Bruce Arians says there is no chance he will retire after Super Bowl LV if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dethrone the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship Game last weekend to set up a showdown with the defending champions a week on Sunday.

Tampa will be the first side to have home advantage for the Super Bowl in NFL history when they do battle with the Chiefs.

Arians quit in 2017 after five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals due to medical concerns, but returned two years later to take over as Buccaneers head coach.

The wily 68-year-old says he has no intention of walking away if he lifts the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time next week, providing owners the Glazer family are happy for him to stay on.

"Hell no. I'm going for two," Arians told 95.3 WDAE when asked if he might sign off on a high note.

"There's no doubt. If the Glazers will have me back, I'll be back."

The legendary Tom Brady has showed age is no barrier by inspiring the Buccaneers' run to the Super Bowl in his first season with the franchise.

Asked what he would have told general manager Jason Licht if he had told him Tampa would play in a Super Bowl with Brady as quarterback when he took over as head coach, Arians quipped: "What are you smoking or drinking? And get me some."

In the win over the Packers, Brady became the third player all-time with three-plus touchdown passes and three-plus interceptions in a conference championship game.

It was the 20th occasion Brady has led a team to 30 or more points in a postseason game – no other player has even managed half of that total – and the 43-year-old is set to feature in his 10th Super Bowl, four more than any other player in history.

Tom Brady's father revealed he and his wife both battled coronavirus last year in a "life and death" situation as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar prepares for his 10th Super Bowl.

Another Super Bowl awaits six-time champion Brady, who guided the Buccaneers past the top-seeded Green Bay Packers 31-26 in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field.

Brady – who is in his first season with the Buccaneers after 20 trophy-laden campaigns at the New England Patriots, led Tampa Bay to the NFL showpiece for the first time since 2003.

Tampa Bay will become the first team in NFL history to play a home Super Bowl – at Raymond James Stadium, where defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs await on February 7.

It has been a challenging season in the NFL and for people around the world due to COVID-19, and Tom Brady Sr. opened up on a family battle involving his wife Galynn that left the Buccaneers quarterback "stressed out".

"When the season started this year I was in the hospital with COVID for almost three weeks and my wife was sick with COVID at the same time," Brady Sr. told ESPN.

"We didn't even see the first two games of the year. It was the first two games I ever missed of his career because I was sick as a dog and my wife was as sick as a dog.

"I didn't even care if they were playing much less missing the game. It was a matter of life and death, just like anyone who goes into the hospital. It was serious stuff.

"Tommy fought through it and now it's in the rear-view mirror. We're healthy, we're happy and everything is good."

Brady – who will go head-to-head with reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV – now has more playoff wins since turning 35 (17) than any other quarterback has in his entire career, per Stats Perform.

Tampa Bay's Brady became the third player all-time with three-plus touchdown passes and three-plus interceptions in a conference championship game, joining Joe Montana (1981 NFC Championship) and Mark Malone (1984 AFC Championship).

It was also the fourth time Brady has thrown three-plus interceptions in a playoff game, and his teams are 3-1 in those matchups (most such wins all-time) – his sides are 0-9 when he has three-plus interceptions in a regular-season game.

This was the 20th occasion Brady has led his team to 30-plus points in a postseason game – no other player has even half that total (second is Troy Aikman with nine). Brady's teams are 18-2 in those games.

Brady will feature in his 10th Super Bowl – the next most by a player is six by Mike Lodish and Stephen Gostkowski, after the Buccaneers became the fifth team all-time to win three road games in a single postseason.

"This year has been unbelievable," he continued. "Not knowing where we're going to start the season out, and being where we are to end the season is just a stunning development as far as I'm concerned.

"… Getting to the 10th Super Bowl in 19 years of playing is pretty -- it's incomprehensible, actually. It's beyond anything we could ever imagine."

Patrick Mahomes going up against Tom Brady is a prospect that should lead to a "heck of a football game" at Super Bowl LV, says Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

The legendary Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the showpiece in his first season with the team as they overcame the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship Game.

Later on Sunday, superstar quarterback Mahomes guided the Chiefs to a second consecutive Super Bowl in a 38-24 triumph over the Buffalo Bills.

