Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady entered the NFL in 2000. Since then, the Bay Area native has played only once in San Francisco.
On Sunday, he’ll play there for just the second time.
“For as long as I’ve played to have one experience there, and it was a great one, too,” Brady told reporters on Thursday. “We played out there, it was a rainy day, it was 20-16, we had a really good football team and I had a lot of friends and family in the crowd. I ran out for pregame warmup and I remember Chip Kelly coming over and he was like, ‘Damn, it’s a home game for you.’ And it really was. There was a lot of great [things]. I always consider myself a California kid, and I grew up obviously loving Joe Montana and Steve Young. And going to 49er games, that’s where I fell in love with football. We’d sit up there in the nosebleeds. We had four tickets — my mom and dad would go, I would usually go and then one of my sisters would go.
“I was lucky to grow up in the Bay Area at that time. It was just a great time. There were so many great players, it was a great era of football and I loved the 49ers. I loved them through college, and then when they skipped over me six times I started hating the 49ers, and that’s just the way it went down.
“I never got a chance to go out there. I was supposed to go out there in ’08 and we had it all set up. We were talking all offseason, my first time going out there, and then I tore my ACL in Week One. So I had to wait another eight years; we went to the new stadium, so I never even got to play in Candlestick. And then [I] had the one experience, which was really fun. It was just great after the game, it was nice for my parents not to have to travel and go to a game for once. It was nice to go to them.
“I’ll have a group of family and friends there that are all supportive, people from growing up in the neighborhood. My parents still live on Portola Drive in San Mateo, same house I grew up in. I was just a lucky kid growing up in the Bay Area. It was a great place to grow up in. . . . I went to Michigan and obviously went home whenever I could. Then I went further away to Boston, so I kept going further and further away from California. I came here, still didn’t make it any closer. So my parents have certainly racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles over the years. It’s been a magical experience. It will be great to go home and see a lot of people that I probably haven’t seen in a long time, my aunts and uncles, and try to go win a football game.”
That may be the hardest part for Brady. The 49ers have an elite defense, one that could give Brady fits as he tries to go 2-0 against the 49ers in their own stadium.