Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady fires up the crowd prior to a ceremony in his honor at halftime of the Patriots’ season opener on Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

When Tom Brady woke up Sunday morning, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do or say to the Gillette Stadium crowd during his halftime ceremony.

Then the future Hall of Fame Patriots quarterback decided to look up what his longtime rival did during his jersey retirement.

On the latest episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast, Brady revealed that Peyton Manning played a small part in Sunday’s ceremony honoring the seven-time Super Bowl champion.

“On Sunday morning at 6 a.m. when I woke up, I said, ‘You know what I’m gonna do? I don’t quite know what I’m gonna say to the crowd. Let me look at some of my favorite players get up there in their retirements and speak,’” I Google ‘Peyton Manning jersey retirement speech,’” Brady said.

“He goes up on stage, says great things like he always does, gets off the stage, (Jeff) Saturday snaps him the ball and he fires a post to Reggie (Wayne), and he hits Reggie in the end zone,” he continued. “So I was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do something fun that the crowd’s gonna really like. So let me run out there, kind of do my thing and I’ll get up on stage and have a good time.’ ”

And that’s exactly what Brady did.


He unzipped his jacket to unveil the No. 12 Patriots jersey he donned for two decades before doing his signature run down the sidelines. Brady capped it off by yelling, “Let’s Go!” into the crowd and took the stage in front of a sold-out Gillette Stadium — a day he won’t forget.

“So, Peyton, I will say even though you weren’t there, you were a part of that celebration for me,” Brady said on his podcast.

FOR A MOMENT, it appeared the Patriots’ comeback hopes remained alive. Quarterback Mac Jones connected with receiver Kayshon Boutte along the left sideline on a fourth and 13 play from the Philadelphia 22. However, a video review confirmed the rookie only got one foot in bounds on the catch and the Patriots lost to the Eagles, 25-20, in their season opener on Sunday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

It was the second time that Boutte – the Patriots’ sixth-round rookie receiver – had failed to get his two feet in bounds necessary for a completion in his NFL debut. It was a costly mistake, but a valuable teaching moment as he begins his career.

“It’s definitely something that can be worked on,” Patriots wide receivers coach Ross Douglas said. “We have a whole ball drill routine that we do, and that’s something definitely that will be added and more emphasized. It’s his first game as a professional football player, he’s coming from college football where he only needed one foot down to have it be a complete pass and now you gotta have two. He was in two situations where unfortunately he didn’t get it done but I expect him to be better moving forward and that’s definitely something that we’ll continue to work on.”

The Patriots put two of their rookie receivers straight into the fire in Sunday’s opener, with Boutte and Demario Douglas each having roles. Boutte was target four times but didn’t have a catch, while Douglas had four catches for 40 yards on seven targets. Their receivers coach was honest in his assessment of their debut performances.

“(Boutte) and Pop, they looked like two guys who it was their first NFL game, so there was some good, there were some mistakes they made,” Douglas said. “It’s a lot to clean up. But overall, it was a positive start. We didn’t win the game, but for those guys, it was a positive start for them and it’s something to work with moving forward.”

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