5 times Tom Brady buckled under pressure
Tom Brady will go down as the greatest quarterback in NFL history when he eventually calls it a career, but the 44-year-old shows no signs of slowing down, having re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2022 season.
TB12 has won more Super Bowl rings than any other player in NFL history with seven, six of which came with the New England Patriots, where he spent 20 seasons before switching to Tampa Bay and bringing home another Lombardi in 2020. Brady has consistently shown, across his 22 seasons in the NFL, that he is excellent in pressure situations, but there are times when even the greatest player in league history has crumbled under the pressure.
5 times Tom Brady didn’t deal with pressure
#5 - Super Bowl XLII vs New York Giants
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots went 16-0 during the regular season in 2008, but that did not help as they lost the Super Bowl to Eli Manning and the New York Giants 17-14. He and his favorite target Randy Moss were kept relatively quiet on the day, with TB12 only passing for one touchdown and ending the game with a passer rating of 82.5.
This was one of the biggest upsets in NFL history, as the Giants had only snuck into the playoffs as a wildcard, having gone 10-6 during the regular season. The Patriots were 12-point favorites going into the big game, and it was clear that Brady didn’t live up to his lofty expectations.
#4 - 2003 Season Opener vs Buffalo Bills
It’s not often we see Tom Brady out on the field displaying such a lack of precision and calmness. That was, however, the case in the 2003 season opener against the Patriots’ division rival Bufffalo Bills. He threw four interceptions and had zero touchdowns as the Bills torched the Patriots 31-0.
TB12 had his worst career passer rating that day, too, with just a 22.5! He wouldn't have minded too much in the grand scheme of things, as the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
5 times Tom Brady buckled under pressure
#3 - 2019 AFC Wildcard vs Tennessee Titans
Brady and the Patriots had already embarked on a dynasty for the ages by the time the Tennessee Titans rolled into Foxborough in January 2020, and the entire NFL expected Brady to lead his team to victory. Brady and head coach Bill Belichick had been there plenty of times down the years, and everyone thought they would get it done against Ryan Tannehill and the Titans. However, Derrick Henry dominated, rushing for 182 yards and a touchdown, while Brady himself could only manage 209 yards passing and an interception as the Titans won 20-13.
The interception was a game-sealing pick-six, and was the last throw Tom Brady would make in a Patriots uniform. Perhaps, he felt the pressure of knowing it could be his last game, which led to his costly interception.
#2 - Super Bowl LII vs Philadelphia Eagles
In contrast, TB12 had an excellent game in Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles, but buckled under pressure as he and the New England Patriots went down 41-33. Brady had 505 passing yards and three touchdowns, finishing with a passer rating of 115.4. However, two vital plays halted the Patriots in their path. At first, he was unable to make a catch on a trick play with a pass from Danny Amendola. Then, as the Patriots attempted to march down the field, Brady was strip-sacked by Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham, who effectively sealed the game.
Brady clearly felt the pressure literally and figuratively in this Super Bowl.
#1 - Super Bowl XLVI vs New York Giants
This was Tom Brady’s second matchup against Eli Manning and the Giants in the Super Bowl in the space of four seasons, but he couldn’t exercise his demons and, once again, lost the big game. Brady played better than in the first Super Bowl against the Giants, passing for 276 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. He also amassed a passer rating of 91.1, but the Patriots still fell 21-17 to the Giants.
Similar to the first Super Bowl matchup between these sides, the Patriots came in favorites with a 13-3 regular-season record against the Giants’ 9-7 record. He clearly couldn’t handle the pressure on the day against Eli Manning, as Manning would be only one of two quarterbacks to beat Tom Brady in a Super Bowl, along with Nick Foles.