The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no ordinary defending champion. They're the first team in the NFL's salary cap era (since 1994) to return all 22 starters from a Super Bowl run, and with Tom Brady at the helm, Tampa is well-positioned to reach the pinnacle for a second consecutive season.
But what could prevent the franchise from repeating as champions in 2021? The simplest answer is complacency, according to former NFL kicker and current Buccaneers broadcaster Martin Gramatica.
"The thing that you fear the most is guys settling and having that Super Bowl hangover," Gramatica told the Tiki and Tierney show on Thursday. "But when you have Tom Brady, who has experience -- you know, back-to-back Super Bowls -- I think he's going to be able to manage that and help the guys not settle and not get comfortable. And just know that every weekend, you have a target on your back...
"At the end of the Super Bowl last year, we all saw when Gisele went up to Tom and said, 'What else do you have to prove?' He wants that undefeated season and a championship... I think he still has that bitter taste in his mouth, where he wants that 17-0 plus playoffs and a championship. So, I can see that being their goal."
In Brady's first season with the Buccaneers, the 44-year-old veteran led the franchise to an 11-5 record, and threw for 4,633 yards and 40 touchdowns -- the second-highest mark of his career. His production didn't slow during the playoffs, as he completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three scores in the team's blowout win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55.
Tampa Bay will open its 2021 campaign at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night (8:20 ET kickoff). According to the William Hill Sportsbook, the Buccaneers currently have the best odds to win the NFC South (-200) and the second-best odds (+650) to win Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles.
The entire Buccaneers conversation between Gramatica and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.