It took Tom Brady nearly 17 full seasons to get there, but the Patriots quarterback enjoyed his first game against the San Francisco 49ers in the Bay Area to the fullest.
Brady grew up a Niners fan in San Mateo, Calif., but the last time New England played in San Francisco was 2008, when he missed the entire season with a torn ACL. And even though the 39-year-old never got to lead his team to victory at Candlestick Park, where the 49ers played until the 2014 season, he enjoyed the Patriots 30-17 win at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., just as much.
“It was incredible,” Brady told Jim Gray on Monday on Westwood One radio. “And to be in front of my family and my friends and so many people that I’ve known over the years that have supported me to come home for the first time was — I’ll never forget it.
“Some special memories from the game and from the weekend. Seeing my mom and dad on their own home turf on a Saturday, and then to have my sisters at the game all at once, all my nieces, my nephews, it was great. And to win, and to play under the tough conditions that we faced with the weather, and it was a close game up there at halftime, and we found a way to really grind it out, so it was just a great weekend to be home in the Bay Area and a great win for the Patriots.”
Brady famously was selected 199th overall in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, meaning he really could have played for any team in the league. He told Gray he’s thought about what would have happened if his hometown team didn’t pass on him nine times in the draft, but he’s glad he ended up with the Pats.
“I think over the course of the week, I thought a little bit about growing up and being such a 49er fan like I was, all those 49er players — some were at the game (Sunday) — inspired me to play football and want to play football,” Brady said. “… In 2000, I had the very fortunate opportunity to get chosen by a different team that’s now my team, … and things couldn’t have worked out any better. I wouldn’t change any of it for — I wouldn’t change any of these things that have happened over the course of my whole career. I’m so happy to be on the Patriots and play for such great coaches and play with so many great teammates as I have for the last 17 years.”
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