The thought of Brady, considered by many as the greatest QB of all time after winning six rings with New England Patriots, going up against Mahomes is an exciting one, not least for Chiefs coach Reid.

"Yeah, it seems like we've had a couple of those [Mahomes v Brady games] and every one of them is tremendous," Reid told reporters.

"I wouldn't expect this to be different, they got a tremendous team there. Those two have a lot of respect for each other, I remember when Tom came into the locker room after the championship game and spoke to Patrick, and Patrick responded like any young man would respond to the GOAT.

"We look forward to the opportunity to play, I know Pat does with Tom and I'm sure likewise Tom does with Pat. It should be a heck of a football game."

Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns against the Bills and joined Kurt Warner, Brady and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl twice in their first four NFL seasons.

If the Chiefs are victorious, Mahomes will join Brady as the only QBs to win it twice in that span.

Asked what such achievements say about Mahomes, Reid replied: "You guys have seen him grow right in front of you.

"You're seeing the steps he's taking. I sit there, and I'm an old guy who's seen a lot of pretty good quarterbacks, and I sit there and think this guy seems to amaze me a little bit more every game.

"I'm proud of the way he handles it most of all. You guys aren't writing stories about this guy has a big head or this and that.

"He's not showing people up. No, he's about the team, he's all in, he works his tail off, he does it the right way, which is important for the longevity of his career and for the success of the Kansas City Chiefs and now for the Super Bowl."

Mahomes entered the game on the back of suffering a concussion in the Divisional Round win over the Cleveland Browns, and with question marks over a nasty-looking toe injury.

Reid added: "Listen, he came out and he practiced and did a great job all week.

"It was a limited basis early with the protocol he had to deal with, he kept positive with it, stayed positive with every part whether that was with the toe or head.

"I thought he and the trainers had a great plan for his toe. It was an amazing looking thing after the last game and how black and blue it was."

Reid said the magnitude of reaching back-to-back Super Bowls had not quite sunk in yet.

"I will [reflect] when I get about two seconds to sit down, I'm gonna sit there and I'm gonna go 'Dog darn, how about that?'" Reid added.

"But we got some work we gotta get done. We understand that, the guys understand that."

Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes is excited about the opportunity to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

The Chiefs and Buccaneers secured their places in the NFL showpiece with wins over the Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers respectively on Sunday.

The battle between quarterbacks Mahomes and Brady is set to be must-watch at Raymond James Stadium on February 7.

And Mahomes, who led the Chiefs to the title last year in an MVP performance, is excited to face Brady with the 43-year-old playing his 10th Super Bowl.

"The Super Bowl is the Super Bowl," Mahomes told a news conference.

"Being able to go up against one of the greatest, if not the greatest, quarterback of all-time in his 150th Super Bowl, I mean, it's going to be a great experience for me.

"To go out there and have a chance to repeat and get to do it against the best, I mean it's something special and I'm excited for the opportunity."

Mahomes went into the AFC Championship Game on the back of a concussion suffered last week and with question marks over a suspected toe injury.

But he completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns in the 38-24 win over the Bills.

Mahomes joined Kurt Warner, Brady and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl twice in their first four NFL seasons.

If the Chiefs are victorious, Mahomes will join Brady as the only QBs to win it twice in that span.

Despite the concerns over his health, Mahomes insisted he felt fit and ready to go ahead of facing the Bills.

"I felt good from the warmups on. We did a good job as far as rehabbing and getting myself ready to go," he said.

"I felt like I was myself out there and we were able to go out there and score points and find a way to win against a really good football team."

Tom Brady is embracing the journey as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers star prepares to make a remarkable 10th Super Bowl appearance.

Brady – a six-time Super Bowl champion – guided the Buccaneers past the top-seeded Green Bay Packers 31-26 in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

The 43-year-old quarterback, who is in his first season with the Buccaneers after 20 trophy-laden campaigns at the New England Patriots, led Tampa Bay to the NFL showpiece for the first time since 2003.

Tampa Bay will become the first team in NFL history to play a home Super Bowl – at Raymond James Stadium, where defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs await on February 7 – and four-time Super Bowl MVP Brady revelled in the achievement.

