Not only did Tom Brady’s return to New England end up living up to the hype, it actually might have exceeded it. In his return to Gillette Stadium, Brady and the Buccaneers edged the Patriots 19-17 in a game that wasn’t decided until Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal missed after bouncing off the left upright with under 60 seconds left to play.
The win over the Patriots means that Brady has now joined a very exclusive club: He became just the fourth QB in NFL history to defeat all 32 teams.
Besides Brady, the only quarterbacks who have pulled off the feat are Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. It’s one of the most exclusive clubs that a quarterback can join and there’s a chance that Brady might be the last QB to join the club for awhile (Joe Montana and Fran Tarkenton are also kind of in the club. Even though they haven’t beaten 32 teams, they did get at least one win against all 28 teams that existed during their careers).
Out of Rodgers and Roethlisberger, the Packers quarterback definitely has the best chance of joining the exclusive club and it could happen as soon as 2022. The only team Rodgers hasn’t beaten yet is the Packers and if he wants to add them to his list, he would have to be traded to a team that Green Bay plays next year.
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If Russell Wilson ever leaves Seattle, he could also join the list. The Seahawks quarterback has beaten 30 of the NFL’s 32 teams, but still needs to beat the Seahawks and Chargers. If Wilson sticks around in Seattle for another season, the Seahawks play the Chargers in 2022, so he could knock one team off the list. Joe Flacco is the only other active QB who has beaten 30 or more teams (Flacco needs to beat the Ravens and Seahawks to get to 32).
The fact that Brady has beaten all 32 teams is kind of amazing when you consider that there weren’t even 32 teams in the NFL when his career started 21 years ago. Back in 2000, the NFL only had 31 teams and that’s because the Texans didn’t play their first season until 2002. Of the 31 teams that Brady has beaten, his highest win total is against the Bills (32) while his lowest win total is against the Cardinals (one). He’s also 6-0 against the Cowboys, including the Buccaneers’ Week 1 win over Dallas.
Joining the exclusive list of quarterbacks to beat 32 teams isn’t the only major accomplishment Brady pulled off on Sunday night: The 44-year-old quarterback also passed Brees in the NFL record book for most all-time passing yards. Brady is needed just 68 yards to pass Brees and he threw for 269, so he’s now 201 yards ahead of the former Saints quarterback and he’s only going to put more distance between the two of them as the season wears on.
Brady breaking the all-time passing record against the Patriots, plus making them the 32nd team he’s beaten was a very fitting way for the quarterback to celebrate his return to New England.