Time flies when you are having fun.
And it’s amazing to think that New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady turns 36 on Saturday and is preparing for his 14th NFL campaign. In celebration, we present to you 36 snapshots, facts and more as a tribute to the prolific signal-caller.
It has not been the best of offseasons for the franchise. Still, Brady remains at the helm of arguably the league’s premier franchise these days and that means anything is possible.
Of course, not all of the times have been fun. So we will sprinkle in some of the bad and maybe a few ugly moments along the way. To be honest, there is not a lot of either given the magnificence of Brady’s career. And also don't assume these points are in chronological order.
So while Tom is busy blowing out his 36 candles on Saturday, try not to blow by these moments too fast.
There are a "bunch" of them.
36. With the 199th overall selection in the 2000 NFL draft, the New England Patriots select quarterback Tom Brady, University of Michigan.
35. It was the opening quarter of NFL 2008 when Brady dropped back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs. In came safety Bernard Pollard and out went Brady for the remainder of the season.
34. The Patriots entered their showdown in Super Bowl XLII with the New York Giants with an 18-0 record in 2007 (regular season and postseason) and had knocked off Tom Coughlin’s team, 38-35, in both teams' regular-season finale. But none of that mattered and Brady’s 266 yards and one touchdown pass went for naught in a 17-14 upset loss.
33. In a Super Bowl rematch with the Giants, the prolific Patriots' offense was stifled in a 21-17 loss in Super Bowl XLVI at Indianapolis. Brady threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns but was intercepted once in the four-point loss.
32. The Patriots looked like they were headed back to the Super Bowl in 2006, especially when the team owned a 21-3 second-quarter lead over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC title game that year. But Brady’s 232 yards passing and one touchdown pass (one interception) went for naught as New England blew an 18-point lead (biggest ever in a championship game) and lost, 38-34.
31. The good news is that Brady became the NFL’s all-time leader in postseason passing yardage (5,949) when he threw for 320 yards in the 2012 AFC title game, but…
30. The bad news is that Brady and the Patriots lost to the Baltimore Ravens, 28-13, in that 2012 championship game. Brady completed 29-of 54 passes on the afternoon, throwing for one score while serving up a pair of interceptions.
29. The good news is that no starting quarterback has won as many postseason games as Brady. He owns a 17-7 record in 24 playoff contests, throwing nearly twice as many touchdown passes (42) as interceptions (22) in those outings but…
28. The bad news is that Brady and the Patriots are just 7-7 in their last 14 postseason tilts. In those games, Brady has thrown for 28 scores but been picked off 19 times. In his first 10 playoff games, Brady didn’t lose any of those contests (10-0), throwing 14 touchdown passes and only three interceptions while winning three Super Bowls along the way.
27. On the wrong end of a 34-9 loss to the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day of 2000, the Patriots opted to give Brady the rookie some fourth-quarter snaps. He completed only 1-of-3 passes, the lone connection a six-yard toss to tight end Rod Rutledge. It was the first completion of Brady’s NFL career.
26. The first touchdown pass of Brady’s career didn’t come until his third NFL start. In the second quarter of a Week 5 clash with the visiting San Diego Chargers, Brady threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Terry Glenn in the second quarter. The Pats would eventually go on to win the game, 29-26, in overtime.
25. Brady played in one game in 2000 and it wasn’t until his sixth outing in 2001 that he finally threw an interception. But he made up for lost time all in one afternoon. Make that roughly 15 minutes.
In a 31-20 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 7 that season, Brady was picked off four times in the fourth quarter. The first was by Broncos’ cornerback Denard Walker, who totaled two of the interceptions while Deltha O’Neal had the other two. And Walker’s second interception was returned 39 yards for a touchdown.
24. A week after knocking off the Jacksonville Jaguars in the wild card round, Brady threw for 341 yards and a score but was picked off twice in a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in the 2005 AFC divisional playoffs. Why bring up the negative? It was the first loss in 11 playoff starts for Brady.
23. It was odd to see, hence why it’s worth a note. In his first 17 games of 2007 (including playoffs), Brady threw 53 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. In a 21-12 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the 2007 AFC title game, Brady managed a pair of scores through the air but was picked off three times. Of course, all’s well that ends well (sort of).
22. Deja pre-vu? A year before his less-than-scintillating performance in the ’07 championship game, Brady met the Chargers in the 2006 divisional playoffs and once again, threw two touchdown passes and three interceptions. And once again, the Patriots escaped with a victory.
21. Almost a reminder as to the amazing path the 2001 Patriots took to a Super Bowl championship. Some will recall that Brady was injured in the second quarter in the AFC title game at Pittsburgh. It was quarterback Drew Bledsoe who led the New England offense to its only touchdown that day. New England’s 24-17 win was a tribute to the team’s defense and special teams, the latter scoring two touchdowns that afternoon.
20. This little tidbit jumped out because it was a reminder of what Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco did in the 2012 postseason, throwing for a combined 11 scores and zero interceptions in winning Super Bowl XLVII. In Weeks 6 and 7 of 2007, Brady threw a combined 11 touchdown passes, wasn’t picked off and put a combined 97 points on the board in road wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins. In those contests, Brady was a combined 52-of-71 (73.2 percent) for a whopping 742 yards.
19. In 2003, the Patriots headed to Miami for a Week 7 showdown with the Dolphins. The game was tied at 13-all after regulation, but Brady ended it in overtime via an 82-yard touchdown throw to wideout Troy Brown, the game-winner in a 19-13 victory for New England.
