Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl winner, who spent 20 years playing for the New England Patriots before signing last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is to face off against his old team for the first time Sunday.
Brady – widely considered to be the greatest quarterback of all time – will return to Gillette Stadium as a member of the visiting team, leading his defending champion Buccaneers against the Patriots.
On Saturday he posted a video of a digitized version of himself with animated highlights of his career.
‘Homecoming’ the Tampa Bay star tweeted in a one word message accompanying the video.
The video sees Brady in digital form compete in his first Super Bowl against the Oakland Raiders. Various other famous plays are included as well as three losses he endured in the Super Bowl over the years.
The clip will please the most ardent of Brady fans and includes historic moments including Malcolm Butler’s interception against the Seattle Seahawks during the 2015 Super Bowl and Julian Edelman’s incredible catch against the Atlanta Falcons in the 2017 Super Bowl.
The short animation then sees Brady on a pirate ship as a crew member of the Buccaneers.
Brady has said that the trip back to Foxborough has been about focusing on winning instead rather than reminiscing about his past with the Patriots.
‘I’m just excited to go up there and try to beat a really good football team. That’s ultimately what this week is about. It’s not about the quarterback, it’s not about the fans or the home crowd or relationships of 20 years.
‘It’s about two good football teams going at it, and we’ve got to do a great job. It’s going to be a huge test. Last week was a huge test, and we didn’t quite meet it. This is another huge test; we’ve got to go meet the challenge,’ Brady said.
‘I know that home locker room. I know that home tunnel. I know which way the wind blows. I know everything about that. So, in some ways it´ll be unique. I’ve never had that experience. New England will be the first time for me being on the other sideline.’
While they all have played against former teammates before, the Patriots acknowledge this time is much different. None of the other players has the institutional knowledge Brady does of their defensive schemes or tendencies.
New Englands Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Tom Brady is the ‘best quarterback out there,’ as he prepares to face off against Brady for the first time since he joined Tampa Bay
The pair are seen celebrating a win against the Atlanta Falcons during the 2015 Super Bowl
It makes the margin for error minute against a quarterback who is a master at getting the ball out quickly and reading and deceiving defenses with his eyes.
‘It´s gonna be a guy that he´s gonna know a lot of what we do,’ said veteran safety Devin McCourty, who won three Super Bowls with Brady. ‘So what we do, we´ve gotta do a good job of. We have to play our best football.’
44-year-old Brady is still playing at a high level after taking the Bucs to a Super Bowl title last season. He leads the league this season with 10 touchdown passes and his 362.3 passing yards per game are second to Las Vegas´ Derek Carr.
Tampa Bay´s 34.3 points per game are also tied for tops in the NFL, thanks largely to one of the most stacked offenses in the league that includes receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans.
‘This is one of those weeks where we can´t have a bunch of `my bads,´’ McCourty said. ‘We gotta be on.’
Although Bill Belichick reportedly thought Tom Brady (pictured) was done, the quarterback went on to win a record seventh NFL title as a member of the Buccaneers last season
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, left, stands with head coach Bill Belichick, right, during an NFL football practice in 2018, in Foxborough
New England won’t have to worry about Rob Gronkowski, another old friend. The tight end, who teamed with Brady on so many big plays over the years with the Patriots, is out because of a rib injury.
As much as Brady knows the Patriots, they also know him. But Belichick, 8-11 since Brady’s departure, said it doesn’t mean they will reinvent themselves this week.
‘Certainly, Tom has an intimate knowledge of everything that we do here, more so than any other player in the league by far. So, I’m sure he’ll use it to his advantage. I would expect him to,’ Belichick said.
‘I don´t think it would be in our best interest to go in there and do everything differently than we’ve done it all year. What we need to do is continue to do the things we do and do them better. That would help us more than anything else.’
‘There’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady,’ Belichick said during a Thursday press conference.
Brady returns to the Foxborough stadium Sunday to play on the opposite side of the line
‘I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback and to coach him. He was as good as any coach could ever ask for.’
A victory would make Brady the fourth quarterback with wins against all 32 NFL teams, joining Brett Favre, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning.
With 68 yards passing Brady will surpass Brees´ mark of 80,358 yards, most ever in the regular season.
It would add to his long list of NFL records that already includes most TD passes (591), most wins as a starting quarterback (232), most Super Bowl titles (seven), and most conference championships (10).
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, speaks with senior football advisor Matt Patricia, right, during an NFL football practice earlier this week