By Rory Carroll
(Reuters) – While Florida is a retirement destination for some, for Tom Brady it is the site of his career’s next act and a place where he could further cement his legacy as the NFL’s best-ever quarterback.
The 42-year-old on Friday made it official that he would leave the New England Patriots – where he spent 20 seasons and won six Super Bowls – to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a reported one year, $30 million contract.
While the decision to go to the Buccaneers, who haven’t made the playoffs in more than a decade, was initially a head scratcher, the move gives Brady an excellent opportunity to further chase history before retiring.
Last season in New England he was frustrated with the receivers available to him but he’ll have plenty of targets with his new squad, chiefly Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, who both topped 1,000 yards receiving last season.
The team also has a solid offensive line, a stout defense and a veteran coach in Bruce Arians.
Brady will also reportedly have an unprecedented level of control over the team.
He wants to be included in decisions about the roster as well as play calling, according to ESPN, which would give him an even greater share of the glory if he can turn the Buccaneers, who went 7-9 last year, into a contender.
And the Buccaneers are certainly getting a big upgrade at the quarterback position.
Brady has won more games (249) than Buccaneers’ QBs have in the last 30 seasons (210).
And achieving the ultimate goal of winning a championships with his new team would be historic.
While other greats have tried, only one quarterback, Peyton Manning, has won Super Bowls with two different teams – first the Indianapolis Colts and then with the Denver Broncos.
Hall of Fame signal callers Joe Montana and Brett Favre both attempted the feat in the twilight of their careers but fell short.
If Brady is able to lead the Buccaneers to next year’s Super Bowl, the team will have home field advantage.
The Super Bowl is held at a predetermined location each year and next season’s championship game will be held at Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.
No team has ever won the Super Bowl in their home stadium, so Brady could add another first to his resume.
The Buccaneers also make sense on a personal level.
Although originally from Northern California, Brady lives with his wife, the model Gisele Bundchen, and their children in Connecticut, which is about a two hour flight from Tampa Bay.
That’s a much less taxing commute then the arduous cross country trips he would have endured as a member of the Los Angeles Chargers or Las Vegas Raiders, two of the teams that were said to have shown interest.
And with his new contract he’ll make more in a single season than he ever has in his storied career before he retires — perhaps in Florida.
(Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)