Written by Katherine Clatterbuck
Sunday Night Football is filled with history and traditions, including the annual watching of players who recently signed elsewhere or were traded to play their former teams. This past Sunday marked a historic evening as Tom Brady, former quarterback for the New England Patriots, led his new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Foxborough, Massachusetts. While with the Patriots, Brady won six Super Bowl championships, being named MVP four times, and holds many team, conference, and Super Bowl records. When Brady decided to leave the Patriots in 2018 and sign on with the Buccaneers, there was an outpour of emotions from Patriots fans. Before the game started, the pregame show featured advertisements of Tom Brady’s achievements during his time with the Patriots and hyping up his return to the Foxborough stadium. Fans anticipated Brady to break Drew Brees’ passing yards record, adding to the historic events for the evening. Right before the Buccaneers took the field, a tribute video for Brady was played for the crowd, showcasing his time with the Patriots and his achievements for football. As Brady ran out onto the field, the crowd collectively cheered him on, including a large number of Patriot fans in the stands. In the stands, many fans were wearing Brady’s Patriots #12 jersey to honor his return to New England. After the cheers of support, the reaction from the crowd changed when Brady stepped on the field for his first play. Boos echoed throughout the stadium, signifying that although they appreciated his play in the past with the Patriots, the Patriots fans would not support his achievements with the Buccaneers.
In the first quarter, Brady was able to overcome Drew Brees’ passing record of 80,358 yards in a completed pass to Mike Evans. Brady now stands with 80,560 passing yards, another record added to his impressive list (New York Times, 2021). Although the Buccaneers trailed 6-7 at halftime, with the Patriots having the only touchdown of the half, the Buccaneers ended victorious with a running touchdown by Ronald Jones in the third quarter and a missed field goal by the Patriots. The final score was 19-17, as the Patriots lost their third home game. For many, this game presented closure for Brady and the Patriots, seeing Brady in his rightful place back in Gillette Stadium.