Rejoice, Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins fans and everyone in between! The state of Massachusetts is approving mobile sports betting and DraftKings Sportsbook will soon be available for residents. The launch date for the DraftKings Sportsbook App is TBD, but expect it to come soon.
In honor of the Massachusetts launch, we will be reliving some of the biggest sports moments in state history over the next week. Why not kick things off with the G.O.A.T, Tom Brady?
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On August 3, 1977, Thomas Brady Sr. and Galynn Patricia welcomed their fourth child and only son into the world. While the Bradys surely had high hopes for their youngest child, not even they could have predicted what he would achieve. Just like that, the greatest quarterback of all time was born.
He was named Thomas after his father but eventually grew to be called Tom as the years went on. Brady grew up in San Mateo, California. As a kid, he fell in love with the game of football, regularly attending 49ers games in the 80s. He quickly developed an infatuation with the man he now calls his idol, Joe Montana.
Physically, Brady had a knack for the game, but football wasn’t the only sport that piqued his interest. During his four-year career at Junipero Serra High School, Tom also played basketball and baseball, in which he showed significant potential as a catcher.
Brady was so highly-touted on the diamond that he ended up being selected in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. However, instead of taking his talents to Canada, he chose to play football at the University of Michigan to eventually pursue a career in the NFL.
Brady didn’t start for the Wolverines until his junior year but quickly established himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in the country once he got the opportunity. He led Michigan to a 1999 Orange Bowl victory and began to draw nationwide attention.
After graduating, Brady entered the draft process. His mental aptitude for the game stood out, but his physical gifts were clearly lacking compared to other draft prospects (we’ve all seen the notorious combine picture).
He was eventually chosen in the sixth round, #199 overall in the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Brady was initially viewed as nothing more than insurance for franchise quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was under contract long-term.
After sitting behind Bledsoe for the entirety of his rookie campaign, Brady got his shot as a sophomore. In Week 2 of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was injured on an incredibly hard hit from Mo Lewis that almost killed him. He suffered a hemothorax, and a doctor apparently told his wife that he might not make it. Luckily, Bledsoe made a full recovery.
In his absence, Brady took over as the starter and was an effective game manager, making simple plays and minimizing mistakes you often see from young players. With Brady under center, the Patriots posted an 11-3 record in the remainder of the regular season.
Led by the sophomore sensation, New England made a magical playoff run that was topped off by an upset over Kurt Warner and The Greatest Show on Turf in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Just like that, the Patriots dynasty began, and the legend of Tom Brady was born.
At the age of 24 years and six months, Tom Brady became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. The sophomore surpassed Joe Namath and his idol, Joe Montana in the process.
This victory was a turning point for the Patriots, who had never won a Super Bowl. It also represented an official changing of the guard under center, as the team traded Drew Bledsoe to the Bills in the off-season.
2002 saw the Patriots fall victim to the classic Super Bowl hangover. Brady continued to be a solid starter, but was prone to mistakes you didn’t see in his first year at the helm. While he led the league with 28 passing touchdowns, he also posted 14 interceptions. New England ended up missing out on the playoffs altogether due to a wild card tiebreaker. This led many to question whether the Patriots’ 2001 success was a fluke.
Spoiler alert, it wasn’t.
Brady, Belichick and company came back with a vengeance. After a slow start to the 2003 campaign, New England rattled off 12 straight wins to secure the AFC East title at 14-2.
The Patriots cruised to the Super Bowl where they defeated Jake Delhomme and the Panthers in a thriller, capped off by a game-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri (this was a theme for New England’s Super Bowl wins). Brady led his team to the 32-29 victory with 354 passing yards and three touchdowns, earning the second Super Bowl MVP of his career.
In the 2004 season, Brady and New England extended their win streak from 2003 to 21 total victories, breaking the 1972-73 Dolphins’ record. The Patriots breezed to another AFC title with a 14-2 record, taking care of the Colts and Steelers in the AFC Divisional and Conference Championship rounds.
Brady and company defeated the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, capping off a dominant back-to-back campaign. As it currently stands, they are the last team to win two-straight championships.
After winning three titles in four years, the Patriots went on a bit of a Super Bowl drought. However, that didn’t stop Brady from cementing his spot among the greatest to ever play the game.
In 2007, he was the definition of dominant. With the help of a revamped receiving corps (which included an incredible career revival from Randy Moss), he threw for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns, which set an NFL record at the time.
Brady’s incredible season translated to team success, as the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season for the first time in NFL history. Unfortunately, their hopes for a perfect season were dashed by Eli Manning and the Giants in the Super Bowl.
New England’s championship aspirations were prematurely crushed in Week 1 of the 2008 campaign, as Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury.
That being said, if you tuned into a Patriots game in 2009, you wouldn’t have ever suspected that Brady was coming off a brutal injury. He looked polished as ever, finishing the season with 4,398 passing yards and 28 touchdowns despite suffering a broken finger in his throwing hand and three fractured ribs throughout the year. To no one’s surprise, he was named the 2009 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
Brady continued his elite play in 2010, becoming the first-ever unanimous MVP with 3,900 yards, 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
In 2011, Brady finished with an incredible 5,235 passing yards, becoming one of two players to break Dan Marino’s single-season record at the time (Drew Brees broke it in the same season, finishing with 5,476 yards). The Patriots met the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI for a rematch, but it was Eli Manning who emerged victorious once again, becoming the only quarterback to beat Brady twice in the Super Bowl.
