With his supermodel wife in his corner, 45-year-old Tom Brady turned back the clock to open his 23rd NFL season, leading his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an easy 19-3 win over the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday night.
The future Hall of Famer finished with a modest 212 yards, completing 18 of 27 passes for a touchdown and one inconsequential interception, but got rave reviews from fans and pundits, such as Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, who said Brady was ‘greater than ever.’
It was the support of Brady’s spouse Gisele Bundchen that stood out, though, coming after weeks of reported friction between the two.
‘Let’s go @Tom Brady! Let’s go Bucs,’ read pre-game a tweet from Bundchen.
The Brazilian beauty left the couple’s Florida home for a Costa Rican vacation because she was angered by his decision to return to the NFL after a 40-day retirement, the New York Post reported on September 1.
US Weekly also reported one insider saying: ‘Gisele was not happy when Tom un-retired from the NFL after such a short time. There is tension between them.’
Rumors of frication haven’t been quieted by Bundchen’s tweet, (she didn’t attend the game in Arlington, Texas) but it did turn Brady’s marriage into a secondary story on Sunday night, as he reminded fans why he decided to come back in the first place.
Tom Brady helped the Buccaneers to a Week 1 victory over the Dallas Cowboys
Bundchen (pictured at Super Bowl LV with Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, in February of 2021) has reportedly taken issue with her husband’s decision to return for a 23rd season
But Gisele poured cold water on divorce rumors by posting ‘Let’s go Tom Brady!’ on Twitter
‘Tom Brady is getting younger,’ former Eagles tight end Clay Harbor said alongside a picture from the movie Benjamin Button.
Though it wasn’t completely vintage Brady, the quarterback certainly had his moments, including a beautiful 48-yard pass to Julio Jones and a touchdown pass to Mike Evans.
By Brady’s lofty standards, it may not have been his best performance, but it still seemed to impress fans.
‘Although Father Time is undefeated, he’s gotta be at least a little bit nervous about Tom Brady,’ pro golfer Max Homa said.
‘Tom Brady is 45 years old that’s incredible upkeep of his body,’ another Twitter user said.
Despite the win – which boosted his all-time record against the Cowboys to 7-0 – Brady wasn’t thrilled with his performance. ‘We have a lot to clean up, obviously it was a pretty bad performance in the red area from us,’ Brady told NBC told after the game, referencing his team’s one touchdown in four red zone trips’
Brady hugely impressed fans with his performance on Sunday night – even if wasn’t his best
But despite the win – which boosted his all-time record against the Cowboys to 7-0 – Brady wasn’t thrilled with his performance.
‘We have a lot to clean up, obviously it was a pretty bad performance in the red area from us,’ Brady told NBC told after the game, referencing his team’s one touchdown in four red zone trips.
‘I can do a better job than I did tonight.’
Brady was also asked if he still felt like he had anything to prove at the age of 45.
‘I think we all do,’ he said. ‘I think every time you take the field you have something to prove.
A fan holds up a sign Sunday night as the Buccaneers played the Cowboys in Dallas
A fan holds a sign that makes reference to Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
Last week, Brady explained his decision to come back this season by saying he still has some football left in him, and he owes it to the Bucs.
‘Well, I just felt like I had a little left,’ Brady said during his SiriusXM show on September 6. ‘And I want to give it a shot.
‘I owed it to my teammates and our great coaches and our whole organization.’
The Bucs quarterback has been explaining his 40-day retirement and his subsequent reversal of that decision for months, routinely remarking on the difficult balance between his professional and family lives.
He even took an excused absence from Bucs training camp for mysterious ‘personal reasons,’ which have yet to be explained, publicly.
Then, Page 6 reported that Brady and Bundchen had a ‘series of arguments’ over his NFL return, prompting her to fly off to Costa Rica for some time apart.
‘They had agreed he would retire to focus on the family, then he changed his mind,’ the inside source told Page 6. ‘They have a fiery relationship. Gisele is a bit hot-headed.’
Last week, Brady explained his decision to come back this season by saying he still has some football left in him, and he owes it to the Bucs. ‘Well, I just felt like I had a little left,’ Brady said during his SiriusXM show on September 6. ‘And I want to give it a shot
Brady pictured after his Super Bowl LV win in February of 2021 alongside his wife, Gisele, eldest son Jack, and younger children Ben and Vivian Lake
Speaking in the first episode of his SiriusXM show’s second season, Brady did not address the Page 6 report, or any alleged friction between himself and his supermodel wife.
He did, however, continue to stress the importance of family in his life.
‘Even though I’m playing in my 23rd year, I have a freshman in high school that is playing football, too,’ Brady said, referring to his eldest son, Jack, whom he shares with his former partner, actress Bridget Moynahan. ‘I have a 12-year-old that is going through his life. I have a 9-year-old that is going through her life. And I have parents.’
Bundchen has been public about her desire for Brady to leave football altogether. In 2017, she told CBS that he has suffered unreported concussions and she worried about his long-term health. A joint NFL and players’ union investigation found there was no evidence that Brady or his former team, the New England Patriots, failed to follow the league’s policies or procedures on concussions.
Brady has won a pair of Super Bowls since then, adding to his legacy while also exposing himself to the increased health risks associated with a long NFL career.
And Brady’s offensive line in Tampa Bay isn’t what it once was, as seen by the pair of sacks the unit yielded to Dallas on Sunday.
Guards Alex Cappa (signed in Cincinnati) and Ali Marpe (retirement) are now gone, while center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury in training camp.
Brady’s offensive line in Tampa Bay isn’t what it once was, as seen by the pair of sacks the unit yielded to Dallas on Sunday. Guards Alex Cappa (signed in Cincinnati) and Ali Marpe (retirement) are now gone, while center Ryan Jensen suffered a knee injury in training camp