18. Two weeks later on a Monday night in Denver, Brady and company were at it again. Down 26-23 to the Broncos with just over two minutes to play (after Patriots head coach Bill Belichick took an intentional safety), Brady marched his team 58 yards in six plays. And his 18-yard strike to wide receiver David Givens with 30 seconds to play was the difference in a thrilling 30-26 triumph.
17. It began with a 38-30 win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 5 of 2003 and ended with a 13-7 victory over the New York Jets in Week 7 of 2004. And it was Brady at the helm during the Patriots' 21 straight wins (including playoffs), the longest overall streak in league history. During that stretch, Brady threw 34 touchdown passes and only a dozen interceptions.
16. It is known as the "Tuck Rule" game. The 2001 AFC divisional playoff matchup between the Patriots and Oakland Raiders is known for Brady’s non-fumble and the amazing kicks of Adam Vinatieri. Brady threw for 312 yards and an interception but also ran for New England’s only touchdown of the evening in a snowy 16-13 overtime victory.
15. The defending Super Bowl champions traveled to Pittsburgh for the 2004 AFC championship game and, despite Pittsburgh’s gaudy 15-1 regular-season mark, Brady completed 14-of-21 passes for 207 yards and two scores as New England built a 24-3 halftime lead on the way to a 41-27 win over the Steelers.
14. Brady’s current teammate, quarterback Tim Tebow, certainly must recall the duo’s playoff meeting in 2011 at Foxborough. Brady threw five touchdown passes in the first half and tied the NFL postseason record with six scores by game’s end in a 45-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.
13. It has been interesting to see the transformation of the New England offense and Brady’s reliance on the tight end via the additions of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in 2010. In 2009, Brady threw 28 touchdown passes—20 to wide receivers and seven to tight ends (one to a running back). But in each of the last three years, the Patriots' quarterback has thrown for more scores to tight ends than the other positions. The breakdown: 109 touchdown passes; 58 to tight ends, 46 to wideouts, five to running backs. Of course, as 2013 approaches, what will the New England attack look like with Hernandez gone and "Gronk" on the mend?
12. The Patriots would reach their fifth Super Bowl in an 11-year span thanks to another huge year by Brady in 2011. He completed 65.6 of his throws for 39 scores and only 12 interceptions. And his 5,235 passing yards were the second-most in one season in NFL history.
11. Brady the quarterback has certainly evolved from an efficient to a prolific passer. Since 2007, he has thrown more than four times as many touchdown passes (187) than interceptions (45) in a total of 81 regular-season games. It’s a stark contrast from the first seven years of his career (96 games from 2000-06), when he threw for 147 scores and was picked off 78 times (and won all three of his Super Bowl starts). Very interesting indeed.
10. In what would become a rivalry of things to come, Brady makes his first NFL start against quarterback Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3 of 2001. And although the young quarterback would complete just 13-of-23 passes for 168 yards and zero touchdowns (or interceptions), New England walked away with a resounding 44-13 win.
9. Brady has thrown 42 touchdown passes in his 24 postseason appearances, the third-most touchdown passes in playoff history behind quarterbacks Joe Montana (45) and Brett Favre (44).
8. Only four quarterbacks in NFL history have totaled more touchdown passes than Brady, who has thrown for 334 scores. He trails on Brett Favre (508), Peyton Manning (436), Dan Marino (420) and Fran Tarkenton on the all-time list.
7. Brady currently owns the second-longest streak in NFL history in terms of consecutive games with a touchdown pass. The Patriots' signal-caller has thrown for a score in 48 straight contests. The NFL record is 54 consecutive games by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees from 2009-12. Ironically, Brady needs a score in his first six games in 2013 to tie Brees’ mark. As for New England’s opponent in Week 6 this season, it’s the Saints.
6. It was the greatest display of passing accuracy in NFL postseason history. Brady connected on 26-of-28 throws (NFL-record 92.9 completion percentage) for 262 yards and three scores in a 31-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2007 AFC divisional playoffs.
5. Brady won his second league MVP award in 2010 in a near-flawless season. The quarterback threw for 3,900 yards and a league-high 36 touchdowns and was picked off only four times as the team finished a league-best 14-2.
4. It was a near-perfect season for Brady and the Patriots as the team came within a Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants in 2007 of going unbeaten. But back to Brady, who set a new NFL record with 50 touchdown passes (only eight interceptions), 23 to wide receiver Randy Moss, during the team’s 16-0 regular season and captured league MVP honors. The Patriots also set an NFL record for points scored (589) in a season.
3. While Brady did not earn MVP honors in Super Bowl XXXIX, his team walked away with a 24-21 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Patriots’ third NFL title in four years. In the game, Tom was still terrific, hitting on 23-of-33 passes for 236 yards and two scores in the victory.
2. In one of the more entertaining Super Bowls, Brady was at his best when it counted most. He threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns (one interception) in the team’s 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. And like the team’s win on Super Sunday two years earlier, he guided the club to a game-winning field goal late in the contest and captured game MVP honors.
1. The first one is usually the sweetest, although the Patriots' offense only scored one touchdown in the 20-17 upset of St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady was named the game’s MVP despite throwing for only 145 yards and a touchdown. But it was his clutch drive with less than two minutes to play that set up Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired at the Superdome.