Bills fans everywhere to retiring Tom Brady: Great career, and good riddance

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Bills fans everywhere to retiring Tom Brady: Great career, and good riddance


Tom Brady officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday morning, and I’m going to assume that I’m speaking for the vast majority of Bill

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Tom Brady officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday morning, and I’m going to assume that I’m speaking for the vast majority of Bills fans when I say good riddance.

Let’s not pretend that Brady isn’t the greatest quarterback who ever lived, because he is. 

There has to be a reckoning that no matter how much Buffalo fans despised him for all the torture he inflicted on the Bills, the simple fact is that Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Otto Graham, Bobby Layne, John Elway, and anyone else you can think of can all form a line behind Brady.

He accomplished things in his 22-year career that will likely never be approached, leading off with his seven Super Bowl rings, 10 Super Bowl appearances, and 14 conference championship game appearances, before we even get to the absurd statistics. 

He’s the all-time leader in yards passing (84,520), TD passes (624) and QB wins (243), marks in each category that he also owns in the postseason. 

If you took just his playoff resume, his 13,049 passing yards would rank him 170th on the all-time NFL regular-season passing yardage list, and he’d be No. 4 for the Bills behind only Jim Kelly, Joe Ferguson, Jack Kemp and Josh Allen.

Seriously, in just his 47 playoff games he had a career that thousands past and present NFL QBs would die for.

Whoever makes his Hall of Fame case in five years will simply have to say his name, and the voters will respond, “Yes.” It will take all of five seconds.

So give the man his props, but the reality for Bills Mafia is that for more than two decades, Brady was the face of the Evil Empire in New England, and while you had to grudgingly acknowledge his greatness, there is no one who was more reviled by Buffalo fans than Giselle’s husband.

He crushed souls with his incredible dominance against the Bills, beating them in 33 of the 36 starts he made since taking over as New England’s starter in 2001, a record the likes of which is as staggering as it is sad.

And while his retirement may not be quite as meaningful today because he had moved to Tampa Bay in 2020, naturally, as fate would have it, the Bills had to play the Buccaneers back in December, and Brady was able to deliver one last dagger to the chest. He threw for 363 yards and the game-winning 58-yard TD pass to Breshad Perriman in overtime for a 33-27 victory, reminding everyone that his ownership of the Bills knew no bounds, no uniform.

Like his playoff resume, Brady’s numbers just against the Bills would have constituted a decent career for many QBs. In those 36 games he completed 64% of his passes (769 of 1,200) for 9,032 yards, 72 TDs and 25 interceptions for a passer rating of 98.2. 

The platitudes are endless, so what I thought I’d do here is choose to remember the three joyous days when the Bills found a way to beat Brady:

Sept. 7, 2003: Bills 31, Patriots 0

Brady won his first four starts against the Bills when he sauntered into Ralph Wilson Stadium for opening day, but no one could have predicted how deep his dominance would reach. All this felt like at the time was just a really tasty win against a divisional rival.

The Bills jumped out to a 21-0 first-half lead, the highlight being big Sam Adams intercepting Brady and lumbering his way 37 yards for the third touchdown, a play that landed Adams on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.

It prompted Wilson to say, “Until he intercepted that pass I thought I could outrun him. I didn’t know he could run that fast. When the ball is thrown and a 370-pound defensive tackle picks it out of the air and runs it into the end zone, things were going our way.”

Brady finished 14 of 28 for 123 yards and threw an unconscionable four interceptions.

Further ramping up the emotion of the day was the fact that earlier in the week Bill Belichick had cut long-time Patriots safety Lawyer Milloy, and all of New England, not to mention the Patriots, were furious. 

The Bills signed Milloy within hours of his release, he started the game and made five tackles, a sack, and broke up a pass to ignite the Bills shutout.

Another former Patriot now wearing the charging Buffalo helmet, Drew Bledsoe, said of reuniting with Milloy, “I thank God that the New England Patriots let him go.”

All Belichick would say about Milloy, predictably, was, “I don’t have much to say about that.”

Little did we know it would be nearly a decade before the Bills would win another game against Brady.

Sept. 25, 2011: Bills 34, Patriots 31

Brady beat the Bills 15 consecutive times before this Week 3 game, which saw the Bills rally from a 21-0 deficit behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had all of his FitzMagic working.

Once again, Brady tossed up four interceptions, but he also threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns, the first three coming in the first 24 minutes of the game before the Bills began their improbable comeback.

“It’s tough to overcome as many mistakes as we had,” Brady said after seeing his record against Buffalo drop to 17-2, even though Wes Welker set franchise records for 16 catches and 217 yards receiving.

Fitzpatrick’s TD pass to Stevie Johnson got the resurgence started, and after Bryan Scott picked off Brady in the red zone to kill a scoring chance, Fitzpatrick drove the Bills to a Rian Lindell field goal to close the first half.

Brady’s third interception, made by George Wilson, led to Fred Jackson’s game-tying touchdown run early in the fourth, and on the first play after the kickoff, the Bills went up 31-24 when Drayton Florence picked off Brady and raced 20 yards for a touchdown. 

Naturally, Brady produced a tying TD with 3:25 left, but Fitzpatrick, who finished with 369 yards, drove the Bills to Lindell’s winning 28-yard field goal as time expired.

“It’s the best win of my career. It’s awesome,” said defensive end Chris Kelsay. “I went up to Chan (Gailey) and Buddy (Nix) after the game and I said, ‘I’m not one to ask for much, but your 24-hour rule, I might ask for a couple more hours to enjoy this one’ because it has been a long time. It was awesome to run up the tunnel, looking up at the fans. Ruben Brown was in the tunnel. I played with Ruben the first time that we beat them my rookie year (in 2003) and the last time we beat them until today.”

Dec. 28, 2014: Bills 17, Patriots 9

In reality, this third and final Bills victory over Brady shouldn’t even count because with the Patriots already locked into the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, Brady started but played only the first half before rookie Jimmy Garoppolo took over. But, because he started, the loss went on Brady’s ledger.

Now, to their credit, the Bills were up 17-6 when Brady’s day ended, but the Patriots had also started the game with several other stars inactive, including Welker and Rob Gronkowski. Brady completed 8 of 16 passes for 80 yards.

Having seen their playoff hopes crushed the week before with an awful loss at Oakland, the Bills were playing out the string as their playoff drought reached 15 years. 

Kyle Orton, finishing off his one and only season as Bills QB, threw for 176 yards and a touchdown to Robert Woods as the Bills won for the first time at Gillette Stadium since it opened in 2002.

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