Super Bowls and Tom Brady seem to go hand-in-hand.
They will again this year.
At the ripe old age of 43, Brady engineered another conference championship game victory to reach his 10th Super Bowl. This time, for the first time, it came with a team not named the New England Patriots.
Brady, who will be the oldest player at any position to compete in a Super Bowl game, threw two first-half touchdown passes, including one with one second remaining before halftime, to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-26 upset win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship game in Green Bay.
By virtue of their win, the Bucs become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl game in their own stadium.
“I guess when I was holding the Halas Trophy, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. We’re actually gonna do it,'” Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said. “We can dream about looking across the street [at the stadium] for two weeks.”
The Feb. 7 contest will also feature the defending world champion Kansas City Chiefs, who beat the Buffalo Bills, 38-24, in the AFC Championship game on Sunday night in Kansas City.
For Brady, Sunday’s game against the top seeded Packers was one of two halves.
The future Hall of Famer was brilliant in the first half, but Brady threw three interceptions on his first seven passes of the second half. Still, the Buccaneers defense was there to do its part. Green Bay managed only six points off of Brady’s three second-half interceptions.
“It’s been a great journey thus far,” Brady said. “We put the work in. Guys just embraced everything, really, when [Arians] got here last year. There was a lot of great things that were happening, a lot of great young players. I just made a decision. I’ve loved coming to work every day with this group of guys.”
Brady recalled his team’s mid-season struggles, and how the Buccaneers were able to rally at the most important time of the campaign.
“We were at 7-5 seven games ago, not feeling great. We felt like we needed to find our rhythm. We played four games down the stretch the last quarter of the season, and then after that, it was just all bonus,” said Brady, who entered the postseason for the first time as a road wild-card team.
“The guys came through. Everyone stepped up to the challenge. … It takes everybody, and everybody plays a role. I’m just so proud of this whole team and blessed to be a part of it.”
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes did his part for the Chiefs, completing 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 127.6.
Mahomes’ two favorite targets were tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Kelce grabbed 13 passes — a franchise record for a tight end in a postseason game — for 118 yards and two touchdowns, while Hill caught nine passes for 172 yards.
Kansas City fell behind 9-0 before rally for its two-touchdown victory.