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Tom Brady once beat his new offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich in the playoffs

Tom Brady and Byron Leftwich have taken much different paths in the 14 years since they met on a Wild Card Weekend.

Wild Card Game: Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

Tom Brady is the new starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And with that, Brady will be coached by a former quarterback who was drafted three years after him. One with whom he has a little history too.

Byron Leftwich made just only postseason start in his NFL career, but was easily beaten by Brady and the Patriots. Now, 14 years after that 28-3 win for the Patriots over the Jaguars, Leftwich is about to become Brady’s offensive coordinator.

When the Jaguars and Patriots met in that January 2006 game, it was a battle of David vs. Goliath.

New England was already a three-time Super Bowl champion with 28-year-old Brady leading the way. Jacksonville was in its first playoff game in six years and starting Leftwich, despite the fact the third-year quarterback missed all of December with a broken ankle.

The game went as expected. The Patriots cruised to a blowout win with Brady throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. Leftwich threw a pick-six early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by David Garrard shortly thereafter. When the Jaguars made the playoffs again two years later, Garrard was the starter and Brady again booted Jacksonville from the postseason (and one more time in January 2018).

In the 14 years since the 2006 Wild Card Weekend victory for the Patriots, Brady and Leftwich have traveled much different paths.

Brady played in six more Super Bowls, won three of them, and solidified his status as the greatest quarterback in NFL history. While he had pedestrian numbers by his standard in 2019, he’s set to sign a deal at age 42 that guarantees him at least $50 million over the next two seasons.

Leftwich, on the other hand, was released by the Jaguars in 2007 and spent the next five years as a backup for the Falcons, Steelers, and Buccaneers. He turned to coaching in 2016 and quickly became a Bruce Arians protege. In just three seasons with the Cardinals, Leftwich climbed his way up to offensive coordinator duties. He was hired by Arians for the same position with the Buccaneers and led an offense that finished the 2019 season third in points scored.

Brady will now be tasked with taking the Buccaneers’ offense to the Super Bowl. The 42-year-old quarterback already had his first Super Bowl ring when Leftwich was picked seventh overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.

If Brady being coached by someone almost three years younger sounds like a recipe for disaster, it probably isn’t. It’s not the first time Brady has been coached by someone close to his own age. Longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is just 43 and his football career only went as far as playing wide receiver at John Carroll University.

At his introductory conference call with Tampa reporters, Brady sounded enthused about working with an offensive coordinator who was one of his peers.

Leftwich’s playoff loss to Brady way back in 2006 will have no impact on the Buccaneers’ success in 2020. It’s one hell of a footnote, though.