The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made Super Bowl history without even playing the game.
The Buccaneers' 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers clinched them becoming the first team in NFL history to play in a Super Bowl hosted at their home stadium. The Bucs will face the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7.
Tampa Bay was well aware of what was at stake in the conference title game beyond a trip to the Super Bowl. The Bucs had operated in the shadows of Raymond James Stadium and seen the signage erected all around the facility and city while they prepared to face the top-seeded Packers, and Arians warned of the dangers of looking ahead last week.
Now, he's happy to look ahead with conviction.
"We're coming home, and we're coming home to win," Arians said in a message to Buccaneers fans following Tampa Bay's win.
Tampa Bay raced out to a 28-10 halftime lead, stunning the reduced crowd at Lambeau Field before the onus shifted to the Buccaneers' defense to finish the job. By the time the clock expired, Tom Brady had won his first NFC Championship and is set to play in his 10th Super Bowl.
This one will be different because of uniform, and because it's at home. But the goal remains the same.
"It's been a long process for the whole team and today was just a great team effort," Brady said Sunday. "We played sporadically a little bit, but the defense came up huge and we're gonna need it again in a couple 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. It's gonna be a great game."
Tampa Bay's win completed a transformation so many thought possible as soon as Brady made his free-agency intentions clear in March, but remained only a dream until Sunday evening. The Buccaneers went from a team outside the postseason floating in the directionless waters of the middle of the pack to the conference's best in one fell swoop of a season.
It's a destination they wouldn't have reached without Brady.
"This trophy. This trophy," Arians said when asked what Brady has meant to the Buccaneers. "The belief he gave everybody on this organization that this could be done. It only took one man."
One man will lead his Bucs into a historic meeting in two weeks.
"So many teams don't get a chance 'cause they don't get to host the Super Bowl in their stadium," Arians said. "It was obviously the goal of ours to start this season, but getting to the Super Bowl wasn't what our goal is. Our goal is to win it."