Will the 2022 NFL football season be the Tom Brady farewell tour?
For real, this time. Brady returned after a brief retirement this offseason. He turns 45 in August and is back for a 23rd NFL season; the third with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady also reportedly locked down a 10-year, $375 million deal to be a football analyst with Fox after retirement.
Now, about that farewell tour …
If this is it for Brady, then the schedule is a blockbuster event. Brady will face several old rivals, many of which he tormented in the postseason. He'll face several star quarterbacks; including three former MVPs and three former No. 1 picks. Five of the teams Brady beat in the Super Bowl are on the schedule.
Sporting News looks at all the stops on the Brady retirement tour:
Week 1: at Dallas Cowboys (8:20 p.m., NBC)
Brady owns the Cowboys. He's 6-0 against Dallas, and this is just Brady's second visit to Jerry World. Will this be a revisiting of last year's 31-29 thriller in the Thursday Night Football opener.
Week 2: at New Orleans Saints (1 p.m., FOX)
The Caesars Superdome has not been kind to Brady. He's 1-3 there between New England and Tampa Bay and that's come with nine TDs and six interceptions.
Week 3: vs. Green Bay Packers (4:25 p.m., FOX)
A fitting home opener. Rodgers and Brady have combined for seven NFL MVP awards. It's just the fifth head-to-head matchup between the two future Pro Football Hall of Fame QBs, and Green Bay's last trip to Tampa Bay was a 38-10 disaster on Oct. 18, 2020.
Week 4: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8:20 p.m., NBC)
This is the best prime-time game on the schedule. Mahomes is the third former MVP on Tampa Bay's home schedule this season. Brady and Mahomes have met five times, with Brady holding a 3-2 advantage that includes victories in the 2018 AFC championship game with New England and Super Bowl LV with Tampa Bay.
Week 5: vs. Atlanta Falcons (1 p.m., FOX)
Brady is 10-0 with 28 TDs and four interceptions in 10 career games against the Falcons. We're surprised it's not 28 TDs and three interceptions. Too soon?
Week 6: at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m., FOX)
Simply put, Brady owns the Steelers. Including postseason, he's 12-3 with 34 TDs and five interceptions against Pittsburgh. Good luck with that, Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett.
Week 7: at Carolina Panthers (1 p.m., FOX)
Tampa Tom has not treated the Panthers well. They are 0-4 against the Bucs with Brady, and they've lost those games by an average of 21.8 points per game.
Week 8: vs. Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m., Prime Video)
Thursday Night Football gets it right with another round with Lamar Jackson, the 2019 NFL MVP. Brady is 8-4 lifetime against the Ravens, but he's 0-1 against Jackson, who led Baltimore to a 37-20 blowout against New England on Sunday Night Football in 2019.
Week 9: vs. Los Angeles Rams (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Brady's first CBS game of the year. Matthew Stafford is another former No. 1 pick that Brady will face off against in a rematch of last year's 30-27 thriller. Brady is 0-3 against the Rams since coming to Tampa Bay.
Week 10 vs. Seattle Seahawks (9:30 a.m., NFL Network)
Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany seats about 75,000. How many of those fans will be wearing Brady jerseys in the first ever NFL game in Germany? Brady is 1-2 against Pete Carroll in Seattle, and that one everybody remembers.
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: at Cleveland Browns (1 p.m., FOX)
Brady returned from his Deflategate suspension in 2016 and torched the Browns for 406 yards and three TDs at FirstEnergy Stadium. Will this be Deshaun Watson's debut in Cleveland? Brady will still torch the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Week 13: vs. New Orleans Saints (8:15 p.m., ESPN)
It's perhaps one last chance to watch Brady on Monday Night Football. where he's 19-8 for his career. It's also another shot at the Saints in a heated NFC South rivalry.
Week 14: at San Francisco 49ers (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Will Jimmy Garoppolo still be the 49ers' quarterback here? Brady gets another matchup against his favorite team as a child. It's just his second start at San Francisco. It's a good time to bring out Joe Montana for the coin toss.
Week 15: vs. Cincinnati Bengals (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Cue up the "passing the torch" narratives. Brady will meet yet another No. 1 pick in Joe Burrow, who led the Bengals to the Super Bowl 56 last season. Brady is 7-1 with 17 TDs and three interceptions against Cincinnati.
Week 16: at Arizona Cardinals (8:20 p.m., SNF)
Will this be Brady's SNF farewell? Kyler Murray, another No. 1 pick, gets a shot to spoil that here. State Farm Stadium will bring back at least one bad flashback for Brady.
Week 17: vs. Carolina Panthers (1 p.m., FOX)
Carolina first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu was 3 years old when Brady led the Patriots to a 32-29 victory against the Panthers in Super Bowl 38. That's all we got here.
Week 18: at Atlanta Falcons (TBD)
Don't make another 28-3 joke ... Don't make another 28-3 joke ...