FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — We’re not saying Tom Brady purposely waited until his highly anticipated return to Gillette Stadium to become the NFL’s all-time leading passer so he could further torment his former team, but the timing does feel suspicious.
Brady — who won six Super Bowl titles over 20 seasons with the New England Patriots before departing to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — entered Sunday night’s game with 80,291 career passing yards, 68 yards shy of passing former New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees for the No. 1 spot.
The task proved to be a short order for TB12. The 44-year-old wasted no time erasing his deficit to Brees, as he achieved the mark with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. If the mere presence of the Patriots’ prodigal son in Foxborough, Massachusetts, wasn’t enough to get the people going (spoiler: it was), the legendary quarterback reaching the milestone surely did the trick.
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2021
Before Brady made history, he was welcomed back to his old stomping grounds with a tribute video befitting of a man who earned four Super Bowl MVPs throughout his tenure with the franchise.
Welcome back, @TomBrady.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 4, 2021
Not quite the Sunday Night Football promo set to Adele’s “Hello,” but it still undoubtedly tugged at the heart strings of conflicted Pats fans.
Brady is AMPED UP in Foxborough ⚡
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2021
As fired up as Brady was running out onto the field for the first time since taking his talents to Tampa Bay, the crowd matched his energy — and then some, as booming “Brady!” chants enveloped the stadium.
All of Gillette Stadium chanting Brady’s name 🔈 #TheReturn
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 4, 2021
That is … until they didn’t. Once the game began, New England fans quickly checked their emotions and graduated — in unison — from the “I miss you” phase of the breakup to the “I hope you get sacked for leaving us” phase with a resounding chorus of “boos.”
Tom Brady comes out for the first series and..well…
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) October 4, 2021
We had to know it was coming.
Will the long-awaited reunion go the Patriot Way, or the Brady way?