Tampa’s Super Bowl Odds Tumble On Back Of Brady’s Sensational U-Turn

Last week with bet365 Sport, you could have got odds of around 25/1 on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the 2023 Super Bowl.

The 2021 Super Bowl Champions are over the cap limit and have a host of veteran players set to hit free agency, but perhaps most importantly, their star player, quarterback Tom Brady, had decided to retire at the end of the 2021/22 season.

A playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams was Brady’s final game of this year and after much speculation about his future, Brady announced that he was going to retire at the grand old age of 44-years-old, with a record seven Super Bowl rings to his name.

That is more than any other player and even more than any single NFL franchise has managed in history.

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Bucs Short Quarterback Search

The announcement was a blow for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans after a stellar season for Brady in this past year. The veteran posted NFL-leading numbers in yards passing (5,316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and passing attempts (719), leading the Bucs to the post-season.

There, Brady couldn’t quite lead his team to victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round and after his retirement announcement, one sports memorabilia fan spent over half a million dollars to purchase the ball Brady threw his last ever touchdown pass with from that game.

However, just 40 days after that announcement and after discussions with his family, as well as those inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organisation, the legendary quarterback announced his decision to return to the NFL via social media.

“These past two months, I’ve realised my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” stated Brady in his announcement.

“That time will come. But it is not now. I love my team-mates and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business.”

The announcement came just a short time after Brady had posted an Instagram clip which showed Manchester United football legend Cristiano Ronaldo asking Brady if he was ‘done” as an NFL player.

A question to which Brady’s reply could not be heard, but which looked very inconclusive.

Huge Announcement Makes Waves In The Betting Markets

Prior to the announcement last week, you could have backed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at odds of 25/1 to win the Super Bowl next season. Those odds put them firmly in the middle of the pack for NFL teams.

However, after Brady’s announcement at the weekend, Bet365 Sport has seen a run of bets on the Bucs landing a second Super Bowl of Brady’s three-year tenure next season.

So much so that the odds on the Bucs has tumbled right in to 9/1. In the United States, some betting sites now have the Bucs as the favourites to win the Super Bowl, but in the UK both the Bills (15/2) and Chiefs (8/1) are still shorted priced options.

Interestingly, Brady is now a standard price 9/1 second favourite to win the NFL MVP award this coming season behind Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen who are all 8/1. However, bet365 are offering an enhanced price on Brady at the time of writing allowing punters to back him at 12/1 for the prize.

It’s not just the Super Bowl odds that have tumbled for the Bucs. Tampa Bay are now 17/4 joint favourites with Green Bay to win the NFC Championship (17/4) and their odds to win the NFC South have now tumbled markedly to 4/9.

However, far from feeling sorry for the bookmakers, my pity is reserved for the poor sporting memorabilia collector who shelled out half a million dollars on the ball which Tom Brady threw his ‘last’ touchdown with.

Unfortunately, that item may now have lost a significant amount of value. I just hope that the person had insured the item against just such an occurrence.

Tampa Set For Key Free Agency

Brady’s decision to return has given Tampa Bay the clarity they needed heading into the Free Agency period when the official new season in the NFL starts on March 16.

Now that they don’t need to find a quarterback to lead them next season, the Buccaneers can turn their full attention towards reducing their salary cap to below the league mandatory level by Wednesday and from that, they can decide which of the veteran free agents they have hitting the market they would like to re-sign.

However, as the Bucs are still over $10 million over the salary cap as things stand, there are still a few more deals to be restructured and worked out to allow them to get under the cap and retain as many of their free agents as they would like.

One player who will remain a Buc is Ryan Jensen. The center has signed a three-year deal to remain in Tampa Bay, a move which no doubt was influenced by the decision Brady made to come back and play another season.

However, with the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, Alex Cappa, Jordan Whitehead, Leonard Fournette and Carlton Davis all still set to hit free agency, there is still a lot of work to be done for the Bucs this off-season.

What Now For Brady?

So what situation does Brady come back into?

Well, the majority of his team from last season should still be around. It’s hard to see Tampa not trying to re-sign Gronkowski now that Brady is back and with Chris Godwin given the franchise tag and Mike Evans still under contract, the Offensive Line is mainly back (though the Bucs would ideally like to re-sign Alex Cappa if possible).

That means the offense which proved so potent for Brady last year, still functions, even if they cannot re-sign Leonard Fournette at running back, as Brady is well used to having multiple running back options and a committee-approach to the ground game.

However, more than that Brady knows that this Tampa team is by far and away the strongest in the NFC South.

The New Orleans Saints are going to be in rebuilding mode with a new head coach and new quarterback in tandem and while the Saints defense is solid, they are losing one of the best players in the NFL to free agency in left tackle, Terron Armstead, to free agency.

The Atlanta Falcons are a team that is still very much in rebuilding mode and they have lost a key player, Calvin Ridley, for the season after the wide receiver was banned for the NFL for betting on games while he was on injured reserve last season.

Finally, the Carolina Panthers are a team that won just two of its last 14 games last season and with massive issues at quarter back and on offense in general it is hard to see any of these three teams being genuine competition for Brady and the Bucs.

That could well mean the Bucs being in a strong position to win the division and perhaps even a chance at securing the number 1 spot in the NFC in the playoffs.

That certainly sounds like unfinished business to me.

And with Brady back, we get to enjoy his incredible talents for at least one more season in the NFL.

A win for NFL fans and the Bucs, but not so great if you are any of the other 31 teams in the league.