As if Tom Brady's return to New England needed another layer of intrigue.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly are set to play the Patriots in Week 4 (Sunday, Oct. 3) in Brady's first game at Gillette Stadium since leaving New England in the 2020 offseason.
Considering Brady's extensive history with the Patriots -- six Super Bowl titles over 20 seasons -- Patriots-Bucs should be one of the notable regular-season games in recent NFL history.
And how's this for an extra subplot: There's a chance Brady could break the NFL career passing record against his former club. (H/t to 98.5 The Sports Hub's Scott Zolak.)
The 43-year-old quarterback enters the 2021 season with 79,204 career passing yards, which is 1,154 yards behind all-time leader Drew Brees, who retired this offseason. So, if Brady averages 288.8 passing yards per game over his first four contests, he'll surpass Brees' mark of 80,358 in Week 4.
That's no easy feat. If Brady throws for 300 yards in each of his first three games, he'll still need 255 against the Patriots to break the record. No one on the planet knows Brady's tendencies better than Bill Belichick, and you'd best believe the Patriots coach will pull out all the stops against his former QB.
Then again, Brady will have plenty of motivation to make history against his former team. He also averaged 289.6 passing yards per game last season (including 319.3 yards per game over the final seven) in a loaded Bucs offense that remains largely intact entering 2021.
So, depending on how strong Brady starts out of the gate -- he faces the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 -- it's certainly possible the GOAT makes history in Foxboro on Oct. 3 in an opposing uniform.