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Tom Brady will be first quarterback to start a conference championship game in three different decades

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Tom Brady basically owns every postseason passing record in NFL history, an accomplishment reached by a quarterback who has taken his team to the postseason in 18 of his 21 years (and who missed the playoffs in a year where he threw just three passes and the other where he tore his ACL in Week 1). Brady reaching this feat shouldn’t be surprising, but it deserves to be mentioned as a reminder of his greatness.

When Brady starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday, he will become the first quarterback in NFL history to start in three conference championship games in three different decades: the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s. Brady’s first conference title game start in the 2000s came with the New England Patriots in the 2001 season while his first conference championship game start in the 2010s occurred in the 2011 season — the first of nine consecutive conference title game appearances (Brady was 34 in 2011). Reaching the conference title game with the Buccaneers in the 2020 season sealed Brady starting conference championship games in three different decades.

“You could tell,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said to reporters on how special Sunday’s divisional round win was for Brady. “The emotions were really, really good. We had some good moments on the field, in the locker room and on the plane. He knows it’s just starting — this is far from being finished. He’s holding most of them in check.”

Brady is the fourth quarterback since the NFL merger to go to the conference championship game in each conference — joining Joe Montana (San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs), Jay Schroeder (Washington and Los Angeles Raiders), and Craig Morton (Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos). Brady has more conference championship game appearances than 28 other NFL franchises. He has more playoff wins (32) than all but five franchises. Only the Pittsburgh SteelersGreen Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and New England Patriots have more — and Brady has 30 of the Patriots’ playoff wins. 

Brady needs a win to join Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner, and Craig Morton as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to lead two separate franchises to the Super Bowl. He needs just two touchdown passes to pass Brad Johnson (five) for the most in Buccaneers playoff history — and he’s played just one postseason (two games) with the team. 

Reaching a conference title game in three different decades is another incredible accomplishment in the career of Tom Brady. For his next trick, Brady may try to reach a conference championship game in his 50s. 




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