Among his other records, Tom Brady has the dubious distinction of appearing in a record four NFL season-openers. Brady, fresh off of his seventh Super Bowl win, is slated to make his fifth season-opening start when the league kicks off its 102nd season on Thursday, Sept. 9. This will be his first of such games as a member of the Buccaneers, who are slated to become the first defending champion in the salary-cap era to bring back each of their 22 starters.
Here's a look at how Brady fared in his previous four season-openers.
Fans were treated to a classic duel between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. In a back-and-forth contest, the Colts enjoyed two early leads before three consecutive scores gave the Patriots a 27-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter. But after Manning's second touchdown pass of the night cut the Colts' deficit to three points, Indianapolis' defense made two big stops while giving its offense the ball back with 1:43 left.
After a 45-yard completion from Manning to Brandon Stokley got the Colts inside the Patriots' 20-yard-line, a sack by Willie McGinest forced the Colts to attempt a 48-yard field goal. Foreshadowing the 2005 playoffs, Mike Vanderjagt missed his first field goal attempt in 42 tries. The Patriots hung on for their 16th straight win; the streak would ultimately reach 21 games before the Patriots were defeated by a rookie quarterback named Ben Roethlisberger. The Patriots would go on to defeat the Colts and Steelers in the AFC playoffs en route to a win over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Throwback game highlights thread:— Four Verts 🏈 (@FourVerticals_) October 3, 2018
Starting with Colts-Patriots 2004 opening night
Patriots 27 - Colts 24
Tom Brady: 26-38, 335 yards, 3 TD-1 INT, 111.2 rating
Peyton Manning: 16-29, 256 yards, 2 TD-1 INT, 93.5 rating#Colts #GoPats pic.twitter.com/xwfMgEFmEG
September 8, 2005: Patriots 30, Raiders 20
This one started and ended with Kerry Collins touchdown passes to Courtney Anderson. In between, Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes, Corey Dillon ran for two more and the Patriots coasted to a 10-point victory. Brady was an efficient 24-of-38 passing for 306 yards. His favorite target, reigning Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch, caught 7 of 11 targets for 99 yards that included an 18-yard touchdown that gave the Patriots the lead for good.
While a largely forgettable season-opener, this was the debut for Randy Moss in a Raiders uniform. After a highly-successful seven-year run with the Vikings, Moss -- who switched from No. 84 to No. 18 -- caught 5 of 15 targets for 130 yards that included a 73-yard touchdown in his Raiders debut. Two years later, Moss caught nine passes for 183 yards in his Patriots debut. Moss served as an integral part of the Patriots' 2007 team that would not lose a regular season game.
September 10, 2015: Patriots 28, Steelers 21
Much of the pre-game hype for this contest was focused on ESPN's story uncovering the depths the Patriots' "Spygate" controversy. Outside distractions didn't dampen the Patriots' fourth banner unveiling. It also didn't stop the Patriots from putting another "L" on the Steelers, New England's vanquished foes in two previous conference title games. Two early touchdown passes from Brady to Rob Gronkowski helped the Patriots jump out to a 21-3 lead. Gronk's one-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter stretched the Patriots' lead to 28-14.
Brady riddled the Steelers' defense to the tune of 288 yards and four touchdowns on 25-of-32 passing. The Steelers countered with Ben Roethlisberger's 351 passing yards that included 133 yards and a touchdown to Antonio Brown. Pittsburgh, who also received 127 rushing yards from DeAngelo Williams, were the victims of two missed field goals by Josh Scobee, who was ultimately cut and replaced by Chris Boswell several weeks later. The Steelers, to the chagrin of coach Mike Tomlin, also suffered headset malfunctions.
"That's always the case," Tomlin said about having headset issues in New England. "We were listening to the Patriots' radio broadcast for the majority of the first half on our headsets."
September 7, 2017: Chiefs 42, Patriots 27
Brady's only NFL season-opening loss, the Patriots fell victim to a breakout first game by then-Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. A third-round pick in the 2017 draft, Hunt rushed for 148 yards and touchdown and also caught five passes for 98 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown, a 3-yard pass from Alex Smith, cut the Chiefs' deficit to 17-14 at halftime. Down 27-21 at the start of the fourth quarter, Hunt's 78-yard catch and run gave Kansas City the lead for good. Hunt's 4-yard touchdown run with five minutes left gave the Chiefs a little more breathing room, while Charcandrick West's 21-yard touchdown run with four minutes left put the game on ice.
While Hunt was the star of the night, Brady (who failed to throw a touchdown pass against the Chiefs' defense) and the Patriots would lose just two more games during the 2017 regular season. They would ultimately advance to their second of three consecutive Super Bowls, a 41-33 loss to the Eagles. In defeat, Brady would throw for a Super Bowl single-game record 505 yards.