The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't advanced to the NFL playoffs in 12 years, and only the Cleveland Browns have a longer active postseason drought. Being associated with the Browns in anything playoff-related isn't ideal, but the Buccaneers should be optimistic heading into the 2020 season.
Tom Brady left the New England Patriots in free agency to sign with the Buccaneers in a move that brought instant relevancy and excitement to a franchise in desperate need of both.
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The path to Super Bowl LV won't be easy for the Bucs, and even winning the NFC South will be a challenge. The New Orleans Saints have won three straight division titles, and they are the favorites to claim the division crown again in 2020.
However, oddsmakers are confident Brady and Bucs will be quite competitive next season. Tampa Bay has -177 odds to make the playoffs and it's tied for the fifth-best odds to win Super Bowl LV at the DraftKings Sportsbook.
There's plenty of playoff buzz in Tampa Bay, and the players are eager to get to work with Brady.
"I've been itching [to be in the playoffs] for a very long time, the past eight years," Bucs linebacker Lavonte David said Tuesday in a conference call. "Having somebody come in who has that winning pedigree, it's going to be a lot to learn from. He's going to have a lot of knowledge for us, a lot of knowledge for me, just helping me be a better leader, be a better teammate, and help us find all those little things to help us get over the hump, help us get over the edge.
"What he brings is that winning mentality, that attitude, knowing what it takes to get there and knowing what it takes to win it all. That's what all the guys in our locker room want. He's the perfect guy for us. I know a lot of guys are going to be leaning on him. I know we've got a lot of guys in our locker room who love to soak up knowledge from older players and gain an advantage. I feel like he's going to bring that edge that we always needed."
The addition of Brady wasn't the only impactful move Tampa Bay has made this offseason.
The team also upgraded its offensive line and brought back several key members from last season's defense, including Shaquil Barrett, Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh. The Bucs also have the No. 14 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which they can use to give Brady another talented weapon on offense, or to bolster a defense that finished 2019 very strongly.