By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady is a captain of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a distinction he’s displayed proudly since arriving in Tampa in 2020. But there was no evidence of the 44-year-old’s captaincy on Sunday in Carolina.

Brady took the field for the Bucs’ game against the Panthers without the patch on his shoulder that signifies his captaincy with the team.

The Athletic’s Jordan Moore was the first to notice the missing patch, though there was obviously no explanation.

Here’s how Brady looked during warmups:

Tom Brady without a captain’s patch prior to the Buccaneers’ game in Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Tom Brady without a captain’s patch prior to the Buccaneers’ game in Carolina.(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Though Brady never wore a captain’s patch in New England (Patriots captains don’t wear them at all), he’s worn the “C” in Tampa — including the last time he and the team wore white jerseys this season:

Tom Brady on Dec. 5. in Atlanta. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It wasn’t a team-wide situation, either, as linebacker Devin White was wearing his captain’s patch on Sunday:

Brady entered Sunday’s game coming off a rare shutout — just the third of his lengthy career. Brady was 26-for-48 for 214 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, as he dropped to 0-4 in the regular season vs. the Saints since joining the Bucs. (Brady and the Bucs did win their most important matchup against the Saints in the postseason, though.)

Brady’s made headlines before for missing certain items from his wardrobe, notably shedding the NFL shield sticker from his helmet during the 2016 preseason — ahead of his four-game DeflateGate suspension.

It’s unclear if Brady’s lack of captain’s patch was the result of a conscious choice or if it was merely a wardrobe malfunction. He wasn’t asked about the patch after the game, so the mystery will live on for at least another day.

CBSBoston.com Staff