Tom Brady is expected to break the record for career passing yards on Sunday night when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the New England Patriots, his former longtime team, at Gillette Stadium. And if it happens, the Patriots don't have anything planned beyond a brief pause in the game to acknowledge Brady's achievement.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the Patriots will pause the game and recognize the moment if Brady breaks the record, but have no plans to fully stop the game for a longer celebration or a ceremony of any kind.
Brady has 80,291 career passing yards going into Sunday's game, and needs just 68 yards to pass former New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees' record of 80,358.
Sunday night is a homecoming for Brady. It's the first time he's facing the Patriots or playing at Gillette Stadium since signing with the Buccaneers before the 2020 season. If his social media is any indication, he's looking forward to it.
Brady's not the only one excited about Sunday's Bucs-Pats game. His homecoming has spurred a massive uptick in the number of credentials the Patriots typically issue for a normal home game.
Patriots issued 506 media credentials for tonight, including 262 to NBC. For perspective, Patriots issued 206 total media credentials for the team's season opener vs. Miami, with 70 going to CBS. Last week vs. the Saints, Patriots issued 215 credentials, including 60 to FOX.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 3, 2021
What happened the last time this record was broken?
The last time this record was broken was 2018, when Brees hit 71,941 career passing yards during a home game against the Washington Football Team. The conditions had been perfect: the Saints crushed Washington, so by the time Brees threw a 62-yard touchdown pass to break the record, the game was already pretty much decided. Since it was being played at home, the Saints stopped the game so that Brees' accomplishment could be celebrated. His family joined him on the field, and there was a ceremony.
In a vacuum, it makes sense that Brady wouldn't get that kind of reception as a visitor. You'd assume that the home team would simply recognize the record and move on, as the Patriots are. But in the non-vacuum real world, Brady played for the Patriots for 20 years. He threw 74,571 of his career passing yards in a Patriots uniform. Since he doesn't play for them anymore, you'd expect the celebration to be more muted, but paring it down to just a moment of recognition doesn't seem quite right for a player who helped make the Patriots a fearsome juggernaut.