The Bucs traveled to Green Bay on Sunday and beat the Packers in the NFC Championship, clinching Tampa Bay’s second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history and becoming the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl that’s being hosted in their own home stadium.
Tom Brady led the Bucs to a 28-10 lead in the third quarter and the defense stood strong as the Packers mounted a comeback en route to Tampa Bay’s 31-26 victory.
Head coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media following the Bucs’ win. Read the full transcript below.
On going for it on fourth down and hitting Scotty Miller for a deep touchdown in the first half
“It was like, we didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game. With the timeout and then the interception I wanted to come out of there with points. We said punt it but then loved the play we had and got a great match-up and got a touchdown and I thought it was huge.”
On how he’s feeling
“I couldn’t be happier for our players. They put in so much work and our coaching staff has done such a great job. Ownership gave us everything we needed and I just couldn’t be any more elated for these guys, the job they put in. We had both backup safeties in there just playing their asses off and it was a great team win.”
On the defense’s performance
“I can’t say enough about them. They’ve been great in the fourth quarter all year and we got some great stops, took a couple chances on offense to try and get more points and it didn’t work out but they came back and got the ball right back for it.”
On becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl
“So many teams don’t get a chance because they don’t get the Super Bowl in their stadium. It was obviously the goal of ours to start this season but getting to the Super Bowl was not what our goal is, the goal is to win it.”
On if he was surprised that the Packers settled for a field goal late in the game
“No I thought that they had a lot of confidence in their defense at that point and I thought it was a good move by them.”
On beating three divisional champions on the road
“That’s the scary thing about coming to the Super Bowl at home, we’ve been playing so good on the road and this was fun because we had loud fans and this was football for the first time this year, for me. The fans were great here and what an unbelievable atmosphere but to be able to come home and play for the Super Bowl at our place and not have to get on a plane and do all the things that this crazy year has us doing, it will be weird. It won’t even feel like the Super Bowl, we won’t have all of those damn press conferences.
On his journey to coaching, then returning to coaching and getting to a Super Bowl
“It would be really hard [to put into words], it would probably take a long time for me. There were times when I never thought it would happen, I never thought I’d get a head coaching job. After the cancer scare in Arizona, sitting out a year and then coming back, this has been the most rewarding year of coaching of my life.”
On when this moment started to feel real
“I guess when I was holding the Halas Trophy. It was like oh my gosh, we’re actually going to do it and we can dream about looking across the street for two weeks.”
On if he changed his mind after the punt team came out in the first half
“I sent the punt team out and then I went through a couple of scenarios in my mind, the clock was stopped, and I said no, we’re going back out. We’ve got a good play, we’re going back out and going to try and get some points.”
On Sean Murphy-Bunting’s turnovers and Tom Brady’s touchdown to Scotty Miller
“Sean played that thing perfectly. I thought he was going to get another later when they hit that same ball on him but Sean has been playing outstanding. He’s got all of his confidence back, the whole secondary does and should because they’re playing really, really well. We just got a great match-up. I think they were playing for us trying to get into field goal range and Scotty just ran right by [Kevin] King and when they lined up you could tell that it was going to be a touchdown. We just had to protect and throw the ball.”
On Brady’s interceptions and some dropped passes from receivers, the belief he instills in the team
“Chris [Godwin] drops one and then makes an unbelievable catch on a ball way down the field. Mike [Evans] never drops a ball and then one bounces off his hands. But the resiliency of the crew, the defense gritted their teeth, went out and got it back for us and then we made some big, big plays. Chris made the big play at the end and a couple other plays on first down plays and it’s just water off of his back. It’s just, let’s go get it and nothing phases him.”
On Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul’s sacks
“Once we tightened up and stopped giving [Rodgers] those quick little throws and he had to hold the ball, we had a great feeling about both of those guys beating those tackles and they did a great job. They turned it up and we had some great interior pressure too but they did a great job.”
On the Bucs’ offensive line
“Since probably Week 9 or 10 they’ve been playing lights out and again, Aaron Stinnie stepping in for [Alex Cappa], Joe Haeg playing tight end for us and [Rob Gronkowski] being a blocker too. Those guys just did a great, great job of keeping Tom clean.