"It's been a great journey thus far. We put the work in and a lot of guys just embraced everything," Brady told reporters after completing 20 of 36 passes for 280 yards, three touchdowns and three second-half interceptions.

"When Bruce Arians got here last year, there was a lot of great things that were happening, a lot of great young players and I just made the decision and love coming to work every day with this group of guys and we've worked really hard to get to this point.

"It's a tough game, we've had a few tough games in a row and the next one will be really tough too, but we know what we're playing for.

"We've got two weeks to prepare, it's going to be a great opponent and it'll be a really exciting couple of weeks for us."

Brady – who will go head-to-head with reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LV – now has more playoff wins since turning 35 (17) than any other quarterback has in his entire career, per Stats Perform.

Tampa Bay's Brady became the third player all-time with three-plus touchdown passes and three-plus interceptions in a conference championship game, joining Joe Montana (1981 NFC Championship) and Mark Malone (1984 AFC Championship).

It was also the fourth time Brady has thrown three-plus interceptions in a playoff game, and his teams are 3-1 in those matchups (most such wins all-time) – his sides are 0-9 when he has three-plus interceptions in a regular-season game.

This was the 20th occasion Brady has led his team to 30-plus points in a postseason game – no other player has even half that total (second is Troy Aikman with nine). Brady's teams are 18-2 in those games.

Brady will feature in his 10th Super Bowl – the next most by a player is six by Mike Lodish and Stephen Gostkowski, after the Buccaneers became the fifth team all-time to win three road games in a single postseason.

Bruce Arians hailed Tom Brady and said it "only took one man" to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the belief they needed to reach the Super Bowl.

The Buccaneers will become the first team in NFL history to play a home Super Bowl after beating the Green Bay Packers 31-26 in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Tampa Bay reached the showpiece for the first time since 2003 and in Brady's first season with the team, the quarterback moving into his 10th Super Bowl.

Buccaneers head coach Arians lauded Brady's impact on the organisation.

Asked what six-time Super Bowl champion Brady had meant, Arians said: "This trophy. This trophy.

"The belief he gave everybody in this organisation that this could be done. It only took one man."

The Buccaneers were the 49th team to play a conference or league championship game on the road and have more turnovers (3-2) and fewer total yards (381-351) than their opponents. They are the first such team to win, as per Stats Perform.

Brady completed 20 of 36 passes for 280 yards, three touchdowns and three second-half interceptions, while Packers star Aaron Rodgers was 33 of 48 for 346 yards, three TDs and an interception.

"It's been a long process for the whole team and today was just a great team effort," Brady said.

"We played sporadically a little bit, but the defense came up huge and we're going to need it again in a couple of weeks.

"I know it's a big game coming up, but we get to enjoy this for a little bit and then get ready to go against whoever we play [the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills]. It's going to be a great game."

Tom Brady is braced for a "big test" against Aaron Rodgers and the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers eye a home Super Bowl.

It will be a battle of the titans when six-time NFL Super Bowl champion Brady and the Buccaneers travel to Lambeau Field, where they will face Rodgers' Packers in the NFC decider on Sunday.

Brady – who has as many playoff wins since turning 35 as any other quarterback in his career, while he has 32 in total, twice as many as any other QB – will start his 14th conference championship in the Buccaneers-Packers blockbuster.

The 43-year-old superstar and the Buccaneers, however, will come up against Rodgers – who is tipped to be crowned the NFL MVP.

Two-time MVP Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career, with his four previous NFC Championship appearances coming on the road.

Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion in the 2010 season – eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history en route to the NFC showpiece. Per Stats Perform, the 37-year-old has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history.

Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most TD passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

Sunday's winner will advance to February 7's Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium – home of the Buccaneers – and when asked about Rodgers on Friday, Brady told reporters: "He basically does everything well. He has great command and experience, leadership, players are playing hard.

"He has a great style of play. He obviously throws the ball as well as any quarterback. Gets rid of the ball quickly. Has great vision of the field. He is able to extend plays with his legs. He has a lot of explosive plays.

"A great football team. Top-scoring offense. It's a big test. We are going to have to play great football to beat them."

The Buccaneers head into the clash on the back of wins away to the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints.

