Tom Brady has been a staple in the Patriots line-up since taking over as the starter in 2001, having not missed a regular season contest throughout his tenure up until 2008 when he went down with a season-ending knee injury against the Chiefs in Week 1 and foiled any shot at redemption after the team had their perfect season ruined by the Giants earlier that year.
After at least having started that game in 2008, Brady has appeared in 13 straight season-openers, the longest current active streak in the NFL ahead of Eli Manning (10), Philip Rivers (9) and Drew Brees (9). The last time he didn’t start the season for the Patriots was back in 2001, as Drew Bledsoe was then the starter for the team and the Patriots lost a frustrating game out in Cincinnati after falling 23-17 in a game where Bledsoe didn’t play that poorly, finishing 22-of-38 for 241 yards, 2 TD’s and 0 interceptions.
However, one week later, a hit by Mo Lewis for the Jets knocked Bledsoe out of the game and started Brady’s career, which everyone knows how things have gone from there.
Brady has since been the lone constant on the team other than Bill Belichick, with no players left from the 2001 squad. Prior to his injury in 2008, Brady had started 128 consecutive games, which at the time was the third longest for a quarterback in league history (it’s now the 7th).
He currently has a streak of 96 consecutive regular season games played, which is the fourth longest active streak behind Eli Manning (167), Philip Rivers (145) and Joe Flacco (112).
Prior to the news of his suspension being overturned last week, each of those streaks were in jeopardy. However, now Brady is looking forward to getting back to football and he’s glad to put the whole mess behind him.
“I love football, I love the sport, and I love playing in the NFL,” said Brady on Sunday. To get the opportunity to do it, certainly with all my teammates and my friends – I’ve had so much support with my family through all of this. For the last 20 years I’ve been playing football this time of year, and it feels good to be able to do that again.”
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