“The story of the Super Bowl champion this season is a story about America in COVID times… In the last 11 months, since the coronavirus began to ravage America, the Bucs did virtually everything right, and they learned not to complain.” – King on the Buccaneers
“I had to trust how he was gonna see certain things, what he was gonna do on certain concepts. And he had to trust that I’ll constantly keep putting him in position to have success.” – Buccaneers Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich on Developing Trust with Tom Brady
“I would play very hard ball with (Deshaun) Watson till September, then see where the situation stands.” – King on the Texans
STAMFORD, Conn. – Feb. 15, 2021 – Peter King discusses Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV victory and breaks down the five key plays that shaped it in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also speaks with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, and discusses the status of J.J. Watt, Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson.
Across NBC Sports, Peacock’s weekday block of programming from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. ET, which will provide extensive NFL coverage includes PFT Live featuring Mike Florio and Chris Simms live at 7 a.m. ET. Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday-Friday. ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest offseason news, and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show and Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast continue their NFL discussion.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
SUPER BOWL LV
King on the Buccaneers & Super Bowl LV: “The story of the Super Bowl champion this season is a story about America in COVID times. In the past year, success in all walks of life has depended on reinventing oneself to do life differently…In the NFL, it wasn’t survival of a business or finding a family’s next meal, of course. It was just very different. In the last 11 months, since the coronavirus began to ravage America, the Bucs did virtually everything right, and they learned not to complain about the crap.”
Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate on QB Tom Brady’s influence: “We’ve had a lot of blowout losses since I’ve been here, but this year the difference was pretty amazing. Tom was never down. He had pretty good foresight. Even after these bad losses, he’d be encouraging us, like we weren’t that far away.”
Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich on the team’s late-season run: “We needed time. When two people meet each other, the first thing they say is, ‘Trust me.’ You gotta build trust. I understood that. We had to be around each other even though we liked each other, the friendship, it clicked off in the beginning, but we still had to build trust in each other. I had to trust how (Brady) was gonna see certain things, what he was gonna do on certain concepts. And he had to trust that I’ll constantly keep putting him in position to have success.”
Buccaneers QB coach Clyde Christensen on Brady’s Super Bowl LV: “It’s the 21st week of the season and Tom’s in his 21st year. The adjustment period was natural for a new quarterback with the offseason we had, but now he’s comfortable enough with everyone to go over everything they’re going to see in the game.”
King on Brady’s locker room speech before Super Bowl LV: “On Super Sunday, Brady talked to his team in the locker room for the first time all season. ‘Seize the opportunity!’ he said. ‘We win today and we’re champs for life!’”
KING’S FIVE PLAYS THAT SHAPED SUPER BOWL LV
King: “I would not call these five plays the most important of the game. The defensive vise-grip on Patrick Mahomes was gigantic…But for a new quarterback to learn a new team after 20 years in one place, and for four brand-new players to score every point in a Super Bowl upset when nothing was normal…that, to me, is truly extraordinary about the 2020 season and the Bucs winning Super Bowl LV. In a rout.”
Brady to (Antonio) Brown, stop route, KC up 3-0, 3:14 left, first quarter: “Classic Brady favorite. He torched the Atlanta secondary four years ago in the comeback Super Bowl win with stop routes…Brown caught it 16 yards past the line of scrimmage. Looked so easy. And it is – if you’ve practiced it a hundred times. Which very likely they had done.”
Brady to (Rob) Gronkowski, flat-screen route, KC up 3-0, 0:41 left, first quarter: “This is something I’d never seen – Gronk the tight end in fast motion, right to left, in front of the quarterback, in motion as a receiver and not as a seal-blocker cutting off the edge-rush…How many touchdowns in his tremendous career has Gronk done this – sprint motion, catch in the flat, score, without being touched? Well, never.”
Christensen on the play: “Byron (Leftwich) couldn’t wait to call this play. We were so sure it’d work.”
(Leonard) Fournette run, Tampa up 21-9, 7:45 left, third quarter: “Leftwich wouldn’t say what exactly he saw, but it’s likely that on Fournette runs to the right of center earlier in the game against certain Kansas City defensive looks, the Bucs would have a totally open second level. So if they blocked it right and opened a gap, Fournette would have an open field ahead. That’s exactly what happened, and that was the game.”
