New England Patriots

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 24: Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates with teammates after their 31 to 26 win over the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field on January 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

A new team, a shaky start, a global pandemic, and none of it mattered. Tom Brady overcame every obstacle thrown at him in 2020, and will now prepare to play in a record-extending 10th Super Bowl.

Brady’s Buccaneers beat the top-seeded Green Bay Packers 31-26 on Sunday to clinch the franchise’s first Super Bowl bid since 2002 – which was also the last season a fully-healthy Tom Brady missed the playoffs. Brady had a spectacular first half, including a buzzer-beating 39-yard touchdown pass to Scotty Miller to end the first half.

The second half didn’t go as smoothly. Brady threw three interceptions, but his defense bailed him out. Green Bay scored just three points in the fourth quarter, coming on a controversial field goal. Down eight with 2:09 to go, the Packers elected to kick a field goal on 4th & goal from the eight-yard line, giving the ball back to Brady. Brady & Co. killed the remainder of the clock on the ensuing drive.

Brady now has nearly double the Super Bowl appearances of the next-closest player on the list. Two players have appeared in six Super Bowls, including Brady’s former teammate Stephen Gostkowski. Brady’s six Super Bowl wins are already a record, his win over the Rams in 2018 pushed him past Charles Haley.

Before the discussion about Brady’s seventh ring can truly start, we need to figure out who will be in his way. The Bucs will get the winner of the AFC Championship game. The Super Bowl will be either a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship Game, and the fourth meeting between Brady and Patrick Mahomes, or yet another meeting between Brady and a team he has historically tortured, the Buffalo Bills.