NFL: Minimal Scheduling Overlap for Tom Brady's Bucs, Patriots 'Coincidental'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2020

FILE - In this Jan. 4, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gestures to a teammate before an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tennessee Titans in Foxborough, Mass. A highlight of the opening weekend of the NFL season will have Brady's regular-season debut with Tampa Bay against Drew Brees at New Orleans on Sept. 13 — the first matchup of 40-plus quarterbacks in NFL history. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Sorry, conspiracy theorists. It is apparently just an accident that Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing at the same time as the New England Patriots just two times throughout the entire 2020 season.

"Putting together the 256-game schedule is very complex—it's a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma," league spokesman Brian McCarthy said, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. "The minimal conflicts here are coincidental."

As Reiss explained, the Patriots and Buccaneers don't play at the same time until Dec. 20, which is Week 15. Brady's old team faces the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET, which is the same time his current team faces the Atlanta Falcons.

Jan. 3, which is Week 17, is when the Patriots face the New York Jets and the Buccaneers play the Falcons again at 1 p.m. ET.

The coincidence is partly possible because both teams play five prime-time games, spreading out their kickoff times throughout the season.

Unfortunately for those looking for a showdown between Brady and the Patriots, they will have to wait until the 2021 season. Tampa Bay is scheduled to come to Gillette Stadium next year, which, assuming Brady is still playing, will certainly be one of the most highly anticipated games of the season.

It will likely be a prime-time showdown as well, which will be nothing new for either team after their 2020 schedules.

The only way they will play this season is in a Super Bowl matchup, which would happen in Tampa Bay. That would be a drastic turnaround for the Buccaneers even with Brady considering they haven't even been to the playoffs since the 2007 campaign.

Fans of both teams will have plenty of opportunities to do some scouting of their Super Bowl opponent during the regular season in that hypothetical considering how few times the Patriots and Buccaneers kick off at the same time.