Tom Brady grew up in San Mateo as a fan of the 49ers.
At 4 years old, he was in attendance when Dwight Clark made the leaping catch of Joe Montana’s pass to send the 49ers to Super Bowl XVI with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in January 1982.
On Sunday, Brady will play the 49ers for the first time in the Bay Area in his 17 seasons in the NFL. He would have made an appearance at Candlestick Park in 2008, but he sustained a season-ending knee injury in the first week of the regular season.
The 49ers (1-8) carry an eight-game losing streak into Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, who are coming off a 31-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
“I think you always have hope,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said on Monday. “I don’t think anybody just says, ‘Let’s take the week off because we can’t win.’ But we played this team last year when I was with Philadelphia and had a big victory up in Foxborough.”
The Philadelphia Eagles pulled off a 35-28 upset victory over the Patriots last season for one of Kelly’s six wins before he was fired in late-Decmeber.
“It’s an entirely different situation, but we’ve played them before and I understand the challenge of it,” Kelly said. “I think if you’re a competitor you get excited about playing in games like this. You don’t think of it as, ‘Oh my god, we don’t have any hope.’
“You get a chance to play against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. If that doesn’t get your blood boiling, then you’re in the wrong sport.”
Brady has played at a career-best level in his five starts after being suspended for the opening four games of the regular season. Brady is completing 72.9 percent of his passes and averaging 9.8 yards per attempt with a passer rating of 125.5 – all career highs.
The Patriots split Brady's two previous starts against the 49ers, both in New England. The 49ers beat the Patriots 41-34 in 2012, and the New England was a 21-7 winner against San Francisco in 2004.