Tampa Bay are also riding a seven-game winning streak on the road – the longest run in franchise history, while the Buccaneers have nine straight games with 24-plus points and five in succession with 30-plus points – both the longest in team history, per Stats Perform.

"Love working with my team-mates. We've all worked hard," Brady said. "To play in a championship game is a great experience. I love being able to do that with this group of guys who've worked hard to get to this point. We had some rough moments but we've won two road games and will have to win a third if we want to continue playing.

"It's a tough test. A great team we're playing. Not an easy task but we will have to figure out a way."

Brady, whose Buccaneers are looking to become the fifth team all-time to win three road games in a single postseason, added: "Everyone knows what's at stake. You don't get to this point, you don't get one game and get here, you gotta go through a whole process to do it and our team has done that… we have a chance to get back home for a home Super Bowl, which would be a cool thing."

The Green Bay Packers stand between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a Super Bowl appearance in their own stadium.

In Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, two of the NFL's most revered quarterbacks will go head to head in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

Both QBs are in the MVP conversation, and Rodgers will be hoping to guide the Packers to the Super Bowl for a second time, having fallen at the penultimate hurdle three times since lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the 2010 season.

But he is up against a veteran opponent with unparalleled experience deep in the playoffs in Brady, setting the stage for a battle for the ages.
 

Looking back

Green Bay had season worsts in points scored (10), points allowed (38) and total yards (201) in a 38-10 loss at Tampa Bay in Week 6. It was the Packers' only defeat by more than seven points this season and Rodgers' 35.4 passer rating was his third-lowest in a start in his career. The only previous postseason matchup between the teams – who were NFC Central rivals from 1977 to 2001 – came in the 1997 Divisional Round, and that was a 21-7 Packers home win.

Championship form

While the Packers have suffered defeat in three straight NFC Championship Games, all of those were played on the road. Not only are they at home on this occasion, they enter the game amid a prolific run that has seen them score at least 20 points in 21 straight postseason outings – the longest streak in NFL history. For the Bucs, this is just their fourth NFC Championship Game of all time, though their last appearance provided a road win over the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. Tampa Bay could become the first team in the Super Bowl era to reach the Super Bowl, which this year will take place at their Raymond James Stadium, in the season they ended a playoff drought of at least 12 years.

The QB battle

In Green Bay's 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams last weekend, Rodgers had his eighth postseason game with multiple touchdown passes and no interceptions. The only quarterback with more? That's right, Brady (13). Rodgers is up to 50 TD passes for the season, making him the sixth different QB to reach that mark in a single campaign, but no one knows conference championship games better than Brady, who is set to make his 14th start in such games – twice as many as Joe Montana, who has the next most at seven. The 43-year-old is proving that age is just a number. After throwing his only two road game interceptions in Week 1, Brady has gone 368 consecutive pass attempts on the road without being picked off – an NFL record.

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur warned of Tom Brady's "great feel" ahead of the blockbuster NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It will be a battle of the titans when Aaron Rodgers leads the top-seeded Packers at home to Brady's Buccaneers, with a Super Bowl berth on the line on Sunday.

Brady – a six-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots – will start his 14th conference championship when the Buccaneers travel to Lambeau Field.

The 43-year-old superstar has more conference championship wins (nine) than any other quarterback has starts, per NFL Research.

LaFleur is wary of the four-time Super Bowl MVP, telling reporters on Thursday: "I think every game plan is a little bit different, but he's got such a great feel.

"He knows when to get the ball out. Whether you're rushing four or five it doesn't matter. If he feels that rush he gets the ball out of his hands and conversely, if you're rushing four and you're not hitting home he'll hold the ball as long as he needs to, to allow people to get open.

"That's just one of those things that I think is tough to coach. Some guys have great feel in the pocket and that's a tremendous luxury when you have a guy like that."

Not since winning Super Bowl XLV have the Packers reached the showpiece event – beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game, having also lost title deciders in 2017 and 2015.

Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round – his four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road.

Green Bay's Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion in the 2010 season – recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns against the Rams.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (10).

