For the 10th time in his career, Tom Brady is heading to the Super Bowl.
The 43-year-old helped lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. With the win, Brady and the Bucs not only get to play for a title, but they get to do so at home, with Raymond James Stadium the site of this year's Super Bowl.
"It's been a long process for the whole team, and today was just a great team effort," he said after the win. "We played sporadically a little bit, but the defense came up huge, and we're gonna need it again in a couple of weeks. I know it's a big game coming up, but we get to enjoy this for a little bit."
In his postgame press conference, Brady again praised his teammates:
"It's been a great journey thus far. We put the work in. A lot of guys embraced everything," he told reporters. "... I just love coming to work every day with this group of guys."
It isn't surprising Brady was so effusive in his praise for his teammates—they bailed him out in this one, namely the defense. While Brady had his moments, throwing for three touchdowns, he also finished just 20-of-36 for 280 yards and had three second-half interceptions. Green Bay went from trailing 28-10 early in the third quarter to ultimately cutting the deficit to just five points.
But the defense largely mitigated Brady's mistakes, giving up just six points on the three turnovers. That, perhaps more than other factor in the game, was the difference.
There's no doubt that the addition of Brady has taken an already-talented Buccaneers team to the next level. Brady himself was fantastic this season, throwing for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns. The Bucs hadn't won a single playoff game since their Super Bowl title in the 2002 season, reaching the postseason just twice (2005, 2007).
Now, they're one win away from the second championship in the history of the organization. Reaching Super Bowls is just what Brady does.
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Tom Brady will start his 4th Super Bowl in the last 5 seasons. It’s also his 3rd since turning 40, no other QB has started a SB in his 40s. He will have as many SB starts in his 40s (3) as Aaron Rodgers (1), Dan Marino (1) and Drew Brees (1) have in their combined careers. https://t.co/aklEH4iCpg
"Tom is the GOAT," Bucs receiver Scotty Miller told reporters. "Last year, we ended 7-9. This year, we're going to the Super Bowl. He's the biggest reason."