Before this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hadn’t made the playoffs since 2007, and they hadn’t won a playoff game since capturing Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003.
After Sunday’s 31-26 defeat of the Green Bay Packers, the NFC’s No. 1 seed, the No. 5-seeded Buccaneers will finally play for the Super Bowl title again.
>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<
Tampa Bay’s defense held the Packers and MVP-candidate Aaron Rodgers in check for much of the day, intercepting him once and sacking him five times. Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett recorded three of those sacks, and also finished with two tackles for loss and a team-leading four quarterback hits.
In an on-field interview with FOX after the game, Barrett made sure to give credit to God. “First of all, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior,” Barrett said. “To God be all the glory.”
"First of all, I just want to thank my Lord and Savior. To God be all the glory."@ShaquilBarrett gets 3 sacks and is now an NFC champion.
(Video Courtesy: FOX Sports) pic.twitter.com/Bz3Z7paKP6
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) January 24, 2021
Barrett, 28, also shares about his faith on social media. In his Twitter bio, Barrett says, “Enjoying the grind of everyday life. Keeping God and family at the top of the list.” On Instagram, he often writes “#TGBTG” which stands for “To God Be The Glory.”
View this post on Instagram
Barrett, who went undrafted out of Colorado State in 2014, is now one of the NFL’s best linebackers. He signed with the Denver Broncos after the draft and began on the team’s practice squad. He eventually worked his way into being a key rotational piece for a team that won Super Bowl 50 after the 2015 season.
He left Denver in March 2019 to sign a one-year deal with the Buccaneers and has been a starting outside linebacker ever since. His 19.5 sacks during the 2019 season led the entire NFL and earned him a trip to his first Pro Bowl. He was also a second-team All-Pro last season.
Late that season, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians told the media the Bucs would seek to keep Barrett in Tampa Bay even though he was set to become an unrestricted free agent.
“I love that he said that,” Barrett told ESPN after hearing of his coach’s praise. “I want to be there. That’s my goal. It just worked out perfectly for me. I can’t be more blessed. It’s God’s plan. I wouldn’t have been here if it was my plan. I’m just happy the Bucs gave me a chance. I made the most out of that chance. … I’m just happy. I’m grateful and very appreciative.”
In March 2020, the Bucs placed the franchise tag on Barrett. He signed the tender offer in July and accumulated 57 combined tackles and eight more sacks this fall.
And now, as one of the few Bucs defenders with Super Bowl experience, he and his teammates are tasked with stopping quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs offense in the Super Bowl. The game is set for Sunday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET. It will be held in Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium, the first time a team will play on its home turf in the Super Bowl.
– Guided by God, Bucs linebacker Devin White leads Tampa to NFC title game
– NEW PODCAST: Warrick Dunn – former NFL running back
– Chiefs owner Clark Hunt after AFC title: ‘The Lord has blessed our family in so many ways’
– NEW PODCAST: Casey Phillips – Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter
– DeMeco Ryans promoted to 49ers defensive coordinator, remains sustained by Jesus