King on the Buccaneers defense & Brady: “Devin White said after the game he felt he was the best linebacker in football, and who’s disagreeing with him now? … Altogether, the Bucs’ youth all over the field will make them big factors so long as they have a quarterback to keep the offense humming. After seeing Brady in this Super Bowl, you’ve got to figure he’s got two years left in Tampa. Maybe more.”
UPDATES ON 11
King on J.J. Watt: “The Texans, even if it took some coaxing from Watt, did the right thing on Friday, letting him go five weeks before free-agency begins, so Watt can choose his next team…This is the guy you stick out your right hand, shake his hand, and say, ‘Thank you, J.J., for everything. This franchise and this city can never repay you for the player and humanitarian you’ve been.’”
King on potential landing spots for Watt: “If I had to guess the teams that would be most interested, I’d say Buffalo, Cleveland, Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis and Green Bay. This move would not really be in Packer tradition, though they did sign Charles Woodson at 30 and he had seven good years there. We’ll see.”
King on Texans QB Deshaun Watson: “Owner Cal McNair told me Friday that Watson is a Texan and he fully intends to keep him in Houston. Which is exactly what he should say, because I wouldn’t think of trading Watson until I got a very good to great quarterback plus either three high first-round picks or a Sam Darnold-type plus four ones in return. To be clear, I would play very hard ball with Watson till September, then see where the situation stands.”
King on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: “I know Russell Wilson, who normally wouldn’t say crap if he had a mouthful, and to hear these sideways jabs at how the team is run means to me he’s unhappy…He’s probably not happy with coach Pete Carroll, who has ultimate authority with the franchise’s football decisions, or with GM John Schneider, both for not building a better offensive line and not listening more to him about the direction of the franchise.”
King on Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer hiring Chris Doyle: “Imagine thinking you can hire Chris Doyle in the NFL when he couldn’t even work in Iowa City…It’s crazy to think Meyer didn’t think something like this would be a factor when free agents are picking future employment. Meyer needs someone to be his conscience. It’s clear he doesn’t have one on the staff now.”
King on voting for Tom Brady as Super Bowl LV MVP: “If someone picked Devin White or Shaq Barrett or one of the other defensive linemen, I wouldn’t have thought it was a bad pick…Late in the fourth quarter, when I had to submit my ballot, I saw that Brady was going to win his seventh Super Bowl at age 43, with the highest passer-rating (125.8) of his 10-Super Bowl career.”
Former QB Rich Gannon to King on the passing of Marty Schottenheimer: “I loved playing for him. He could coach every position. He could tell the left tackle about hand placement in pass-pro, and he could tell the corners about their footwork and technique…Every day, Marty would tell us at the start of the meeting the roster moves, who’s coming, who’s going. He says, I cut so-and-so. We got a punt blocked, and I asked him about it, and he lied to me about it. Men, don’t EVER lie to me.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the passing of journalist Terez Paylor: “The saddest thing about Terez’s death is the work over the next 25 or 30 years we won’t get to see, the young journalists who won’t get to be influenced by him, the knowledge we won’t glean because his voice won’t be there. The loss is magnified because we need Black voices in our white-dominated football world, and I know for sure he would have been one for the ages. Regardless of color, Terez Paylor was on his way to greatness, period… I wish Terez Paylor had 37 more years to influence our world. But it can’t be. So let his beacon shine for what he’s done. It’s so much already.”
King on the Patriots: “I think I’d trade for Marcus Mariota if I were the Patriots.”
King on former WR Chris Hogan joining the Premier Lacrosse League: “Good for him. Great for him. I don’t know Hogan well, but those who do said his heart was always in another game. He’s competed and won on the highest level of football, and now I hope he’ll be able to do the same in lacrosse.”
King on Buccaneers GM Jason Licht: “I think you want to go to Vegas, and right now, with Jason Licht. He’s been rolling personnel sevens for 11 months. He’s on an amazing run of drafting – his six leading DBs all are 24 or younger, all selected in the last three years, including Antoine Winfield in last year’s second round. The Tampa Bay GM has a smart staff and trusts his scouts and executives implicitly.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Chris Simms streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Safety Blitz streams on Monday and Chris Simms Unbuttoned stream Tuesday-Friday.
- com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- The Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast and NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continue the NFL discussion.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.