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Michaels to Call His 44th Game with Tom Brady as Starting QB as Buccaneers visit Patriots on Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock & Universo)

“I can’t remember a regular season game more anticipated than this one. Two or three years ago, there’s no way you could have dreamed up this scenario.” – Al Michaels

Brady Needs 68 Passing Yards this Sunday to Pass Drew Brees as NFL’s All-Time Leader

STAMFORD, Conn. – September 28, 2021 – NBC Sports’ Al Michaels, who is in his record 36th season calling the NFL in primetime, joins Cris Collinsworth in the booth at Gillette Stadium this Sunday for the widely-anticipated return of quarterback Tom Brady to New England (8:20 p.m. ET on NBC, Peacock and Universo).

Brady, who won six Super Bowls with the Patriots before leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the title last season, returns to Foxboro to face his former team for the first time.

“I can’t remember a regular season game more anticipated than this one,” said Michaels. “Two or three years ago, there’s no way you could have dreamed up this scenario.”

Sunday night’s game marks the 44th regular- and postseason game that Michaels will call with the 44-year-old Tom Brady starting at quarterback (2006-21 with NBC, 2001-05 with ABC).

Al Michaels Calling Tom Brady’s NFL Starts

Sunday Night Football27*
Monday Night Football7
NFL Kickoff4
Super Bowl3
Divisional Playoff1
Wild Card Playoff1
Thanksgiving Night1

*includes this Sunday


Michaels is no stranger to calling showcase NFL games headlined by star quarterbacks. Following is a look at some of those regular-season games, with Michaels’ recollections:

Oct. 17, 1994 – In the final season of his NFL career, Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs visited John Elway and the Denver Broncos. The quarterbacks combined for more than 650 passing yards and six total touchdowns in a back-and-forth game that was tied after each of the first three quarters. The fourth quarter featured three lead changes – all in the final four minutes and eight seconds – with Montana throwing a five-yard scoring pass with eight seconds remaining to lead the Chiefs to a 31-28 win.

Dec. 22, 2003 – The night after his father died, Brett Favre passed for 399 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 41-7 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

Al Michaels: “The Favre game was so unreal that John Madden and I were figuratively rubbing our eyes the whole night. Was that REALLY happening?”

Oct. 20, 2013 – Broncos QB Peyton Manning returned to Indianapolis, where he played 13 seasons for the Colts. After an emotional pregame tribute, Manning passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns, but the Broncos fell 39-33 to Andrew Luck (four total TDs) and the Colts.

Al Michaels: “Peyton got a wonderful, well-deserved ‘welcome back’ that night and I expect the same response for Tom in Foxboro.”

Nov. 24, 2013 – It was Brady-Manning XIV, as Tom Brady led the Patriots’ biggest regular-season comeback victory ever (from 24 points behind) in defeating Peyton Manning and the Broncos, 34-31, in overtime.

Al Michaels: “The Brady-Manning duels were more examples of ‘Must See TV.’”

Oct. 14, 2018 – It was Brady-Mahomes I, as Tom Brady earned his 200th career regular-season win, the most all-time, in a Patriots’ 43-40 victory over the Chiefs on a field goal as time expired. Mahomes passed for 352 yards and four touchdowns.

Al Michaels: “The Brady-Mahomes game helped to usher in the next generation.”

Sept. 19, 2021 – In a game that featured nearly 900 yards of offense, quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson delivered one exciting play after another, highlighted by scrambling, “flip” and “jump” passes, and even a somersault into the end zone. Jackson’s two fourth-quarter scoring runs helped the Ravens overcome an 11-point deficit, before he sealed the 36-35 victory with a two-yard rush on 4th-and-1 with a minute remaining. Mahomes passed for 343 yards and three touchdowns.


On Sunday, Brady can break Drew Brees’ all-time record for passing yards (80,358) with 68 yards against the Patriots.

Together in the booth, Michaels and Collinsworth have been the voices of record for numerous NFL quarterback milestones:

    • Peyton Manning throws his 400th career TD pass in his first game with the Denver Broncos – Sept. 9, 2012
    • Drew Brees throws TD pass in NFL-record 48th consecutive game, breaking Johnny Unitas’ 52-year old mark – Oct. 7, 2012
    • Peyton Manning throws 7 TD passes Baltimore, tying an NFL record which had last been matched in 1969 – Sept. 5, 2013 in “NFL Kickoff” game
    • Tom Brady reaches 50,000 career passing yards as Patriots beat Bengals 43-17 in the “on to Cincinnati” game – Oct. 5, 2014
    • Peyton Manning throws 509th TD pass in a win over the 49ers, breaking Brett Favre’s NFL career record – Oct. 19, 2014
    • Tom Brady sets the NFL record for most regular-season wins by a QB with one team (161) in Patriots’ victory over Steelers – Sept. 10, 2015 in “NFL Kickoff” game
    • Drew Brees throws 400th career touchdown pass in victory over Cowboys – Oct. 4, 2015
    • Matthew Stafford reaches 30,000 career passing yards faster than any player in NFL history (109 games) in loss to Packers – Jan. 1, 2017
    • Tom Brady earns 200th regular season win (43-40 over Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs) – Oct. 14, 2018

NBC’s Sunday Night Football, primetime TV’s #1 show for an unprecedented 10 consecutive years, is averaging a Total Audience Delivery of 21.8 million viewers through Week 3 – the show’s best start since 2016 and up 12% from last season at the same point.