What Tom Brady Said in Postgame Interview After Buccaneers Win

Tom Brady paid tribute to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' collective growth after guiding the franchise to its first NFC Championship since 2002.

The 43-year-old completed 18 of his 33 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns as the Bucs came from behind to defeat the Saints 30-20 in New Orleans, to set up a mouthwatering matchup against the Green Bay Packers next week.

In his first season in Florida, Brady has now returned the Bucs to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years and has helped them to back-to-back road wins in the first two rounds of the postseason, exactly the sort of return the team expected when they lured the six-time Super Bowl champion away from New England in the offseason.

With Raymond James Stadium set to host Super Bowl LV on February 7, the Bucs would become the first team in NFL history to play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in its own stadium if they can get past the Packers next week.

"Just so proud of everyone, the whole organization," Brady said in his press conference on Sunday night.

"Our coaches have put in so much work and effort getting us to this point, preparing us every day, and just done an amazing job. Guys really come together. It's a really unique team. We have great chemistry. We have fun at practice. We worked really hard to get to this point, just like the other three teams remaining."

The Bucs arrived in New Orleans on the back of a five-game losing streak against the Saints, who had outscored them 72-26 in their two regular season meetings—a 34-23 win in New Orleans in Week 1 and a 38-3 shellacking in Tampa in Week 9.

The home loss against the Saints was the first of a run of three defeats in four games for Tampa, leading into its Week 13 bye. The week off, however, proved a turning point for the Bucs who have since won six games in a row, with Brady throwing 16 touchdowns and just one interception over that stretch.

The win against the Saints marked the fifth consecutive game the Bucs have scored at least 30 points, but their defense had an even bigger impact. Tampa Bay intercepted Drew Brees three times with each pick leading to a touchdown and held All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas without a catch.

Brady paid tribute to Tampa's defense and highlighted the Bucs were desperate to atone for the two regular season losses against the Saints and prove they come together as a unit and excel in all three phases of the game.

"The way the defense played today—they were spectacular," he said. "The way the offensive line played [...] it was just huge.

"All those guys came up big. We talked about it all week, what we were gonna need to win, to get it accomplished—and it's a long ways from the last time we played these guys at home and certainly [from where] we started the season here.

"It's a lot better feeling sitting in this tent this time around than the first time I was sitting here about 18 weeks ago."

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers calls a play during the fourth quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 17 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Bucs defeated the Saints 30-20. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Chris Graythen/Getty

The reward for beating the Saints is a trip to Green Bay to face the Packers on Sunday afternoon in the NFC Championship game, the Bucs' first appearance in the conference title decider since they defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia in 2002 en route to beating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Brady, meanwhile, will start his 14th conference championship on Sunday, twice more than Joe Montana, the second quarterback on the list. To put Brady's achievement and longevity into context, the six-time Super Bowl champion has more wins in conference championship games in his career—nine, all of them coming with the New England Patriots—than any other quarterback has starts.

After coming up against Drew Brees in the Divisional Round, Sunday's matchup against the Packers will pit Brady against another fellow veteran in the shape of MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers. The 37-year-old became only the 12th quarterback in NFL history to reach a championship game for the fifth time on Saturday, throwing for 296 yards and two touchdowns as the Packers defeated the Los Angeles Rams 32-18 in the Divisional Round.

With his two touchdowns on Saturday, Rodgers tied Joe Flacco's record for the longest stretch of consecutive playoffs games with at least two touchdown passes with eight and extended his streak for playoff games with at least one touchdown pass to 15.

The latter is the fourth-longest in NFL history and five behind Brett Favre's all-time record, while Brady ranks joint-second and fifth on the list with stretches of 18 and 14 games respectively.

Speaking to FOX before leaving the field, Brady acknowledged the challenge facing the Bucs next week in his fifth career meeting with Rodgers.

"We gotta go beat a great football team, one we know pretty well," he said. "Aaron is playing incredible and we're gonna have to play great to beat him."