Tom Brady has come home. And soon enough, he'll have a red jacket, too. As the former Patriots quarterback made his return to Foxborough for the first time since his retirement this offseason, the franchise held a halftime ceremony to celebrate all of his accomplishments during his 20-year run with the organization, including six Super Bowl championships.
Leading up to the ceremony, Patriots owner Robert Kraft had teased that the franchise would do something unprecedented with Brady during his return. As he revealed during the halftime celebration, Kraft announced that the Patriots are waiving the typical four-year waiting period and will be immediately inducting Brady into the team's Hall of Fame. On top of that, there will be a special in-stadium induction ceremony that will take place on June 12, 2024.
"When Tom Brady announced his retirement after 23 NFL seasons, there was only one place I wanted him to be on opening day – right here at Gillette Stadium, with 65,000 of his closest friends," Kraft said at halftime. "Patriots fans didn't get an opportunity to appropriately thank Tom when he left. I wanted to give them that opportunity. Unfortunately, a halftime ceremony just doesn't provide enough time to honor Tommy the way he deserves."
Typically, the Patriots hold their Hall of Fame ceremonies outside of The Hall beyond the north end of Gillette Stadium. With Brady, however, he will be inducted in front of what will likely be a fully packed stadium for the first time in The Hall's history.
Brady came out donning his No. 12 jersey and conducted his infamous run down the sideline in a similar fashion to what he did during his playing days in Foxborough. He then took to the podium alongside his three children and spoke about the team effort that he was a part of to put New England on the map and reminisced on the celebrations unveiling all six of the team's Super Bowl banners.
"There's nothing significant in life that can be accomplished as an individual," Brady said. "It''s about the team. .. I think we proved to America what teamwork is all about."
Brady also concluded with a firm stamp that he is a Patriot.
"One thing I can be sure of, and that will never change, is that I am a Patriot for life," he said, which was met with thunderous applause from the Gillette Stadium crown.
Along with his children, Brady had roughly 20 members of his family in attendance, including his parents. There were also multiple former teammates in attendance as well.
"It means a lot," Brady told CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson following the ceremony. "I had 20 amazing years here and then had three really fun years in Tampa, getting a lot of perspective and there's no better place for me to be on opening day in the NFL than to be here with these fans. So many people came to support it. I'm very blessed."
When asked what it's like to be a mere spectator of an NFL game instead of playing, Brady said: "Well, it's not as fun as playing, I'm sure of that. I'm so happy to kind of put that part of my life to bed and move on to other things."
Brady also kicked off a new pregame tradition by being the inaugural Keeper of the Light and.