Tom Brady has been the Patriots’ starting quarterback for nearly two decades. Even though he is one of the greatest players in NFL history, you would think that there might have been one season in his career when he and the team finished with a losing record.
One thing is for sure, it won’t happen this season, with the Patriots already at 9-1 to ensure themselves of another winning season. But when was the last time Tom Brady was part of a team with a losing season? You have to go back a long time for that answer.
When was Tom Brady’s last losing season?
The Patriots haven’t had a losing season since Brady became their starter in 2001. Even when Brady played for the Michigan Wolverines from 1996-99, their worst record during that stretch was 8-4, so he didn’t have any losing seasons in college either.
If you want to find out when Brady’s last losing season was, you have to go all the way back to 1991, when he was attending Junipero Serra High in San Mateo, California. The team went 0-8 that season, behind self-described “really bad quarterback” Kevin Krystofiak, who was the starter, ahead of backup Brady on the depth chart. Krystofiak quit the team following that season, allowing Brady to become the starter.
Tom Brady’s worst record in the NFL
The closest the Patriots have come to having a losing season during Brady’s tenure was in 2002. They went 9-7 that season, the only time in his professional career that Brady’s team has won fewer than 10 games — pending one more win this season.
That was also the last season that the Patriots didn’t win their division or make the playoffs, with Brady starting more than half of the team’s games. It wasn’t necessarily Brady’s fault, though, because he still led the league in touchdown passes in 2002 with 28, which would remain his career-high until his 50-touchdown campaign in 2007.
One blip on the radar for Brady and the Patriots
That 2002 season was a lone blip on the radar for Brady’s Patriots. It was sandwiched between Super Bowl victories in 2001, 2003, and 2004. And those three Super Bowl titles are just half of the championships the Patriots have won to date with Brady as their starter.
The Patriots have won at least 12 games 12 different times since Brady became the starter — and one of the seasons they didn’t win 12 games was in 2008, when Brady suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 and Matt Cassel was the starter the rest of the season.
The team did still end up going 11-5 that season with Brady’s backup playing instead of him. And, of course, in 2007 the Patriots were the first team in league history to go 16-0 in the regular season, though they failed to complete the perfect season by losing to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
2019 so far
While the Patriots are 9-1 through their first 10 games this season, which is far from a losing season. But, Tom Brady is underperforming compared to what we’re used to seeing from him. He is 256-for-402 passing, throwing for 2,752 yards and just 14 touchdowns and five interceptions.
He is on pace to set his lowest touchdown total since he threw for 25 scores in 2013. Brady’s disappointing numbers this season are likely related to his age — he’s 42 — and the loss of Rob Gronkowski, who retired in the offseason. Gronk was a big target who was able to make some nice plays to catch the ball, which was especially helpful in the red zone. Without Gronk, Brady’s receiving corps isn’t as good as it has been in years past.