With Tuesday’s bombshell announcement that Tom Brady would be moving on from the New England Patriots, it’s only fair to look back on his Patriots career and recount the top ten moments for Brady in New England.
10. Brady throws for 505 yards against the Eagles in Super Bowl 52
One of the few highlights on this list that ends with disappointment, but it would be remiss not to include the greatest singular quarterbacking performance in the history of the Super Bowl. Super Bowl 52 was a track meet in Minnesota, and three receivers for the Patriots totaled over 100 yards. The Patriots may have lost the game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it certainly wasn’t Brady’s fault.
9. Brady sparks late comeback vs Bills to begin 2009
Coming off a torn ACL in 2008, there was an air of uncertainty surrounding the return of Brady. Taking on the Buffalo Bills in their throwback red uniforms, the Patriots were down 24-13 with just over two minutes to play. Brady found Benjamin Watson twice in 1:14 to take the lead, starting a campaign in which he won Comeback Player of the Year.
8. Patriots come back from 23 down against Denver
This is another regular-season game that goes unheralded, but it was Wes Welker’s return to New England with the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning. After a horrid first half that saw Denver up 23-0 at the break, the Patriots scored 28 unanswered and eventually won 34-31 in overtime.
7. 2017 comeback vs Jacksonville
The Patriots were down 24-14 in the fourth to the best defense in the league in 2017, as “Sacksonville” was on the verge of an upset. But Danny Amendola caught a 3rd-and-18 pass from Brady and the Patriots scored two late touchdowns with Amendola to come back on Jalen Ramsey and co. It’s worth noting that New England played the majority of the game without Rob Gronkowski, who was lost to a concussion during the game.
6. Tuck Rule game
Before the Patriots were truly the “Evil Empire,” they had to benefit from some luck. Brady and co. took on the Oakland Raiders in snowy Foxborough, where Brady engineered a late touchdown drive culminating in a Brady run and a subsequent field goal drive from Adam Vinatieri to send the game to overtime. It was the game that birthed the Patriots dynasty, and the lasting image will be not only the “Tuck Rule” play but also Brady spiking the ball and falling down into the snow with it after finding the end zone.
5. Super Bowl 38 GW Drive
Perhaps the least memorable of Brady’s comeback drives in the Super Bowl, Super Bowl 38 against Carolina definitely deserved a spot. After a roller-coaster fourth quarter, John Kasay’s botched kick gave the Patriots great field position, where Brady went to work, eventually finding Deion Branch to set up Vinatieri for another game-winning kick.
4. 2007 season and MVP
While it might not have ended in victory, Brady’s 2007 deserves to mentioned up in the echelons of the greatest seasons ever. 50 touchdowns. An unstoppable combination with Randy Moss. An undefeated regular season. And this was coming off a mediocre 2006. This was the height of Brady’s powers, and why he took home the league MVP.
3. Super Bowl 36 GW Drive
The drive that showed everyone who Brady was starts off the top three. Against the wishes of John Madden, the California kid embarked on a drive that included a massive catch to Troy Brown. Vinatieri hit yet another game-winning kick (see a pattern?) to give the Patriots their first Lombardi, and it touched off the tremendous two-decade run that Boston sports have been on ever since.
2. Super Bowl 49 fourth quarter
Was there any doubt of what would be the top two moments? It was close, but silver goes to the Super Bowl 49 comeback against the Seahawks. Down 10 in the fourth against the greatest defense of this generation, Brady found Amendola and Julian Edelman in the end zone to give New England the lead. Brady threw for over 100 yards in the fourth quarter alone, and Malcolm Butler’s interception gave the Patriots their first title in a decade.
1. Super Bowl 51 comeback
Finally, there is the greatest comeback in football history. Everyone knows the story. 28-3 with just over two minutes to go in the third quarter. Brady threw for over 200 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime alone. Of all the Patriots moments, this was the height of the Patriots powers. It gave Brady the most titles for a quarterback, and it solidified the legacy of the greatest player of all time.