Tom Brady has the chance to make history Sunday night.
If he throws for 68 yards, Brady will break the NFL record for most passing yards. Drew Brees, who announced his retirement in March, is the leader, with 80,358 yards.
As a starting quarterback, Brady has thrown for fewer than 68 yards on only one occasion. And there’s an easy explanation: He didn’t play after the first quarter. Against the Miami Dolphins in the regular-season finale in January 2006, Brady completed three of his eight passes for 37 yards before getting pulled for backup Matt Cassel.
The chances of Brady making history Sunday, against the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, seem extremely high. Brees, now an analyst for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” is expecting the moment to happen early.
Brady is averaging 362.3 passing yards per game this season.
“There’s no doubt I think that’s going to get knocked down pretty quick,” Brees said. “I can’t think of a guy who has invested more into his career, his preparation, and what he’s meant for the game. It’s definitely a special record because it speaks to the longevity that he’s been able to experience and the level that he’s been able to play at.”
Brees doesn’t seem to be bitter about losing his place in the record books.
“I’m a firm believer that records are meant to be broken,” he said.
In fact, he’s all for Brady trying to take care of business right from the get-go.
“I’d be all for Brady just launching the first play of the game, just go ahead and get it out of the way,” Brees said. “Let’s have New England kick it in the end zone, start at the 25, and have him launch one to Mike Evans and let’s just be done with it.”
If and when Brady breaks the record, there could be a short stoppage in play to commemorate the accomplishment.
When Brees did so on a 62-yard touchdown pass at the Superdome in October 2018, breaking Peyton Manning’s mark, teammates hugged him and jumped up in celebration at midfield. An official presented Brees with the ball as well as a certificate, while the video boards displayed, “all-time passing yardage leader,” with his photo. Brees’s family — his wife Brittany and four children — were allowed on the sideline, where he hugged them.
Will Brady get to experience something similar? Evans sure hopes so.
“Eighty-some-thousand passing yards is a lot of yards,” Evans said Wednesday. “Hopefully, he can break it soon in the game and have a cool little moment, which he deserves.”
Brady already holds the NFL record for most touchdown passes, with 591. His 115 wins at Gillette Stadium are also the most quarterback wins in a single stadium.
If he throws for 350 yards or more Sunday, however, he could break another record and log the most passing yards in a single stadium. Brees has 35,506 yards at the Superdome, while Brady has 35,157 at Gillette.
Sherman got the call — from Brady
Cornerback Richard Sherman signed with the Buccaneers and is eligible to play Sunday night.
Sherman said on “The Richard Sherman Podcast” that Brady reached out to him, even before Tampa’s front office, to express his interest in teaming up.
“Anytime he makes that call, it’s a very difficult opportunity to pass up,” Sherman said. “We have a very solid relationship. I think we both thought it would be really cool if we had the opportunity to play together at some point in time.”
Sherman said the 49ers, Seahawks and Panthers also called, but the Buccaneers were the most aggressive.
Tampa Bay could use some help at cornerback, as Sean Murphy-Bunting is on injured reserve with a dislocated right elbow. Jamel Dean also suffered a knee injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Rams and did not return. Dean did practice Wednesday, but his availability remains uncertain.
As for whether Sherman will be ready to go against the Patriots?
“In my mind, I always think there’s a chance, but I don’t call the shots around here,” he said. “I’m literally learning the plays on the field today.”
Coach Bruce Arians said the team will “wait and see” what type of shape the 33-year-old veteran is in, noting he has a lot to learn. Sherman most recently played for the 49ers, missing an extended period of time with a calf strain last season.
Gronk does not participate in practice
Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (ribs), running back Giovani Bernard (knee), and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. X-rays on Gronkowski’s ribs came back negative . . . Wide receiver Antonio Brown remains on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but Arians expects him to return Thursday . . . The Bucs placed wide receiver Scotty Miller (toe) on injured reserve, which means he will miss Sunday’s game . . . Arians had some praise for Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones: “I loved him coming out. Smart pocket player who is going to get the ball out. Very accurate. Obviously, pressure didn’t bother him. He played in big games there. He led his team to the championship. He’s legit.”
Nicole Yang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.