The 2021 NFL season gave us spectacular moments that will be remembered for decades. One of them was the return of the best quarterback in the history of American football to the place where he grew up. Tom Brady returned to what had been his house but this time, not as the hero, but as the rival to beat. The prodigal son had returned, New England had to face the monster he created.
65 thousand people gathered on October 3, 2021 at Gillette Stadium, to see once again the man who made them great. A year had passed since the fracture of the relationship between the Patriots and Tom Brady. A 20-year affair that was coming to an end, due to a clear estrangement between the superstar and Bill Belichick, the team’s coach. Despite the obvious broken communication between the two during the last season, they praised each other in the press room. One was the teacher, the other the star student.
The Pats received him with an emotional video broadcast on the stadium’s television stations, raising the spirits of the public with a standing ovation and causing some to tear up for nostalgia. Brady walked onto the court, escorted by his new family, the Tampa Buccaneers.
The game, in addition to the return of an idol to his home, looked special due to the fact that Tom was just under 70 yards away from surpassing Drew Brees’ mark, for the most passing yards in the history of the NFL and in professional football history. The story was about to be written and again Tom Brady, as the one who took the pen and paper.
It was the second inning for the Buccaneers when a 28-yard completion from Brady to Mike Evans marked a historic milestone. The record was for Tom and the stadium screens gave him recognition, making the feat official. That play would end in a field goal, putting Tampa ahead.
Rob Gronkowski’s absence was noted when the Florida team struggled to score in the red zone. And as they say out there, he who forgives dies. After a failed field goal attempt, Mac Jones and the Patriots offense chained several plays that would end in an 11-yard pass to Hunter Herry who scored the touchdown. Achieving that despite the fact that Tampa added another field goal, the 6-time winners of the super bowl, finished the halftime leading the score.
Tampa started the first half with energy and after recovering a fumble by JJ Taylor, they managed to catch New England in their own territory, converting a touchdown thanks to Ronald Jones. The young Mac Jones, with the pressure of facing the one who was once his idol, knew how to deal with the pressure and after making 19 successful passes in a row he managed to find Jonnu Smith on the first play of the fourth quarter. 14-13, New England regained the lead. The matchup had a couple of swings up the scoreboard, but the last key play would be when, down 19-17, Mac Jones had the Patriots on enemy territory and a field goal possible. It wouldn’t be Brady, it wouldn’t be Mac, it was Nick Folk the man destined for the cover. It was 56 yards for the victory, the rain made the transmission shots more epic, the ball had gained height and seemed to be heading to the lower area of the goalpost. However, the ball took a curve and ended up hitting the left post. New England lost the game.
Tom Brady greeted his expected heir to the Pats, Mac Jones, and the man with whom he dominated the NFL for two decades, Bill Belichick. Boston applauded the best player in franchise history and the best quarterback of all time. Tom Brady was leaving home once again and waiting to meet again in the future.
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The day Tom Brady came home