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Timeline: the highs and lows of Tom Brady’s NFL career

A step-by-step look at how Tom Brady went from sixth-round pick to NFL legend.
In this Feb. 5, 2017, file photo, quarterback Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the ew England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston.
In this Feb. 5, 2017, file photo, quarterback Tom Brady raises the Vince Lombardi Trophy after the ew England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime at the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. [ DARRON CUMMINGS | AP ]
Published Mar. 17, 2020
Updated Mar. 20, 2020

Now that Tom Brady has officially joined the Bucs, here’s a timeline of the quarterback’s Hall of Fame NFL career (so far):

April 16, 2000: New England Patriots draft Brady in the sixth round (No. 199 overall pick) out of Michigan.

Nov. 23, 2000: Brady comes off the bench for his first regular-season appearance, a 34-9 loss at Detroit. He finishes 1-of-3 for six yards.

Sept. 30, 2001: With Drew Bledsoe sidelined due to internal bleeding, Brady gets his first start: 13 of 23 for 168 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 44-13 rout of Indianapolis in the first meeting between Brady and Peyton Manning.

Related: With Tom Brady in the fold, will Bucs fill up Raymond James?

Jan. 19, 2002: Brady leads his first postseason comeback in his first playoff start, erasing a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Raiders with an overtime field goal in the snow by Adam Vinatieri. The game is best remembered for the tuck rule; Brady appears to fumble on a hit from Charles Woodson, but officials overturn it, calling it an incompletion because Brady was trying to tuck the ball back to his body.

NFL commisioner Paul Tagliabue, right,  presents the Super Bowl's Pete Rozelle Most Valuable Player trophy to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Feb. 4, 2002, in New Orleans.
NFL commisioner Paul Tagliabue, right, presents the Super Bowl's Pete Rozelle Most Valuable Player trophy to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Feb. 4, 2002, in New Orleans. [ KATHY WILLENS | AP ]

Feb. 3, 2002: Brady becomes the youngest Super Bowl-winning quarterback by leading the Patriots to a 20-17 win over the Rams in Super Bowl 36. He earns MVP honors by leading the game-winning drive in the closing minutes.

April 21, 2002: New England trades Drew Bledsoe to the Bills for a first-round pick, officially handing the team to Brady.

Feb. 1, 2004: Brady becomes a champion (and MVP) again, leading the Patriots to a 32-29 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 38 with a game-record 32 completions.

Related: How Tom Brady changes the Bucs’ draft needs

Jan. 23, 2005: After reportedly having a fever of 103 degrees the night before, Brady torches the Steelers with two touchdown passes in a 41-27 win in the AFC championship.

Feb. 6, 2005: Brady’s Patriots cement themselves as an NFL dynasty with the third Super Bowl in four seasons, thanks to a 24-21 triumph over the Eagles in Jacksonville.

Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice tries unsuccessfully to catch Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice tries unsuccessfully to catch Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. [ PRATT, CARRIE | St. Petersburg Times ]

Jan. 14, 2006: After starting 10-0 in the postseason, Brady throws for 341 yards in his first playoff loss — a 27-13 defeat at Denver.

Dec. 29, 2007: Brady finishes off one of the best regular seasons ever with two touchdown passes, pushing his total to an NFL-record 50. The 38-35 road win over the Giants secures a 16-0 regular season and helps Brady become the Associated Press’ Male Athlete of the Year. Less than two months later, New York avenges that loss, beating Brady’s Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl 42.

Sept. 7, 2008: Brady suffers a season-ending left knee injury in the opener, ending his streak of 128 starts. He throws for almost 4,400 yards the next season to become the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) gets up after taking down New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) gets up after taking down New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12). [ WALLACE, DANIEL | St. Petersburg Times ]

Sept. 10, 2010: Brady signs a four-year contract extension worth $72 million to make him the highest-paid player in league history.

Sept. 12, 2011: Brady hits Wes Welker for a record-tying 99-yard touchdown; only the 12th ever thrown at the time.

Feb. 5, 2012: Brady suffers his second Super Bowl loss, a 21-17 defeat to the Giants.

Feb. 1, 2015: He earns a third Super Bowl MVP award after leading the Patriots from a 10-point fourth-quarter hole to beat the Seahawks, 28-24 in Super Bowl 49. His 37 completions set a Super Bowl record.

Related: Why Tom Brady’s jersey hangs in this former Rays pitcher’s house

May 11, 2015: The NFL suspends Brady for four games due to his role in the Deflategate scandal from that January’s AFC championship. The drama lingers for more than a year before Brady serves his suspension to start the 2016 season.

Feb. 5, 2017: Brady leads the biggest comeback in New England and Super Bowl history, rallying the Patriots from a 28-3 deficit to beat Atlanta, 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl 51. He sets another record by winning his fourth Super Bowl MVP award.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) makes a completion in the first quarter against the Bucs on Oct. 5, 2017.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) makes a completion in the first quarter against the Bucs on Oct. 5, 2017. [ ELLIOTT, LOREN | Tampa Bay Times ]

Oct. 5, 2017: The Patriots’ 19-14 win over the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium gives Brady the 186th victory of his career, tied with Brett Favre and Peyton Manning for most all-time. Jameis Winston throws for 334 yards in the loss but blames himself for a failure to convert down the stretch. “The quarterback has to make a play,” Winston says afterward.

Feb. 3, 2018: Brady is named the NFL’s MVP (for the third time) and, at age 40, becomes the oldest player to receive the award. His Patriots lose the next day to the Eagles 41-33 in Super Bowl 52.

Feb. 3, 2019: Brady is the first player ever to win six Super Bowl rings with his Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Rams. At 41, he’s also the oldest player to quarterback his team to the NFL title.

Jan. 4, 2020: Brady makes his final start for the Patriots, going 20 of 37 for 209 yards and an interception in a 20-13 loss to the Titans in the wild card round.

March 17, 2020: Brady announces that he will not return to the Patriots for the upcoming season.

March 20, 2020: Brady officially joins the Bucs.