Six of the 13 players that began or played over 40 percent of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps in 2020 have retired or are no longer with the group. However, the Bucs yield all 22 starters on defense and offense in their Super Bowl LV win — the first time a group has achieved that in the salary cap era.
In Brady’s first time with the team, the Bucs averaged 30.19 points a match in 2020 — second in the NFL behind only the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys let a franchise-worst 473 points in 2020, with former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn carrying over defensive playcalling in 2021 and orchestrating a defensive overhaul.
Gronkowski, who turns 32 on Friday, retired following the 2018 season because of injuries before returning to play Brady at Tampa Bay last year and winning his fourth ring.
The team and the Tampa Bay Sports Commission are arranging free music and soccer festival leading up to the season’s opener. The team office says details about the musical actions will soon be unveiled this summer.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 34-20 at the NFL Kickoff Game in Arrowhead Stadium this past year. They ended up moving 14-2 in the regular season before losing to the Bucs 31-9 at Super Bowl LV.
The Patriots, with Cam Newton largely under center, went 7-9 in 2020, missing the playoffs for the first time because of the 2008 season.
This may also mark the first time that the Bucs will play at the Kickoff Game, the season-opening competition that premiered in 2002. They won Super Bowl XXXVII, then opened another time on Monday Night Football, beating the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in 2003.
“9/9 can not arrive soon enough,” Brady published in his Instagram Story on Tuesday. “Excited to start ‘America’s Team.'”
The Bucs that started six-point favorites on the Cowboys in Caesars Sportsbook from William Hill on Wednesday are 0-2 all-time against Prescott, with dropped 27-20 in Week 16 in 2018 and 26-20 in Week 15 at 2016, with the two matches played AT&T Stadium.
Brady will go into the season only 1,154 meters behind Drew Brees for the NFL’s career passing record. Together with the Pats game in Week 4, he is in line to split the mark at his return to Foxborough. At his 2020 speed (289.6 passing yards per game), he’d finish Week 4 together with 1,158 yards.
Considering that the Kickoff Game has been released, Brady has gone 3-1 on the Thursday night, with all wins in 2004,’05, and’15 while using the Patriots. His only loss came from the Chiefs in Gillette Stadium in 2017. Brady also has the most starts (four) and wins (three) from the Kickoff Game of any quarterback since the NFL began playing these games in 2002.
Brady and also Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott — who’s expected to return out of a compound fracture and dislocation of the right ankle suffered last year — will face off for only the second time in their professions. Their very first matchup was in 2019 when Brady was with the Patriots.
Brady is 10-1 time when opening the season in the home, but that will mark his first time doing this as a Buccaneer.
The NFL announced programs for all 32 teams on Wednesday night. The 2021 NFL year will mark the first time every team will perform 17 regular-season games.