BSJ Oral History: Tom Brady’s first NFL start, 16 years ago this week

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(Courtesy of the New England Patriots/Peter Ventrone)

FOXBOROUGH -- Before there were banners, rings or even Gillette Stadium, there was 0-2.

It’s not hyperbolic to suggest that three games into the 2001 season, the Patriots were in trouble. They had lost their starting quarterback. They had lost their first two games to open the season. And they were set to face the Colts and Peyton Manning, a team that had scored 87 points in their first two games that year.

But 16 years ago this week, second-year quarterback Tom Brady — who had already made it known to some of his teammates he should have already been No. 1 quarterback — made the first start of his NFL career. It was one of the handful of moments that helped jumpstart that amazing season, and set the stage for the current New England dynasty. What follows is an oral history of that week leading up to that memorable game, as well as some memories of the contest from those who were on the scene.

Of course, Brady saw significant snaps for the first time in his career the week before, after Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of the game the week before against the Jets. Brady nearly engineered a late comeback, only to fall just short as time ran out.