Tom Brady: Most career TDs for QB playing Bucs in Tampa
With the Patriots in town Thursday night to play the Bucs, there are many ways to try to illustrate just how historic a game this can be for Tampa, just as a non-championship sports moment.
Try this: When Tom Brady takes the field on Thursday, he'll have more career touchdowns than any QB has ever had while playing in Tampa.
We've got the top 10 here, but take a minute to think about who should and shouldn't be on the list. Peyton Manning is the NFL's all-time career leader with 539 touchdowns, but he doesn't even crack the top 10 -- last time he played in Tampa was 2003, and he only had 147 career TDs then. Aaron Rodgers? He very well may end up on this list -- the Packers will come to Tampa in 2020, if not sooner -- but he only had 223 last time he was here, so he misses the cut. Ben Roethlisberger's only game in Tampa was the Super Bowl, too early in his career to make the list.
And before Brady gets too excited about his place atop our obscure list, remember that it's likely short-lived. Drew Brees already has more touchdown passes than Brady, and unless he's injured, Brees will likely have more than 500 when the Saints finish the 2017 regular season on New Year's Eve in Tampa.
So here's the list, starting at No. 10 -- name, team they played for, touchdowns when the last time they played in Tampa and the year -- and building up to, well, Brady on Thursday.
10. Joe Montana, Chiefs, 244 career TDs (1993): The first non-49ers touchdowns of Montana's career came in Tampa in the 1993 opener, when he threw for 246 yards and three scores in a 27-3 win over the Bucs.
9. Warren Moon, Vikings, 252 (1996): Moon played for three team in his last five years, and he was on the way down in 1996, throwing for 277 yards and an interception in a 24-13 loss to the Bucs.
8. Dave Krieg, Bears, 261 (1996): Prime example of this not being just who you were, but how late in your career you came to town. The last of Krieg's 175 career starts came in Tampa -- you know him as a Seahawk, but he played for five other teams in his last six seasons. Krieg threw for just 139 and an interception in a 34-19 loss to the Bucs.
7. Vinny Testaverde, Panthers, 275 (2007): Another example. Literally the final play of Testaverde's career was coming off the bench and taking a knee for the final play of a 31-23 win over the Bucs. He didn't attempt a pass, but got to finish his NFL career where it had started, 20 years earlier.
6. Fran Tarkenton, Vikings, 321 (1978): Tarkenton came to Tampa in his final NFL season, and the Bucs were 4-28 as a franchise. Tarkenton, who had lost to the Bucs in Minnesota two weeks earlier, threw for 213, a touchdown and an interception in a 24-7 win at Tampa Bay.
5. Eli Manning, Giants, 324 (2017): You remember way back ... on Sunday, when Manning came to town. He threw for 288 and two scores, including a go-ahead score with 3:16 left, but lost on a field goal as time expired in a 25-23 Bucs win.
4. Brett Favre, Packers, 331 (2003): Favre played the Bucs twice a year for the first decade of his career, but didn't come to Tampa once in his final seven NFL seasons, so he's lower than you'd think on this list. It was unmemorable for Favre, throwing for only 92 yards, a TD and an INT in a 20-13 win over the Bucs.
3. Dan Marino, Dolphins, 370 (1997): As an AFC player, Marino only faced the Bucs four times in his 17 NFL seasons, and only twice in Tampa. Marino's last trip to town was his only loss against the Bucs -- he threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 loss.
2. Drew Brees, Saints, 458 (2016): Brees had at least one touchdown pass in his first 21 games against the Bucs, but he went without one in last year's 16-11 loss in Tampa, throwing for 257 yards and three interceptions. He'd get his revenge in New Orleans two weeks later on Christmas Eve.
1. Tom Brady, Patriots, 466 (2017): Brady will reset the mark Thursday night for a quarterback facing the Bucs in Tampa. He's 3-0 against the Bucs in his career, with 791 yards, eight touchdown passes and three interceptions -- an average QB rating of 106 in those three wins.