The Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the New England Patriots has been one of the most anticipated matchups of the NFL regular season in quite some time as Tom Brady returns to New England for the first time since leaving the team he helped to six Super Bowl titles. Rob Gronkowski also returns to Foxborough this Sunday as Mac Jones and Bill Belichick square off against the defending champions as they try to return to the playoffs after a disappointing 2020 season.
Brady just doesn’t seem to slow down at all, even at the age of 44, and the Patriots’ new quarterback is still finding his footing in the NFL. With a ton of storylines circulating about Brady’s return, the matchup between the two quarterbacks is set to make bizarre history with the largest age gap between two starting quarterbacks in NFL history.
Ageless Tom Brady vs young Mac Jones
Brady is 44 years old but still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He hasn’t slowed down, and the Bucs are 2-1 with all eyes peeled on a Super Bowl repeat. The Bucs have also now added veteran cornerback Richard Sherman to the fold — as if they needed more talented veterans on this roster.
Jones was the 15th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft and battled with incumbent Cam Newton for the entirety of training camp. Newton was cut just before the season began as the Patriots handed Jones the key to the Patriots’ well-oiled machine. Now, in just his fourth career start, he will have to face Brady and the tough Bucs defense, who are just months removed from stifling Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
History is being interestingly made this Sunday. Jones is just 23 years old, and Brady is 44, putting the age gap at 21 years, one month, and two days between the two. Last season, the mark was set when the Bucs played the Los Angeles Chargers, who were led by youngster Justin Herbert.
One can only imagine the reception Brady will receive, and the pressure on Jones will be at an all-time high.
Glorious Foxborough return for TB12
Everybody has been waiting for this. Surprisingly enough, it hasn’t even been two years since Brady left New England, although it feels like an eternity.
These franchises are in much different situations. The Bucs are aiming for a Super Bowl repeat while the Patriots have a rookie quarterback for the first time in a long time and a new wide receiver core. Jones has been off to a bit of a slow start but has also looked decent at times, going 81-for-120 with 737 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions through his first three games.
Gilette Stadium should be buzzing with excitement as Brady makes his way back for the first time since heading south to join Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay.
Jones was born on the same day Brady made his first start for Michigan
The rookie from Alabama against the ageless GOAT quarterback is obviously getting a lot of attention this week. And the age gap is certainly unreal. However, did you know that Jones was born on the same day Brady made his first start for the University of Michigan? Just incredible and yet another testament to the greatness of TB12.
The ageless wonder recently said he hopes to play until he is 50 years old. Watching him thus far in 2021 makes that statement seem like one that could end up happening. It just doesn’t make sense, but Brady doesn’t slow down one bit.
This record between Jones and Brady might not last long, however. The Bucs play the Chicago Bears, and if Justin Fields gets the start, that will be the new record.
Then in January, the Bucs play the New York Jets, and their starter– Zach Wilson– just turned 22 years old, younger than both Jones and Fields.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference