The previous time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady opened a season at home against Kansas City in 2008, it ended with him limping off the field with a season-ending knee injury.
Now nine years removed from the most significant injury of his career, Brady said it is the furthest thing from his mind as New England prepares to host the Chiefs on Thursday night.
"Yeah, I didn't think about that," Brady said Monday. "Time flies."
The Chiefs won 12 games and their first AFC West championship since 2010, earning a first-round bye in the playoffs. And while injuries hamstrung them late in the year, and a hopeless performance by their offense doomed them in a postseason loss to Pittsburgh — at home, no less — coach Andy Reid still felt his team was on the precipice of going much deeper.
"I would surely tell you that we have an opportunity to do that," Reid admitted during training camp. "Now we have to do our work. We've had a good offseason, but it starts now."
Q: It seems like Tamba’s knee problems are chronic, he’s been having this for a while. What’s going to change between now and October or whenever you guys might be able to get him back?
REID: “I think it’s just a matter of monitoring and keeping an eye on him and letting him continue to rehab and when he’s ready to go, then you let him go. For the time being just making sure you control it.”
“He’s been able to win," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “That’s what this game is about. You want a quarterback that your team can win with and they can win for your team. They have that. That’s really what we all want. I have a ton of respect for Alex Smith."
That hardly seemed enough, considering the Chiefs will open their season Thursday night against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Judging by their actions -- last week they looked into signing veteran Joe Haden when he was briefly a free agent -- the Chiefs seemed to agree.
But with an asset like Hill and Andy Reid’s reputation for creative play design — he had defensive tackle Dontari Poe throw a jump pass for a touchdown last season — along with additional time to prepare, no telling what the Chiefs could cook up.
“I don’t know exactly where he’ll be, but you certainly have to be conscious of him whenever he’s on the field,” Belichick said.
“I don’t even know if we’ll be out there when that thing comes down. That is for the fans. This team has thought about the 2017 season,” Patriots quarterback and Super Bowl LI MVP Tom Brady told reporters on Monday. “That was great, we celebrated and had a good time, but this team has to earn its own. Everything we get we’re going to have to earn. Our goals are ahead of us. Every team starts at the same place.
On Thursday, the New England Patriots will kick off the 2017 NFL season against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. Before the game, the defending world champions will unveil their fifth Super Bowl banner – today, they have already unveiled something else: the first injury report of the season. Let's take a look at it.