Tom Brady's sense of awareness for all things football is just as keen off the field as it is when he's on the field.
Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in March of 2020 after playing with the New England Patriots for 20 years. It is arguably the biggest free agent signing in NFL history when considering the parties involved.
It didn't take Brady long to take note of one development that occurred as a result of the move, however, and said result was Brady's return to Foxboro in 2021.
Brady spoke on the topic earlier this week on his podcast, Sirius XM's Let's Go! with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray. He was very open about Sunday's return to Foxboro, but also made it very clear that he intends to make sure the Bucs come out of the game with a 3-1 record and not a 2-2 record.
"That's the reality of pro sports, you know, and I think again, I think having the opportunity as a free agent 18 months ago, and, you know, choosing Tampa and then seeing that we were gonna play the AFC East, I knew it would be inevitable," Brady said in response to how he's going to "handle" New England on Sunday. "And, you know, here we are kind of, as we approach this week, you know, it'll be obviously a fun week. There's a lot of buildup, a lot of hype, and I know it's kind of been going on for quite a while. I'm excited to go play a football game and a regular season football game and try to get back on a winning track. And I know it's against the team that I played 20 years for, and I know it's against a very quality team and a great organization and a great franchise, but I'm going to do everything I can to keep it like I normally do.
"I mean, I feel like I put a hundred percent into every week, so it's not like I can say, well, this week I'm going to put 110% in because I try to put a hundred percent in every week to the opponent. You know, I have a lot of obviously tremendous memories. I have some of the greatest experiences of my life took place in the last 20 years, personally and professionally. You know, going back to a place that I know so well with so many friends will be a really exciting thing for everybody. And I think as the ball gets kicked off, I know it's going to be kind of a normal football game and I'm going to have to go do what I've always tried to do, is be a great quarterback for the team that I'm playing on. And I'd love to go up there and get a win against a really great football team.”
The Bucs and the Patriots don't play often and the Bucs win even less when these two teams do play each other, evidenced by the Bucs' 2-7 all-time record. But Sunday's matchup will have a lot more familiarity than what shows up on paper.
Or even more than what shows up on the field, for that matter.
"I think there's different emotions that are queued by, you know, different experiences and feelings. And I think when I think of 20 years in one place, you're right: I know that locker room. I know that home locker room. I know that home tunnel. I know, you know, which way the wind blows. I know everything about that [place]. I know the way it smells. I know what a night game's like. I know what the fans are gonna sound like.
"So, in some ways that will be really unique. I've never had that experience; going to New England will be a first time for me being on the other sideline. So, you know, I'm not going to necessarily reminisce. I don't think this is the moment for that. I'll have plenty of opportunities to reminisce about my football career. None of which I really care to do right now because I'm so much in the moment."
But no matter how unique the overall experience may be, it won't keep Brady from focusing on the task at hand.
"I'm not going to be thinkin' about, you know, 20 years of history. I'm going to be thinkin' about one night of football. A Sunday Night game coming off a really tough loss. They're coming off a really tough loss. So, both teams are going to be fighting and clawing for a win. And I know it's not going to be easy. I know what this team [the Patriots] is all about... I know exactly what they are going to attempt to do to us."
Main Photo Credit: John A. Babiak/@Photog_JohnB
Stay tuned to AllBucs for further coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and other NFL news and analysis. Follow along on social media at @SIBuccaneers on Twitter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.