Tom Brady’s long-awaited return to Foxborough on Sunday has opened the floodgates of memories and moments that the legendary quarterback forged during his 20 years in New England.
During his halftime ceremony in front of a raucous Gillette Stadium crowd, Brady’s greatest hits will surely be broadcast on the team’s new 22,000-square-foot video board.
You know the games by memory at this point.
Dismantling the “Legion of Boom.”
That march down the field against “The Greatest Show on Turf.”
Countless duels against Peyton Manning.
At this point, there’s no need to chronicle Brady’s numerous conquests on the field.
But what about his appearances on the small screen?
As one of the faces of the NFL for over two decades, Brady is no stranger to endorsement deals and TV spots.
Ahead of Brady’s return to New England, let’s go down memory lane of some of the future Hall of Famer’s most memorable commercials:
Honorable Mention: Tom Brady’s Wicked Accent
Even though this isn’t a legitimate commercial, it revolves around Brady’s arduous trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Rather, it’s a video posted by comedy website Funny or Die — but it still warrants a shoutout on this list, especially due to Brady’s pretty solid acting chops as an exasperated QB getting knocked for his non-existent Boston accent.
However, it does raise the question. People really don’t think we sound like that … right?
23. “Not Going Anywhere”
February 2020 was a stressful time for Patriots fans.
With Brady’s future in doubt after a Wild-Card exit against the Titans, the QB further sowed panic among the collective New England fanbase with this cryptic tweet.
“They say all good things must come to an end,” Brady said in this somber Super Bowl spot.
He adds that his teammates, coaches, and fans deserve to “hear it from me.”
And that message is? “Hulu doesn’t just have live sports.”
Not a lot of fans were thrilled with Brady’s ad, which ended with him noting that he wasn’t “going anywhere.”
Brady made good on his promise, although it ended with him taking his talents to Tampa just a few months later.
22. Spaced Out
Tom Brady has been in a lot of ads since first breaking into the NFL during the 2000 season.
He’s had more than a few classics. He’s had some so-so showings. And some that are just downright bizarre.
Clearly he’s hamming it up for this space-set ad for Unreal Candy. But something just feels off on an ad that runs about 1:50 seconds too long.
Granted, Brady doesn’t exactly have the most sterling record with Unreal Candy ads over the years.
Tom Brady seems like a logical pick to market a high-end cologne, given some of his other endorsements.
But Subway went out there with this ad marketed toward the smell of their baked bread.
We will at least give credit to Subway for doing their homework, noting at the end of the ad that Brady likely wouldn’t even chow down a carb-heavy sub in real life.
But a check is a check.
20. Tom Wick?
Listen, it’s an ad for a mattress. It’s going to be a little odd.
But what is going on in this ad for Beautyrest?
Is a turtleneck-wearing Brady an early precursor to John Wick? A homage to James Bond.
And respectfully, can you at least give the man a pillow or something?
19. Tough Act To Follow
There really isn’t anything special about this Under Armour ad.
But it is interesting to see Brady featured in a spot with Cam Newton, who ultimately ended up being his one-year successor in Foxborough during the 2020 season.
18. Staying Local
In a shocking development, Brady has filmed a few more focused on the Boston accent, such as this 2022 spot for Hertz.
Sitting next to comedian and actual New Englander Alyssa Limperis, Brady tries to do his best impression of a Townie … with mixed results.
We all could see the “wicked pissa” coming from a mile away.
Brady dropped a few more Hertz ads this year, including one that featured an introspective take on one of his popular phrases out on the gridiron.
“Every time I ran on the field, I would yell, ‘Let’s go! But where was I really going,” he tells Yvonne Orji.
17. Attack Of The Clones
Brady’s dedication to his craft and strict adherence to both his on-field and off-field regimens played a large role in his evolution as the greatest quarterback of all time.
Those numerous reps were detailed in grand fashion during this Under Armour spot with an army of Brady clones — all repeating the same drills.
16. Morning Routine
Intel’s 360 Replay Technology was marketed during the Patriots/Falcons showdown in Super Bowl LI as a way to make even mundane tasks look epic.
Brady’s morning routine was the case study in this spot. And even though the bit does wear thin after a while, it still provides a few laughs.
The Patriots and Brady would also get the last laugh against the Falcons later that night.
15. The Invisible Game
Brady always seemed to catch some flak for marketing UGGs, but all of the ads at least tried to craft some unique setpieces involving the former Patriots QB.
Besides the fact that you’d likely never see Brady roaming the halls of a commercial airport, this “invisible game” spot was a creative showcase that highlighted the signal caller’s competitive nature.
14. Down Memory Lane
Another UGG commercial?
This one is a bit stronger than the airport spot, with Brady’s path through a team bus mapping out his road to football stardom.
Starting from his high-school days in San Mateo, Brady also makes his way through the Michigan Wolverines locker room, and his childhood home (where his sixth-round draft selection is displayed on the TV), before the confetti begins to fall with the Patriots.
13. The Dude Abides
Let’s make it three UGG commercials in a row.
This one isn’t as inventive as Brady’s “invisible game” or “bus” spots, but you can’t go wrong in any ad series that features both Jeff Bridges and Julian Edelman.
12. “Cute Kid”
In an NFL ad focused on mapping out the league’s evolving safety protocols, Tom Brady reassures a mother who is concerned about her son’s potential football career.
“Love to meet the little guy,” Brady said.
“Ray, meet Tom,” she responds.
