Winston, who became a free agent Wednesday after five seasons as the team’s quarterback.