MVP favourite Rodgers also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

"I think when he speaks he is so well thought out in what he says and he has such a great delivery to our team I think everybody really, truly, takes it to heart," LaFleur said of the two-time MVP.

"Obviously he's a huge part of our football team both on the field and in that locker room. I think those just kind of naturally occur, whatever feels natural in the moment. He's a guy that everybody on this football teams looks to in terms of that leadership role."

On Rodgers and Brady, added: "They've seen everything. There's not a lot you can throw at them that they haven't seen. Now, the whole key is that I think a lot of times when you're playing quarterbacks like this you've got to make sure that you have identical looks, or shells, or contours and you're switching the picture on them on the snap of the ball. I think that's always imperative any time you're playing quarterbacks of this calibre."

Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers insisted there is no additional pressure as the NFL franchise look to end their Super Bowl absence against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rodgers and the top-seeded Packers will host Tom Brady's Buccaneers in Sunday's blockbuster NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field.

Not since winning Super Bowl XLV have the Packers reached the showpiece event – beaten by the San Francisco 49ers in last season's NFC Championship Game, having also lost title deciders in 2017 and 2015.

But MVP favourite Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday: "No more pressure than usual. I think a lot of times the storylines, pressure and those kinds of comments are good stuff for you guys to write about, but I think it starts with the mentality and focus.

"Obviously I put pressure on myself to perform every single week, and I think there's a lot to be said for being able to harness that pressure and fear of failure and focus into a real positive. That's something you learn over the years. But I don't feel any extra pressure going into this one.

"Definitely thankful to be back here. A lot of people didn't think we'd be back here after last season. We got a lot of interesting comments last year about us being the worst 13-3 team that people had seen. Not the same type of comments this [time]. Obviously we're clicking a lot better on offense, I do feel really thankful to be back here, thankful for the chance to be playing."

Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round – his four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road.

Green Bay's Rodgers – a Super Bowl champion in the 2010 season – recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns against the Rams.

According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (10).

Rodgers also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

Brady and the Buccaneers stand in the way of Rodgers and just his second Super Bowl berth, with many feeling the upcoming encounter could be the latter's best chance at progressing past the NFC Championship for the first time in a decade.

But the 37-year-old Rodgers – a two-time MVP and nine-time Pro Bowler – said: "I'm always just trying to stay present, especially this year as much as anything, and enjoy the moments. I hope there's more opportunities, but I don't know. I mean, I really don't. That stuff is out of my control.

"My future is a beautiful mystery I think. The present is such a gift to be able to stay in the moment and to have gratitude for being in this situation again, and being with the guys and having fans in our stadium and maybe snow in an NFC Championship Game. I'm going to enjoy these moments for sure, and just not worry about what happens down the line."

Mike Evans feels Tom Brady is "just playing chess" late in his career as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for the NFC Championship Game.

Brady, 43, has led the Buccaneers into their first NFC Championship Game since the 2002 season and Tampa Bay face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

The Buccaneers finished last season 7-9 and now are a win away from the Super Bowl, but Evans is unsurprised Brady has had such a big impact.

"He's the greatest player to ever play the game. You add him on any roster and I'm sure the outcome would be somewhat like this," the wide receiver told a news conference.

"He always gets his teams to the playoffs. He's a winner, he's a natural-born winner, leader, all that.

"At this point in his career he's just playing chess and we're definitely very happy that he's on our side."

The Buccaneers were 6-2 on the road during the regular season and they have beaten the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints away from home in the playoffs.

While Super Bowl LV will be played at their Raymond James Stadium, they must first beat a Packers outfit that are 8-1 at Lambeau Field this season.

Brady, who is 1-1 at Lambeau Field with his most recent outing at the ground coming in 2014, said getting the fundamentals right was key on the road.

"We've been pretty good on the road all year, outside of the first game and then the Chicago game. For one reason or another we've just done a good job," he told a news conference.

"Some years it's been like that, I've been part of other teams when it wasn't quite like that. Let's keep that streak going, that would be pretty sweet, so let's get another one.

"We're going to be challenged to get it because we're going up against a great football team. Playing on the road is about playing good football – communication, execution, all the fundamentals of blocking, tackling. All those things.