Enter Ravens linebacker and Hall of Famer Ray Lewis.
“Cute kid,” Brady notes as the commercial wraps.
11. Hello From The Other Side
There were no quips or hijinks in this ad, but NBC hit the nail on the head with the song choice in their promo for Brady’s return to Foxborough as a member of the Buccaneers on Oct. 3, 2021.
With Adele’s “Hello” setting the tone on a melancholy ad featuring both Brady, Bill Belichick, and hundreds of Patriots fans, it built up the anticipation for a game that many had already circled on their calendar.
In the end, Brady was decidedly meh in his return to Gillette, completing just 22 of his 43 pass attempts for 269 yards and zero touchdowns. However, he did orchestrate a drive down the field in the fourth quarter that resulted in a 48-yard field goal from Ryan Succop, giving Tampa Bay a 19-17 win.
10. A Trade?
Well, this ad didn’t exactly age well.
But looking beyond the fate of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange company FTX, the ad is actually pretty entertaining. After casually mentioning the possibility of a (crypto) “trade”, Brady sets off a media firestorm revolving around him potentially asking out of Tampa Bay.
Multiple teams and cities line up for the opportunity to bring aboard the star quarterback — including one young Patriots fan digging out his buried No. 12 jersey from the backyard — until Brady clarifies the situation.
Despite its failed venture, FTX had some pretty solid ads featuring Brady and his now ex-wife, Gisele Bündchen. One featured Brady making a call to an individual named “Bill”, who ultimately ended up being a Boston-area bartender.
“First, even if you wanted to come back, we wouldn’t take you,” the bartender noted in his chat with Brady.
“Yes you would,” Brady said.
“You’re right, we would,” the bartender replied.
Brady’s new knack for threatening to return to the NFL is going to get old in a hurry.
But this recent ad is a good one, especially with Jerry Rice, Dan Marino, Emmitt Smith, and Randy Moss all returning to the NFL ranks with lackluster results.
“Unretirement? Who’d be dumb enough to do that?” Brady asks Edelman in the closing scene, ending things with a smile and shrug.
8. Gary The Telemarketer
The sight of Tom Brady with long locks should not distress Patriots fans, considering he took home his second MVP in 2010 while sporting some flow underneath his helmet.
Still, “Gary The Telemarketer” is a bit jarring.
7. Bad Cell Service
It likely pained plenty of Patriots fans to see both Brady and Rob Gronkowski win a Super Bowl together down in Tampa.
But this T-Mobile ad provided plenty of laughs, with Gronk’s cruddy cell phone service sparking Brady’s decision to sign with the Buccaneers.
6. “Get Out There, Old Man”
Brady only plays a small part in the NFL’s impressive “NFL 100″ ad dropped during Super Bowl LIII, but it’s a standout set piece in its own right.
In celebration of the league’s upcoming centennial season, a stacked cast of some of the game’s greats all make cameos as a fumble breaks out during a league gala.
Amid the chaos, then-Browns QB Baker Mayfield turns to Brady.
“Get out there old man,” Mayfield says, prompting Brady to take off his five Super Bowl rings and hand them to the young quarterback before joining in the fracas.
Brady would add his sixth Super Bowl ring just hours after the spot aired, with the Patriots eventually defeating the Rams, 13-3, at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
5. Still not over Deflategate
If there’s anything that Bostonians appreciate, it’s some passive-aggressive venting — especially when it involves Roger Goodell and the whole “Deflategate” saga.
“Just because something’s great year after year doesn’t mean anything’s going on,” Brady said in this Foot Locker ad. “Why can’t some things just be great? It starts with questions, and then questions turn into assumptions, and then assumptions turn into vacations.”
Brady echoed what a whole lot of Patriots fans were feeling from 2015-16, although the QB later regretted filming the spot.
“I don’t exactly know what was going through my mind when I made the decision,” Brady said when asked about doing the commercial, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
4. “I’m Going To Disney World!”
After completing a storybook ending during the Patriots’ improbable run to their first Super Bowl title, a 24-year-old Brady got to deliver this trademark victory phrase after winning MVP honors against the Rams.
The rest, as they say, was history. Brady ultimately charted many trips to Disney during his playing days, appearing in the same ad over and over again following his various Super Bowl conquests.
3. Some O-Line Help
This was another blast from the past, with Brady starring in a VISA ad that featured some of his early Patriots teammates like Tom Ashworth (68), Matt Light (72), Dan Koppen (67), Russ Hochstein (71) and Brandin Gorin (76).
With Brady’s O-line serving as “figurative metaphors” (as Light puts it) for the five layers of VISA’s security protocols, all five big men surround Brady while he is out at dinner.
Just don’t ask for them to pay for the bill.
2. Wrong Huddle
Another classic, Brady gets extra points for managing to drag one of the Patriots’ greatest rivals in a candy commercial.
“If there’s one team that’ll fall for this, it’s the Jets.”
1. “Roger That”
The true GOAT commercial featuring … well, the GOAT.
This spot gets extra props for Brady starring in an ad featuring a local entity in Shields MRI, rather than a global conglomerate.
But credit to all involved for having an amended ad ready to roll as soon as Brady and the Patriots triumphed over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI — with Brady unveiling a fifth ring in a revised spot that dropped as soon as New England completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.
And to end it with a “Roger That” — a clear dig at Roger Goodell after Brady finally secured the last laugh in his post-Deflategate revenge tour?
It’s a work of art.
Conor Ryan can be reached at email@example.com.