The New England Patriots will honor former quarterback Tom Brady at some point before or during Sunday's Week 1 showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles.
It will be Brady's first time at Gillette Stadium as a spectator and not a player. Fans will have an opportunity to show their gratitude for all the legendary QB did for the franchise, which had won zero Super Bowl titles before his arrival in 2000 and had raised six banners by the time he left in 2020.
While it will be fun for fans to reminisce and remember the team's glory days, the event also could serve as a painful reminder that the current state of affairs in Foxboro is not very good.
Tom E. Curran explained during Tuesday's episode of Quick Slants.
"If I were Tom Brady, and I am not, you know what I’d be thinking as I arrived back at my childhood NFL home? 'Holy crap. They really let this place go to hell.' You have to imagine that Brady's going to have some pangs of saying, 'Man, somebody else lives here. And they’ll never have anything close to the fun we did. Look, it was time to go. But God I miss it. And I’d go back to all this in one freakin' second.' So would we, buddy. So would we.
"Is this the right time for Tom Brady to come back? I don’t think so. I think if you asked Bill Belichick – who has now programmed himself to genuflect anytime he mentions Tom – he’d say it’s not ideal to be reminded of what was and have the fans frothing for last decade. The time to say goodbye to Tom is not the night you’re saying hello to 2023 and a very good opponent. In my opinion!"
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So if Week 1 against the Eagles isn't the best time to honor Brady, which game would make more sense?
"I wholeheartedly agree with you there," Phil Perry responded. "Don't you think the Commanders, midseason, at home (in Week 9) would have been a better time for this whole ordeal? Not the opener against the Super Bowl runner-ups, one of the toughest matchups in the league. (That's) not what you're looking for."
The Patriots don't have many "easy games" on their schedule. It's actually the most difficult 17-game slate in the NFL, according to ESPN's Football Power Index. So there aren't a ton of excellent chances for the Patriots to honor Brady and then play a game against an opponent they should probably beat.
The Commanders were one such option. Week 5 against the New Orleans Saints in October is another.
But maybe the presence of Brady and the crowd's energetic reaction as a result will fire up the Patriots players and give them even more energy. It wouldn't be the worst outcome because the Patriots will need all the help they can get Sunday versus an Eagles team that many football experts are picking to win the Super Bowl this season.
Watch Curran's full "Quick Slants" segment in the media player above, and watch the full episode on YouTube below.