Tom Brady returns to Gillette Stadium this Sunday and it promises to be a peculiar sight: Brady will wear the orange and pewter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he plays against the New England Patriots, the team with whom he won his first six Super Bowl titles.
In wrestling parlance, Brady leaving the Pats was not a heel turn—if anything, it was an opportunity for him to turn face in the eyes of the rest of the nation. But for football fans in New England, it was devastating to see Brady leave what had been his only NFL franchise, further compounded when he teamed up with another ex-Patriot (and former WWE 24/7 champion) Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay to win yet another Super Bowl.
Kofi Kingston is a proud native of New England. As a devoted Patriots fan, he is still coming to terms with Brady’s departure after watching him play with New England for nearly two decades.
“I’ll never cheer against the Patriots, but I’ll always cheer for Tom Brady,” says Kingston. “But I’m excited for the game. It will be good to see our dad come home.”
The Patriots and Bucs are coming off defeats, and both teams could benefit from a victory Sunday. But there is a lot more at stake than one game in the win-loss column as Brady and his defending Super Bowl champion Bucs meet Bill Belichick’s Patriots.
“It’s going to be a really interesting game,” says Kingston. “There’s obviously the rivalry between Brady and Belichick, all about who was the main one responsible for all the Super Bowls. And the Bucs are very, very good. The Patriots are very clearly the underdogs in this situation with such a young team, but we’ll see. Hopefully Belichick can scheme something up to confuse Brady out there.”
After a year with Cam Newton starting under center, the Patriots are now led by rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who has shown glimpses of a bright future in the first three games of the season.
“It’s a different kind of year for us,” says Kingston. “I don’t want to say it’s a rebuilding year, but we have Mac as our quarterback and he’s a rookie. He’s trying to find himself and get his feet wet, and that’s going to take some time.”
Even with all his appreciation for all that Brady has accomplished, Kingston would like to see the Patriots pull off the victory.
“I think it’s going to be a great game,” says Kingston. “Brady’s going to be in ‘Psycho Tom’ mode, as Skip Bayless likes to say. It will be great to see him in Foxborough again, but I’m pulling for the Pats.”
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