For the first time in his career, Brady ran to Gillette Stadium – home of the New England Patriots -om the outside locker room.
Returning home for 20 years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback beat his former team, as well as former coach Bill Belichick, with a relentless 19-17 victory in the pouring rain.
It was only fitting that on his return to the place where he made his name as arguably the greatest quarterback in history, Brady passed Drew Brees to become the NFL’s all-time leader in the passing yards.
The 44-year-old hit the milestone with a 28-yard pass to Mike Evans in the first quarter, finishing the night on 269 yards to set the new all-time benchmark for passing distance at 80,560.
“A quarterback doesn’t throw or catch, a quarterback can just throw it. Passing yards need to be caught, so I just hope everyone who’s caught passes from me over the years has had a little smile on their face tonight knowing they’ve contributed to a really cool record.
“There are people who came before him… Drew Brees, whom I consider a hell of a guy, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Dan Marino but obviously my teammates who have caught all these passes over the years mean a lot to me, ”added Brady.
Victory added another entry in Brady’s endless record diary – he is now only the fourth quarterback in history to beat all 32 NFL teams, joining Favre, Brees and Manning.
Patriots kicker Nick Folk was just inches away from pulling Brady out of the league and spoiling the homecoming, his 56-yard field goal attempt with less than a minute to go with an agonizingly bouncing back on the crossbar.
“Nothing is really precise that I have never seen”
Leading up to the game, Brady had been coy about his feelings regarding a return to face the team he left as a free agent in 2020.
Brady won six Super Bowls with Belichick in two decades, but as a Buccaneer he has since secured a seventh ring. Ahead of Sunday’s game, the quarterback’s father – Tom Brady Sr – had said his son’s most recent Super Bowl success was justification for leaving the Patriots.
Brady called Belichik a “great mentor” ahead of his return to Foxborough, but questioned speculation about the couple’s relationship during his post-match press conference.
“We have had a personal relationship for over twenty years. He recruited me here, had a lot of personal conversations that should stay that way and are very private, ”Brady said.
“I would say our relationship is so rich and like I said earlier this week from a player’s point of view you just expect the coach to give you everything he has.
“I’m sure that as a player I’m sure that’s what he was hoping for for me, but nothing is really specific that I’ve never seen – it certainly didn’t come from my feelings or personal beliefs.
“I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and a lot of respect for this organization and all the different people here who are trying to make him succeed,” added Brady.
Thanks for the memories
The 44-year-old was greeted with cheers at Gillette Stadium and was honored with a one-minute highlight before the game but was booed as the Patriots tried to rally for victory during the game .
“It was pretty cool,” Brady told NBC when asked about his pre-game reception.
“It has been my home for 20 years. I have the best memories. My children were born here. It’s just a great city, a great city, a great neighborhood. I love it here.
“I have so many people that I have connections with, but it was about this team that came here to win. It wasn’t a single player. It was about our whole team going out on the road beating a good team.
“Yeah, they cheered me on a bit, but in the end they cheered on their team and obviously they wanted the Patriots to do it. “
Brady and the Buccaneers’ win takes them to a 3-1 record ahead of their home game with the Miami Dolphins next Sunday, while the Belichick Patriots look to turn things around on their 1-3 start to the season. of their visit to the Houston Texans. .