"It's a great environment and this is one of the coolest stadiums in the league to play in. I know they're excited, we're excited, and it'll make for a great football game."

Tom Brady praised the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' "incredible" defense after a playoff win over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The Buccaneers caused four turnovers, leading to 21 points, to claim a 30-20 win in the NFC Divisional Round.

Brady rushed for a late touchdown and completed 18 of 33 passes for 199 yards and two TDs as the star quarterback improved to 14-2 in the Divisional Round.

The 43-year-old hailed the Buccaneers' defense, which intercepted Saints quarterback Drew Brees three times.

"Defense was incredible all game. The turnovers were huge," he told a news conference.

"Last time we played them we lost the turnover minus-three, today was plus-four. You're not going to lose many games when you're plus-four. Just a great effort. They came up huge.

"Offensively, we made some plays when we needed to, running game was great, line protected great up front, just a great week of prep and really proud of our team and everything we put in to get to this point."

The Buccaneers will face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in their first NFC Championship Game since 2003.

Brady – a six-time Super Bowl champion – is looking forward to the matchup against the Packers, the top seed in the NFC.

"There's only four teams left, we're one of them, it's tough to get to this point," he said.

"We need a great week of practice. We've got one of the best teams in the league obviously in Green Bay, the top seed, and Aaron's playing incredible.

"They've got a great defense so it's going to be a great matchup."

Brady will start his 14th conference championship when the Buccaneers travel to Lambeau Field.

He has more conference championship wins (nine) than any other quarterback has starts, per NFL Research.

According to Stats Perform, the Buccaneers became the first team in NFL history to lose to a team by double-digit points twice during the regular season but then beat that team by double digits in the playoffs.

Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into their first NFC Championship Game since 2003 with a 30-20 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Brady, 43, and Drew Brees, 42, were below their best in the highly anticipated NFC Divisional Round clash, but the Buccaneers got the job done late at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday.

The Buccaneers scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, with Brady's rushing touchdown capping the win and setting up a clash against the Green Bay Packers.

Brady went 18 of 33 for 199 yards and two touchdowns, while Brees threw three interceptions – including two in the fourth quarter – while completing 19 of 34 passes for one TD.

The Saints' four turnovers proved costly as the Buccaneers moved into the NFC Championship Game.

Trailing 6-3, the first touchdown of the game saw Brady find Mike Evans after Sean Murphy-Bunting intercepted Brees.

The Saints' response came through Jameis Winston, who threw a 56-yard TD pass to Tre'Quan Smith, and the teams were level at 13-13 at half-time.

Brees and Brady traded TD passes in the third quarter to Smith and Leonard Fournette respectively, keeping the game level with a quarter to play.

Ryan Succop's 36-yard field goal put the Buccaneers 23-20 up and Devin White intercepted Brees to give Tampa Bay another chance, which Brady took.

 

Turning point – White steps up with well-timed interception

Brees and the Saints were looking to respond to Succop's fourth-quarter field goal, but instead gifted Tampa Bay an opportunity to extend their three-point lead as White intercepted the QB.

The Buccaneers made no mistake, and it was Brady rushing over from one yard to give his team a decisive 30-20 lead.

Brady gets it done again in Divisional Round

The Buccaneers' win saw Brady improve his record in the Divisional Round to 14-2.

The six-time Super Bowl champion may have been below his absolute best, but he still got it done, putting the Buccaneers into the NFC Championship Game for the first time since 2003.

What's next?

Brady and the Buccaneers face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field on January 24.

For the Saints, meanwhile, there is plenty of talk about Brees' future amid reports the quarterback is set to retire.

The Wild Card Round was, well, wild.

The Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns ended long postseason droughts, while the Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens impressed as they produced upset results on the road.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady made sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers progressed, securing a showdown with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints that will be an all-NFC South battle between starting quarterbacks with a combined age is 85.

As for the Kansas City Chiefs, the reigning Super Bowl champions - along with NFC top seeds the Green Bay Packers - prepare to return to action after a well-earned bye week.

