In Boston’s rich sports history, the quarterback’s return to Foxborough that you can follow on the Star + platform rises above the returns of Babe Ruth, Roger Clemens and others, according to experts.
FOXBOROUGH– When it comes to the rich sports tradition of Boston,where the return of Tom Brady ranks?
The legendary quarterback won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, before signing as a free agent in March 2020 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers With whom won a seventh.
Many, but not all, agree that Sunday night’s game between the Buccaneers from Brady and the Patriots led by Bill Belichick is at the top of the list.
“This is counted separately,” admitted Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, whose first year at the newspaper was 1981. “All six Super bowls, and then the circumstances of the departure, there is no comparison for it in America. It simply does not exist.
“It would be as if [la leyenda de los Boston Celtics] Larry bird He’ll go back to Sacramento, or something. It is unthinkable. So is this”.
Shaughnessy, 68, who grew up in Groton, Massachusetts, makes an important distinction.
“It is the most important regular season game in the history of sports in Boston, putting aside the race for the pennants and the playoff fallout. So we must remove that, because it is not like that, “he stressed, before pointing out why the Boston Red Sox as possible # 1 when looking from that perspective.
“The last days of 1967 – Saturday and Sunday – you must be old enough to remember. The ‘Heart Boys,’ that was epic, and there was an expectation all summer long. They’re a game behind the Twins with two to play, and you have to win both. There was no other way to do it. For me, that stands out. “
So, too, on October 2, 1978, when the Red Sox and his rivals New York Yankees – both in 99 wins – had a one-game playoff for the AL East crown at Fenway Park. That was the day that Bucky dent earned a new nickname in Boston.
“Obviously the consequences were huge; it was either win or go home. There was no joker. It was all. So you have to get those two. [instancias] from there, “Shaughnessy said.
In doing so, Michael Holley, a former Globe columnist who now hosts a Boston-based late-night sports program for NBC Sports Boston, agrees that nothing beats the return of Brady by the rarity of the circumstances that surround it.
“This is an active situation. There are many unclosed wounds there. Many nerves exposed. I do not feel an exaggeration to say that it is the most important regular season game in the sports history of Boston“, he claimed.
Holley, 51, remembers the anticipation for the “Tuna Bowl” in 1997 – when Bill parcells returned as head coach of the hated New York Jets after four years of driving the Patriots– but he said it does not compare because it did not involve a player or a championship.
It also considers two baseball games involving the former Los Angeles pitcher. Red Sox, Roger clemens: in July 1997 when he made his first return to Fenway Park as a member of the Toronto blue jays, and then in May 2000 with the Yankees against Pedro Martinez from Boston.
“But that was more directed towards Clemens“He explained in reference to the pitcher saying that he wanted to play closer to his home Texas before signing with Toronto.
Steve Buckley, the seasoned columnist for the Boston Herald who now writes for The Athletic, highlights the early November 2007 duel between the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts –Brady vs. Peyton manning– as a solid contender, also citing Clemens when considering some of the city’s most memorable regular-season games.
The game of ’97 when Clemens returned with the Blue jays was remembered by many for his 16 strikeouts, but also the look he threw Clemens toward the box where the general manager of the Red Sox, Dan Duquette, as he got off the pitcher’s knoll.
The return of Clemens, which was different from Brady in the sense that it was not known that he would pitch at Fenway until a few days before the game, it did not have the same flavor as when in 1981 the catcher Carlton Fisk returned as a member of the Chicago White Sox.
“Opening day, 1981, was pretty big,” said 65-year-old Buckley. “The Sox They had ruined it by mailing their contract too late. He went to mediation, and was determined a free agent, quickly signing an agreement with the White sox. He hit home run against Bob stanley [y ganaron los White Sox por 5-3]”.
At the time, Buckley worked in Biddeford, Maine with the former reporter from ESPN.com, Jerry Crasnick. They drove to the game together and “I remember Jerry saying, ‘You can understand why the fans are booing.’
The former place kicker of the Patriots, Adam Vinatieri, heard some boos on his return with the Colts in 2006, the same as the former gardener of the Red Sox, Johnny damon, with the Yankees that same year, after playing a larger role in helping Boston to win his first World Series in 86 years, in 2004.
“The boos to Vinatieri and Damon They always left a bad impression on me, “Shaughnessy said.” Not that it was unanimous, but just having a voice like that was stupid. Those guys did a great service and left because someone wanted them more. “
Few expect there to be anything other than applause for Brady Sunday night, although Holley warns with a touch of humor: “There will still be some fans of the Patriots Let them say, ‘He didn’t have to go.’ And not only did he not have to leave, but he also didn’t have to leave on St. Patrick’s Day! “
And if there was an equivalent in hockey, it would have to be the legend of the Boston Bruins and member of Hall of Fame, Bobby orr, and how he ended his career with Chicago Blackhawks. But the only game of Orr against the Bruins was disputed in Chicago.
Another twist in hockey came with the member of the Hall of Fame, Raymond Bourque, the beloved defender who played for the Bruins from 1979 to 2000. In search of the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup for the first time, he asked for a trade in the final years of his career, and with great class it was granted by the Bruins, winning the Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. The feat of Bourque was celebrated with a rally in Boston where nearly 20,000 attended.
Regarding the Celtics, they were known to retain their players for too long, under the orders of the architect of the championships, Red Auerbach.
“Once you played for him, he was very loyal. It was a way that he distinguished himself from BelichickHe had that soft part, “Shaughnessy recalled.
So while the Celtics had many memorable regular season games, nothing comes close to the dynamics surrounding the return of Brady. And that’s where Upton Bell, the former general manager of the Patriots whose father, Bert, served as commissioner of the NFL, provides a contrasting perspective on Sunday’s game as the most important regular-season game in the history of sports. Boston.
“As someone who has seen the game since 1946, I would say this: I think what has happened here is basically all the controversy created and all the homecoming of someone who should never have been allowed to leave. It’s water under the dam, now.” he declared.
“Understand that he is the greatest player since he let himself go to Babe RuthI blame the media for this, particularly talk shows. If you ask me, I think it has all been raised to a frenzy, when it is just a football game. “
That’s where BellThe 84-year-old believes many miss the point.
“The true passion of the game is how it is run, and for me this is where the focus should be: two of the greatest minds ever to be involved in this game go head to head, one with superior talent. [los Buccaneers], and the other, is like the ‘rope-a-dope’ of [Muhammad] Ali. Belichick he is on the ropes and must find a way for his team, which is not so good, to defeat the best quarterback of all time. “
When measuring what comes on Sunday, Bell he finally concedes that it could come to be seen as a great match. For now, he doesn’t see it that way.
“The best thing about sports is the impossibility of predicting everything,” he said. “But if you want to be realistic, and I’ve seen many of the best regular-season games of all time over the past 70 years, this is not one of them.”