Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 21-16 in the historic first-ever NFL regular season game in Germany.
The NFL released its biggest star to mark its global expansion in Munich, and Brady gave a masterclass to rock a jam-packed Allianz Arena.
Brady improved to 4-0 in International Series matches after winning two in London and one in Mexico City.
The Bucs go 5-5 for the season.
The NFL has played 33 games in London since 2007 and continues to play in Mexico as well, and now Germany could be the next permanent base given the huge demand for tickets and the breathtaking atmosphere on Sunday.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Brady said on the field after the game. “It looked like a heated game when we went out for warm-ups, so it was pretty electric.
“I hope the German fans got what they wanted.”
Brady has endured a tough season so far, but the seven-time Super Bowl champion produced a classic late comeback last week to stop the rot and followed that up with an impeccable performance at home to Bayern Munich.
Brady, 45, threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns as the Buccaneers opened up a 21-3 lead in the fourth quarter before Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith finally started to move Seattle.
Smith and the Seahawks entered the game as one of the surprise successes of the season, winning six of their first nine games despite trading star QB Russell Wilson before the start of the campaign, but they struggled against a rejuvenated defense of the Bucs.
When the Seahawks finally started, Smith threw TD passes to Tyler Lockett and Marquise Goodwin to cut the deficit to five points at 21-16, but Brady retained possession with a nearly four-minute drive to seal the win.
Brady back to his best after losing streak
It’s been a tough time for Brady on and off the pitch this season, with his decision go back to retirement resembling the bad as the Bucs failed to get anywhere near the level they had been in the previous two seasons with him at QB.
But while he may struggle to recover from big hits at his age, his arm strength hasn’t diminished at all because, with the team able to run the ball and open up some extra spaces, Brady was able to throw the ball around the field, zipping it into his receiver with as much speed as he ever had.
There aren’t many NFL records that Brady doesn’t have, and he collected one more when he threw the first-ever touchdown in Germany – his 11th quickly followed by his 12th thrown outside the United States as he maintained his undefeated record on foreign soil.
Brady badly missed another record as he threw his first interception since the season opener, Cody Barton’s pick ending a streak of 399 consecutive pass attempts for Brady without returning it – just three fewer than Aaron Rodgers’ NFL record of 402.
It still spells a good day in the German office for Brady and the Bucs, who now have a week off but will still return to the top of the NFC South division, and if their defense and running game continues to improve, it could yet to be another successful season for the man widely regarded as the league’s GOAT (greatest of all time).
More games in Germany on the cards?
The NFL has signed a deal to play four games in Germany through 2025, with Munich and Frankfurt alternating as host sites, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hinted over the weekend that other games could be added.
“In our commitment, we are going to play the next four years, at least, and with at least four games,” Goodell told a fan forum in Munich on Saturday.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if it expanded beyond that at some point soon.”
Four teams were granted new marketing rights in Germany as part of the International Home Marketing Area initiative the league introduced, aimed at producing more individual team fans than general NFL fans.
Tampa Bay is joined by the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers in securing rights in Germany – and those teams may well ask to add an extra game to the four already scheduled.
“There is always the possibility that one of our clubs wants to play another game here, there is the possibility of having more inventory,” Brett Gosper, head of NFL UK and Europe, told Sky Sports. .
“What we know is there’s a lot of capacity for more inventory here, that’s not a problem. So if there are more games, that would be wonderful.”