Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians believes Tom Brady and his team can return to defend their Super Bowl title next season.
Arians, 68, became the oldest ever head coach to win the sport’s biggest prize as the Bucs defeated defending champions Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 on home turf in Florida.
It was a record seventh title in a 10th Super Bowl appearance for the 43-year-old Brady, but neither he nor Arians have any intention of walking away from the game just yet.
Arians has already retired once before being talked back into the game by Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht in 2019, but said Super Bowl success was more than he could ever have imagined when he returned.
“I think I’d have been smoking something illegal to really imagine this,” he said. “I just can’t thank Jason enough and the Glazer family for giving me this opportunity and my coaching staff.
“They are outstanding. I don’t do anything, man, they do it all and we have great, great players. Jason gets all the credit for the roster and I just try to get out of the way and not screw it up.”
The game had been billed as a battle of two quarterbacks, Brady’s era-defining brilliance against the generational talent that is Patrick Mahomes, but it never worked out that way as the Chiefs’ offensive line failed to protect their star man and Kansas City never got going.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid took the blame for the offensive line’s struggles as he admitted his team failed to play anything like their best.
“(I told them) you battled your tail off for the whole year,” Reid said of his post-game talk with his players.
“Stand tall, that’s important, and keep your eyes looking up and forward. We didn’t play our best game, but we’re going to get back on it and get ourselves ready for next year.”
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you my heart bleeds for the people involved in it,” Reid said. “But we had put the game plan in the week before, so the distraction wasn’t a distraction as far as the game plan goes.
“That was already in, and kind of how we were going to work with it and go forward. So, I would tell you it’s a loaded question. From a human standpoint, it’s a tough one. From a football standpoint, two separate things. From a football standpoint, I don’t think that was the problem.”
Reid praised Mahomes for battling to the last snap even as he was repeatedly pressured, desperately scrambling out of collapsing pockets despite turf toe that may require off-season surgery.
“We knew we were going to go through times like this and adversity and I think the best thing about it is the guys have the leadership ability to be even better next year.
“Obviously, we didn’t end the season the way we wanted to. We can learn from that, we can learn from the successes we had during the season and at the end of the day we have to come into this next year with a blank slate and try to find a way to get back to the Super Bowl again.”