The Tampa Bay Rays are in the 2020 World Series. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup champions. Before beating Green Bay Sunday, the last time the other professional franchise in that city, the Tampa Bay Bucs, played football, their quarterback forgot what down it was in the final seconds of regulation, and consequently the Bucs lost a game in humiliating fashion on national television. Analysts and pundits tried to make the claim that the quarterback was responsible for the loss.
The reason this is a big deal is because thanks to their hockey and baseball teams, Tampa Bay has suddenly become the city of champions. Tom Brady is the Bucs’ quarterback, and the man who personified dominance and championships for two decades in New England is in danger of being responsible for leading the only non-championship franchise in his new hometown into further irrelevance while the other two teams try to get their champagne-soaked jerseys clean and celebrate virtual championship parades.
There’s a lot at stake for Brady because of the success of the other clubs in Tampa. He doesn’t want to be the face and leader of the only non-winner in Tampa. All of this would be impossible for Tom Brady not to notice as he navigates his way through his first season in colors other than silver and blue. And knowing the G.O.A.T.’s competitive makeup, it might be just the right additional amount of motivation he needs to try to get his team to a similar championship pedigree as the Lightning and Rays.
All that’s at stake is the following:
1. Tom Brady’s legacy. If the Bucs continue to look disorganized and undisciplined like they have through parts of the first five games, the move to Florida could be something Brady comes to deeply regret.
It would be similar to a Silicon Valley genius who created a trillion-dollar brand that changes the world all of a sudden trying to launch a startup in Idaho, where it runs out of funding, isn’t embraced by the market, and three other businesses around him enjoy record-setting IPOs.
2. History. No major U.S. city has ever hoisted the three most iconic trophies in professional team sports in the same season. The Rays haven’t done it yet, as they still need four more wins; but if they do, the pressure will become even greater for Brady to weave his magic and confirm Tampa as Title-Town USA.
But hey, this is Tom Brady we’re talking about, and probably knowing he needs to step things up to keep pace with the other teams in town, he guided his Bucs to a blowout win over the undefeated Packers Sunday. That’s why he’s the G.O.A.T. He just can’t afford to let his guard down because fans will now expect nothing less than a title. I mean this is the city of champions now. Sort of.