By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — As if Tom Brady’s return to Foxboro wasn’t weird enough, the quarterback is set to make major NFL history very early on in Sunday night’s game between the Buccaneers and Patriots.READ MORE: Patriots List 16 Players On Wednesday's Practice/Injury Report
That piece of history is the NFL’s all-time passing yards record. Brady will enter the game just 67 yards shy of Drew Brees’ all-time record of 80,358 yards. If the Bucs move the ball relatively well, Brady will be setting that record in the first quarter of Sunday’s game.
If Brady were playing for the Patriots, then a noteworthy celebration would surely be held, much like one was held for Brees broke the record in 2018, and like one was held when Peyton Manning passed Brett Favre for the record in 2015.
But with Brady playing for the visiting team, it begs the question: Will the achievement be acknowledged in the stadium when it happens?
Bill Belichick was asked that precise question on Friday, and the Patriots’ head coach who has a hand in everything football-related in New England said that he has no idea.READ MORE: Hurley's Picks: Tom Brady Amused By Aaron Rodgers' Ownership Stake In Bears
“Yeah, I have no idea, honestly,” Belichick said.
Belichick noted with a smile that the Patriots will be doing their best to limit Brady from throwing too many yards. But as for a stoppage of play and a commemoration on the video board if/when Brady reaches 68 yards passing, “You’d have to talk to somebody else about that.”
Interestingly, when Favre set the record in 2007, he did so on the road in St. Louis. That game was briefly paused to recognize the moment, with Favre hugging Donald Driver and the fans in attendance cheering the accomplishment.
Also of note: This won’t be the first time that the all-time NFL record for passing yards will be broken against the Patriots. When Dan Marino passed Fran Tarkenton in 1995, he did it at home in Miami, against the visiting Patriots. That game was paused too, as Marino received congratulations from his teammates and applause from his home fans.
Brady already owns the NFL’s all-time regular-season record for touchdown passes, with 591 to Brees’ 571. Manning ranks third, with 539. Brady’s the all-time leader in playoff passing yards (12,449; Manning ranks second with 7,339) and playoff passing touchdowns (83; Joe Montana ranks second with 45).MORE NEWS: Patriots Working Out Cornerback Brian Poole
Once Brady sets the yardage record, he’s sure to hold it for some time. The closest active quarterbacks would be Ben Roethlisberger (61,149 yards, 39 years old), Matt Ryan (56,474 yards, 36 years old), Aaron Rodgers (51,894, 37 years old) and Matthew Stafford (46,051 yards, 33 years old). Patrick Mahomes is worth betting on to some day own the record, but with just over 15,000 yards to his name, the 26-year-old will need to have a long and healthy career in order to catch up to Brady.