Tom Brady has been playing so long some of his opponents’ childhoods were ruined by his early-career success.
“I remember where I watched it. Went to a friend’s house. The Dickens’ house. A family friend,” the now 22-year-old Jones told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “Obviously it was heartbreaking when [kicker Adam] Vinatieri made that field goal.”
As is his modus operandi, Jones didn’t shake the boat when discussing the Patriots or Thursday night’s tussle, noting that he was too young to harbor a grudge against Brady or New England for the loss.
“Not really,” Jones said. “Don’t think I knew that much at that age. Knew I liked the Panthers.”
At 42 years old, Brady is no stranger to facing vastly younger players at this stage of his career, but Thursday’s matchup with Jones will be historic. Brady has 212 wins, 71,923 passing yards (18 away from passing Peyton Manning for 2nd all-time), and 527 passing touchdowns in his 20-year career. Jones has 2 wins, 760 yards, and 4 touchdowns in his rookie season. The gaps of 210 wins, 71,163 yards, and 523 TDs between Brady and Jones are all the largest by opposing starting QBs in NFL history.
The 19-year, 297-day age gap between Jones and Brady is the second-largest difference between opposing starting QBs since 1970 (the largest was the Jets‘ Sam Darnold and Brady — 19 years, 306 days — in Week 17, 2018).
Jones (22 years, 136 days on game day) would become the youngest QB to beat the Patriots in the Brady-Belichick era (since 2001) with a win Thursday night.
“Yeah, I think just some of their tendencies and how they’ve evolved over the years,” Jones said of picking Manning’s brain about facing the Pats. “I think they’ve changed a little bit from the times — but [Manning] has the experience from seeing that change. But yeah … who they are, the foundation of their defense, is helpful in preparing.”
History also is against Jones: Brady has won all 11 of his home starts against rookie QBs in his career.