NFL

Bucs QB Brady vs. 49ers: It’s personal

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Coming from the high of a thrilling, last-minute 17-16 win during the Saints on Monday Night Football, the Bucs try to maintain that momentum when they travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. The game holds special significance for quarterback Tom Brady, as it marks a homecoming of sorts for the 23-year veteran. Although he has played in the league for so long, this is only his second visit to the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Yeah, it’s quite unique,” Brady said. “As long as I play to have one experience there, and it was great too. We played out there, it was a rainy day, it was 2016, we had a really good football team and I had a lot of friends and family in the audience. I was running out for the pre-game warm-up and I remember Chip Kelly came by and he said, ‘Damn, it’s a home game for you.’ And it really was. There was a lot of great [things].”

Returning home brings back a tidal wave of memories for the Bucs quarterback and native Californian. It was here that he first fell in love with the game of football.

“I always think of myself as a kid from California, and I grew up with an obvious love for Joe Montana and Steve Young,” Brady said. “And when I went to 49er games, I fell in love with football. We sat there in the nosebleeds. We had four tickets – my mom and dad went, I usually went and then one of my sisters went. I was lucky enough to grow up in the Bay Area at the time. It was just a great time. There were so many great players, it was a great era of football and I loved the 49ers.”

That love for the team would vanish when Brady watched his hometown team pass him again and again in the 2000 NFL Draft.

“I loved them in college, and when they passed me six times, I started hating the 49ers, and that’s just the way it goes,” Brady said.

After secondary school brady chose to go to Michigan for college and never came home because he was drafted by the Patriots. He then opted for the Bucs in his only stint in free agency in 2020, though there was interest in returning to San Francisco. Still, the 49ers had just been to the Super Bowl with Jimmy Garoppolo, who was younger and had just landed a lucrative contract. So Brady instead signed with Tampa Bay and helped the Bucs win Super Bowl LV.

Sunday will be a homecoming game for Brady

Brady will certainly have plenty of friends and family in the stands supporting him, as they have been throughout his career. The only difference is that they don’t have to travel for it.

“I went to Michigan and of course went home whenever I could,” said Brady. “Then I moved further away to Boston, so I moved further and further away from California. I came here, still not getting closer. So my parents have certainly accumulated a lot of frequent flyer miles over the years. It’s been a magical experience. It will be great to go home and see a lot of people I probably haven’t seen in a long time, my aunts and uncles, and try to win a football game.”

Bucs Qb Tom Brady

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

For Brady, the nostalgia of his childhood is just that: nostalgia. Make no mistake. This game is personal and he wants to scare the hell out of the 49ers for passing him in the draft in 2000 and also in free agency in 2020.

When the ball kicks off on Sunday, it’s all business for Brady and the Bucs. He will do everything he can to help his team win.

“Well, I’m not a 49er fan anymore,” said Brady. “Yes, that is long gone. Yes, I tucked those emotions away too. I think my emotion is to do everything I can to help us win this game. I know they know they expect that of me.

“We’re a competitive team and we haven’t always had our best moments this year, but we’re going out there and we’re going to try and play our best football this year. We’re going to take it because we’re playing against a great football team.”

#Bucs #Brady #49ers #personal

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