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Tom Brady helps Bucs snap lengthy drought originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Prior to Tom Brady‘s arrival last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn’t qualified for the postseason since 2007, a streak which at the time was the second-longest active drought in the NFL.

Tampa Bay finished 9-7 and won the NFC South 14 years ago, their third and final postseason appearance under coach Jon Gruden.

Brady accomplishes career first with win over Newton’s Panthers

While winning a Super Bowl last season surely supersedes any regular season accomplishment in 2021, the Buccaneers were merely a wild-card entrant to the postseason last year. With Sunday’s 32-6 win over the Carolina Panthers, Brady has helped the Bucs win their first division title since 2007.

No member of the Buccaneers in 2020 had ever made the postseason with Tampa prior to Brady’s arrival; Lavonte David, its longest-tenured player, didn’t land with the Bucs until five years after their last postseason appearance.

But Brady himself, of course, was active in 2007, and just might have a bone to pick with those Buccaneers.

That version of Tampa Bay, quarterbacked by Jeff Garcia, lost at home to the New York Giants in the NFC wild-card playoffs — the same Giants who’d go on the road and defeat the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers before denying Brady and the Patriots a shot at immortality in Super Bowl XLII.

Stuck in an NFC South with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons even Cam Newton and the Panthers, the Buccaneers were stuck in quarterback purgatory prior to Brady’s arrival. 

The division title is just the seventh in franchise history for Tampa Bay, which began play as an expansion team in 1976.