The New England Patriots, held a special ceremony to honor the legendary quarterback during halftime of the team’s season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and there was no empty seat when Tom Brady addressed the teeming crowd at the Gillette Stadium.
“This is an incredible celebration for me, for our family, for my teammates, for all of us to come back and thank you guys, for what you’ve done for us,” Brady said. “I was so fortunate to be drafted here two decades ago — 23 years, to be exact — not even knowing where New England was on the map. And not that we put it on the map, but I think a lot more people in the U.S. know where the New England Patriots play.”
A sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, Brady will enter the Patriots Hall of Fame first, owner Robert Kraft announced on Sunday. Kraft announced that he was waiving the four-year waiting period for the team’s Hall of Fame, allowing Tom to be inducted next year. His induction is slated for June 12, 2024, inside Gillette Stadium.
Tom Brady’s long dynasty in New England featured six Super Bowl championships, 17 division titles and 2019 regular-season wins. Wearing his legendary No.12 Patriots jersey, the former sixth-round pick raced out onto the field before addressing the crowd, shouting to the New England crowd once crossing the end zone as he had done for 20 wonderful seasons.
“We had a culture of teammates and cared about two things,” Brady said. “They cared about each other and they cared about winning. And if you didn’t care about those two things, you did not last here very long. And we were very happy to play against you. So I think we proved to America what teamwork’s all about. We prove that believing in each other, believing in playing for this community, and believing in playing for a common mission, we were able to pull down six of those banners and celebrate them in this stadium.”
This was the first time Brady appeared in New England since he announced his retirement in February. He finished a 23-season-long career after his third campaign in Tampa Bay, where he added a seventh Super Bowl ring and became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
He finished his speech with an excellent summation of his legendary career and a proclamation that got a big cheer from the crowd.
“All our lives take us on different journeys,” Tom Brady said. “They take us to different places, they bring different people into our lives, but one thing that I am sure of — and that will never change — is that I am a Patriot for life.”