FOXBORO, Mass. — Tom Brady’s first appearance at Levi’s Stadium came at Super Bowl 50. Unfortunately for the New England Patriots quarterback, he was there only as a spectator.
Brady, who attended the pregame ceremony honoring the Super Bowl MVPs of years past just two weeks after the eventual champion Denver Broncos knocked the Patriots out of title contention, will make his true San Francisco debut this Sunday as New England visits his hometown 49ers.
“I’m excited,” Brady said Friday, shortly before the team departed Gillette Stadium. “It will be nice to see my parents and my sisters, but hopefully we can go out there and win. It will be a special weekend to go out there and play great for our team, and then to have everyone watching is pretty cool for the first time ever, so I’m excited about that.”
Brady grew up a 49ers fan in nearby San Mateo, Calif. He’s never played on the home field of his old favorite team, however, as the Patriots have traveled to San Francisco just once since the QB entered the NFL in 2000. That game was during the 2008 season, which Brady missed the entirety of after tearing his ACL in Week 1.
While he’ll never have the chance to take the field at storied Candlestick Park, which closed after the 2013 season, Brady nonetheless is looking forward to playing in front of what should be a sizable contingent of friends and family.
“I would have liked to play there in 2008,” he said. “That would have helped me a lot with my injury, but it didn’t work out that way. It’s still great to go back there and play in the Bay Area. I just have a lot of family and friends, so I’m sure there will be a lot of support from a lot of people. I know I have a lot of people coming to the game, so I’ll hear them in the crowd maybe when we warm up or something like that.
“I’m sure I’ll hear a lot of where I went to high school. They play a big playoff game (Friday night). I have some great memories from growing up there, but we’re out there to go out there and try to win a game.”
The Patriots are 13-point road favorites entering the game, but Brady said he’s not taking the 1-8 Niners lightly.
“I think I’d expect their best,” Brady said. “I think any time we play a team, we’re going to get their best shot, and I’m sure they’re excited about playing this week. We are, too. I don’t think you take any team lightly, because all these teams are so talented. I’ve played on a lot of teams where they were 2-12 and we got beat, or 3-11, we got beat.
“They’ve been close in a lot of games. They’ve had a lot of leads in these games, they just haven’t closed them out, so we’re going to have to go start fast, try to play with the lead, and try to get ahead and stay ahead if we can.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images