Blythe Hastings ’23
It’s the NFL fan’s dream come true, a Brady/Belichick game, except this time, they will be standing on opposite sides of the field. In the upcoming game, Sunday, Oct. 3, the New England Patriots will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, welcoming Tom Brady back to his birthplace of football in an emotional and melancholy way.
Brady, now sporting gray and red, instead of red, white, and blue, will make a return to his career home team, after leading his new team to a record Superbowl win in their stadium at Tampa Bay. Starting his 22nd year in the NFL, Brady, the winningest quarterback of all time has faced a multitude of challenges, from different defensive schemes, terrible weather, injured receivers, and monumental comebacks, some on the Superbowl stage. But he has never had to face the man that coached him into the player he is today.
Bill Belichick, also starting his 22nd year as head coach of the New England Patriots, with a career 0.678 win percentage, has won six Superbowl’s, all with Brady. This game, and the hype surrounding it, will determine how both teams are viewed. Belichick could, as some view, become the greatest NFL coach of all time, or Brady could prove that his skill determines his wins, and not who is coaching him. Brady gets the opportunity to match wits against Belichick in a chess match that will be a halting reminder of how much the New England Patriots blew it by letting their franchise quarterback get away.
Despite this, Brady, whose 115 career victories in Foxborough stands as the NFL record for most wins by a quarterback in a single stadium will receive a standing ovation from Patriots fans. Fans are also expecting that the game will be paused to acknowledge Brady if he gains 68 passing yards, which is all he needs to beat Drew Brees’ record (80,358), to become the NFL’s all-time leading passer. Brady would join Brees, Peyton Manning, and Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks to beat all 32 NFL teams if the heavily favored Buccaneers come out on top. As the Patriots are 1-2, while the Buccaneers are 2-1, this game is not only a showdown between the greatest quarterback and the greatest coach of all time but vital for their season record. Mac Jones, now starting quarterback for the Patriots after they released Cam Newton from the roster, was drafted 15th overall from Alabama, where his standout performance during college, made him a clear pick for New England. With the game, soon to happen, fans wait anxiously as the Buccaneers step onto the field, Brady leading the way, back on his home turf.