A four-game schedule has all the potential for another bumper weekend of NFL action, with fans watching on to found out who will be the final four left standing in the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers - Saturday, 4.35pm (all times Eastern)

- The Rams are the only current NFC team with an all-time winning record against the Packers (46-45-2), but they have lost five of the previous six and 11 of the past 15 meetings. Green Bay, meanwhile, earned the No.1 seed in the conference for just the third time in their history.

- Aaron Rodgers posted the second-highest passer rating in NFL history this season (121.5), trailing only his own 122.5 in 2011, when he was voted the league's MVP. Rodgers had six games with four or more touchdown passes and zero interceptions, tying the most in a season all-time (Peyton Manning in 2013). In Rodgers' playoff career, the Packers are 8-1 when he does not throw an interception - but 2-7 when he does.

Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills - Saturday, 8.15pm

- Baltimore (191.9) and Tennessee (168.1) finished first and second in the NFL in rushing yards per game in the regular season, but the Ravens out-rushed the Titans 236-51 last week to progress. Lamar Jackson ran for 136 of them, the third most ever by a quarterback in a playoff game.

- Josh Allen completed 26 of 35 passes in the Wild Card win over the Indianapolis Colts (74.0 per cent), the highest completion percentage by a Bills starting QB in a playoff game. Allen also became the fifth player in NFL history with a passing TD, a rushing TD and a receiving TD in the playoffs, joining Freeman McNeil, Kordell Stewart, Julian Edelman and Nick Foles.

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs - Sunday, 3.05pm

- This is the first postseason game between the teams. The Chiefs have won the past three meetings, most recently on November 4, 2018 (37-21). In fact, Cleveland have not beaten Kansas City since December 2012, while they have triumphed at Arrowhead only once in the past 32 seasons (December 2009).

- Against the Steelers, Baker Mayfield became the seventh player in league history to throw at least three TD passes without an interception in his postseason debut. Only one other player has done this in the previous 15 years (Alex Smith in 2011). He goes up against Patrick Mahomes, who has accounted for 16 total touchdowns – 13 TD passes and three rushing scores – in five postseason outings.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints - Sunday, 6.40pm

- This will be the 59th all-time meeting of these franchises, albeit the first in the postseason. The Saints have won five straight in the rivalry, outscoring the Bucs by a combined 165-81 during that streak.

- Brady's two touchdown passes against the Washington Football Team moved his career postseason total to 75, while the victory was his 31st in 42 career playoff starts. In the entire NFL, only five teams have as many as 31 postseason wins in their history. Brady (341) and Saints QB Brees (303) rank first and third respectively in career starts among quarterbacks, regular season and playoffs combined.

Tom Brady spoke of his respect for Drew Brees ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playoff clash against the New Orleans Saints.

Brady, 43, and Brees, 42, meet in the NFC Divisional Round at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday.

The Buccaneers quarterback said he had plenty of respect for former Super Bowl winner Brees, who made his debut in 2001 – a year after Brady.

"He's a lot younger than me – he's 18 months younger than me – 18 months ago I felt pretty good, so I've got a little advanced age on him – and experience," Brady told a news conference.

"I'm hanging in there. He's had a terrific year. He's a great player – I've known him for a long time. I've always had a great amount of respect for him going all the way back to his Purdue days. My room-mate when I first got to the [New England] Patriots was from Purdue and was really good friends with Drew.

"I always just kept up with him and have gotten to know him somewhat well over the years. I just think so much of him as a person and as a player.

"I know what it takes to do what he's doing [and] he knows what it takes to do what I'm doing. I think there's just a lot of mutual respect."

While Brees has been with the Saints since 2006, Brady is in his first season with the Buccaneers.

Brady (341) and Brees (303) rank first and third in career starts among quarterbacks, regular season and playoffs combined, ahead of Sunday's clash.

The Saints won the NFC South for the fourth straight season and Brady praised New Orleans.

"They won the division, they're a great football team, [have] great coaches, a great system [and] so many great players," he said.

"Their defense is phenomenal – a top-five defense, basically, in every category. Great rush, great cover linebackers, they blitz well, a lot of continuity in the secondary [and] a lot of ballhawks in the secondary.

"They've been one of the top teams in the league for a long time and they've had some tough playoff losses [on] some really fluke plays. Other than that, there's not a lot of bad about this team. They're pretty spectacular."

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