Over the course of more than two decades in the NFL, Tom Brady has developed a fair share of good friends. Many of his closest will be in the same building when the Buccaneers take on the Patriots in Week 4 of the 2021 season.
While the Sunday night matchup figures to be one of the most anticipated regular-season games in league history, Brady already seems to be bracing for an awkward reunion in Foxborough.
Count Brady's father, Tom Sr., among those ready for the prime-time affair.
"I saw the schedule come out last night and I started salivating when I saw that we play the Patriots in the fourth game of the season, and that we're coming up here to make our record 4-0 after the fourth game," Brady Sr. said Thursday on the "Zolak and Bertrand" radio show, per ESPN. "We expect to beat the Patriots rather handily, frankly."
The meeting won't be completely animus, however. Brady did win six Super Bowls with some of those old friends, including Pats coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. In the aftermath of Tampa Bay's SB win over the Chiefs, New England sent out a congratulatory tweet to "the greatest of all time." Brady had referred to his 20 years with the Pats as "magical" just a week before.
But the fact that he was able to add to his hardware with a seventh title (and fifth SB MVP) one year after leaving the Patriots might dredge up a bit of resentment from both sides. A year ago, New England decided to part ways with TB12 after getting bounced by the Titans in the Wild Card Round, where Brady's final pass was a pick-six. The 2020 season proved it was the Pats who'd fallen off, and without a solid Plan B at QB, they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008 while Brady and the Bucs won it all.
New England's starting QB remains TBD after re-signing Cam Newton and drafting Mac Jones in the first round. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is considered a good bet to contend for another championship. Those will all be footnotes on Oct. 3 as Brady takes the field at Gillette Stadium again. Especially for Brady.
Breaking up is never easy, even when you catch up with your ex with a new trophy wife on your arm.