Last night Tom Brady returned to the house he helped place six Super Bowl Lombardi trophies in.
The game was the last of Sunday night, which was chock full of subplots to intensify the drama leading up to the feature game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
First was the faceoff between teacher and his most successful pupil in head coach Bill Belichick and his former quarterback Tom Brady. Speculation swirled that Belichick is still salty at Brady’s departure from the organization in 2020.
After all, when his contract was set to expire after the 2019 season, Brady showed up to training camp to make a deal. According to reports from Seth Wickersham’s upcoming book “It’s Better to Be Feared,” Brady wanted to stay in New England for the rest of his career.
In addition, Brady wanted a contract that would take him to age 45. Apparently, Pats owner Robert Kraft was on board. However, things fell apart as the deadline to ink an extension encroached.
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2021
Ultimately, the Pats announced a two-year extension with the years voiding after the 2019 league year. This would eliminate the franchise tag on the QB and make him a free agent. Suddenly, Brady’s house in Brookline, Massachusetts, went up for sale.
The stalemate worsened when Brady realized that Belichick was pushing back on what he felt was an alliance between Kraft and the star QB.
“Brady was tired of taking team-friendly deals with no input into how the money saved was spent — and still wanted a long-term contractual commitment,” wrote Wickersham in the book, according to reports.
The Rookie vs. The Veteran
So the Sunday night stage was set for a showdown of epic proportions and coupled with Brady facing his replacement, rookie Mac Jones.
The first-year NFL starter from the University of Alabama beat out Cam Newton for the starting spot, which left Newton off the roster completely. Replacing at quarterback a Heisman Trophy winner who has appeared in a Super Bowl is a significant accomplishment.
It also comes with tremendous pressure. But Mac Jones was here for it.
Although the Patriots are currently 1-3, Jones outplayed Brady — who won Sunday night unceremoniously — finishing 30-for-41 passing for 275 yards with two touchdowns. Jones moved like a machine.
However, Jones’ performance wasn’t flawless as he did throw an interception. But Jones placed the ball in the right spots consistently Sunday night against a Tampa Bay defense that blitzed on 47.5 percent of his dropbacks.
Mac Jones appreciation post 🔟
The rookie QB held his own against the GOAT:
🔺 31/40 Comp/Att
🔺 275 Pass Yards
🔺 2 TD pic.twitter.com/UNsrEC810Y
— ESPN (@espn) October 4, 2021
“After the game, I got a chance to congratulate him in the win, and he’s a great quarterback,” said Jones, “and, yeah, he played well tonight, and that’s pretty much all there was to it.”
After the Pats missed an end-of-game field goal, Brady ultimately took a knee a couple of times to wrap up a 19-17 victory in which he broke Drew Brees’ record for career passing yards, which now stands at 80,560. The world saw Belichick hug Brady on the field at the end of the game.
End Of The Beginning
However, the two also met after the game privately in the visitor’s locker room. It capped off a homecoming of greats.
“We’ve had a personal relationship for 20-plus years. He drafted me here. We had a lot of personal conversations that should remain that way. They’re very private,” Brady said.
“I would say, so much is made of our relationship. Nothing is really accurate that I ever see. It definitely doesn’t come from my personal feelings or beliefs.”
The NFL is a game of storylines, and Brady and the Patriots will be the gift that keeps on giving for the remainder of Brady’s playing days.