2012 and 2013 saw more of the same from Brady, but also more of the same from New England in terms of disappointing playoff losses, as the team fell two straight times in the AFC Championship.
The ‘13 loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos marked the ninth season since New England’s last Super Bowl victory. Brady was determined to make sure that mark didn’t hit double digits.
Not in New England. After getting a taste of dominance in the early 2000s they wanted more, and Belichick and company made sure to oblige them.
The Patriots clinched yet another AFC East title in 2014, and Brady led his team to an incredible comeback victory in the Divisional Round against Baltimore.
New England went on to cruise in the AFC Championship, defeating the Colts 45-7. However, we all know the story doesn’t end there for that game.
Super Bowl XLIX was one for the ages. Brady threw for 328 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, leading his team to a 10-point 4th quarter comeback — which set the NFL record at the time — against Seattle. Malcolm Butler capped off the 28-24 victory with a goal line interception.
Brady clinched his fourth championship, tying him with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for the most Super Bowl wins by a starting quarterback. He also won his third Super Bowl MVP, tying another record held by Montana.
The 2015 offseason arrived and Brady was at the center of controversy. A report published by the NFL on May 6 stated that he had played a significant role in the deflation of footballs used in New England’s AFC Championship domination against Indianapolis.
On May 11, Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspension when it was appealed, but the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ultimately overturned the decision on Sept. 3.
After a tumultuous offseason, Brady was allowed to suit up for the entirety of the 2015 campaign. He continued his elite play, finishing the regular season with a league-leading 36 touchdown passes and just seven interceptions. Unfortunately, the Patriots would eventually fall to the Broncos and their stifling defense in the AFC Championship.
In the 2016 offseason, Brady and Deflategate were once again the center of attention, as the U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated his four game suspension. Brady finally accepted the terms and served the suspension at the beginning of the 2016 season.
When he returned in Week 5, it was with a vengeance.
Over that 12-game stretch, Brady threw for an incredible 28 touchdowns with just two interceptions, leading the Patriots to their eighth straight AFC East title. New England dominated the Texans and Steelers in their first two playoff matchups, setting up a face-off with the red-hot Atlanta Falcons.
I don’t even need to tell you what happened in this game. Down 28-3, the Patriots mounted the greatest comeback in NFL history. Brady completed 43 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns, eventually defeating Atlanta 34-28 in overtime.
With this victory, Brady set the NFL records for most Super Bowl victories for any quarterback and most Super Bowl MVPs. But he wasn’t done there.
Not even close.
2017 began with slightly more controversy, as rumors swirled that Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, wanted him to retire due to the amount of concussions the quarterback had sustained throughout his career.
After an extensive medical investigation, Brady was cleared to play in the 2017 season, and he continued his dominance. At 40 years of age, he became the oldest quarterback to lead the league in passing yards with 4,577. Earning 80% of the votes, he was named NFL MVP for the third time in his career.
New England put together another impressive postseason run before being upset by Nick Foles and the underdog Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
The Patriots bounced back once again in 2018, clinching the AFC East title for the 10th consecutive season. Brady was impressive per usual, finishing the year with 4,355 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Following offensive outbursts in the AFC Divisional and Championship rounds against the Chargers and Chiefs, many expected Super Bowl LIII to be an extremely high-scoring affair. After all, two of the league’s best offenses were matching up in the Patriots and Rams.
That’s not exactly what happened.
New England’s incredible defense, led by Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, completely shut down Todd Gurley and the Rams. Brady made the necessary plays to set the Patriots up for victory, eventually winning 13-3.
It was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, but rings are rings, and Brady earned his sixth, becoming the only player ever to win that many championships.
2019 was a struggle. The Patriots were financially restricted, and Belichick was unable to offer Brady the extension he was looking for. Working with limited weapons, Tom was lights out to begin the season, leading New England to an 8-0 record.
Despite the impressive start to the year, Brady was clearly unhappy with the roster Belichick had constructed. Their lack of talent was apparent in the second half of the season, going 4-4 over the final eight-game stretch before eventually losing to Tennessee in the Wild Card round.
On March 17, 2020, Brady shocked the world by announcing that he would not re-sign with the Patriots, ending his 20-year stint in New England.
Many questioned if Brady had lost his touch after a disappointing final year with the Patriots. That being said, he had multiple suitors, and eventually signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, eager to prove the doubters wrong.
The Bucs put together a stacked team on both sides of the ball. After dealing with an aging Julian Edelman as his best receiver for the last few years, Brady was now throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, a refreshed Rob Gronkowski and eventually Antonio Brown.
The 43-year-old made sure not to squander this opportunity, showing everyone that he was not the problem in New England in 2019. Brady finished the 2020 campaign with 4,633 passing yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The playoff run that followed could have been ripped right out of a storybook.
Brady defeated Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and finally Patrick Mahomes in three straight games to clinch his seventh championship in Super Bowl LV. With this victory, he became the oldest quarterback to start, play, win and receive the MVP in Super Bowl history.
Brady played two more seasons in Tampa Bay, winning the NFC South both times before ultimately losing in the playoffs.
After 23 years of dominance, Brady has cemented his place as the greatest quarterback of all time. From a sixth-round draft pick to seven rings, there will never be another like him.
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