FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Tom Brady's return to Foxborough began by ringing a bell atop Gillette Stadium's new Lighthouse. At halftime, a capacity crowd gave a ringing endorsement when Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft announced he was waiving the four-year wait period to induct Brady into the team's hall of fame next spring.
"When Tom Brady announced his retirement after 23 NFL seasons, there was only one place I wanted him to be on opening day – right here at Gillette Stadium, with 65,000 of his closest friends," said Kraft when he addressed the crowd at halftime. "Patriots fans didn't get an opportunity to appropriately thank Tom when he left. I wanted to give them that opportunity. Unfortunately, a halftime ceremony just doesn't provide enough time to honor Tommy the way he deserves."
In addition to accelerating the induction process, Kraft also announced that for the first time, the team will host its Hall of Fame ceremony inside Gillette Stadium to accommodate as many fans as possible. The ceremony will be held the evening of June 12, 2024. Patriots executives chose the 12th day of the sixth month as two of the numbers most often associated with Tom Brady's Patriots career; his six Super Bowl championships and his iconic uniform number, 12. The ceremony will be a ticketed event in which Season Ticket Members will receive first priority. Details will be communicated to Season Ticket Members later this year prior to any public announcement.
Brady becomes the first player to have the four-year wait period waived since the current Patriots Hall of Fame guidelines were established in 2007. Kraft chose to make a special exception for a special player. As a result, Brady will become the 35th person to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by RTX.
Brady entered the NFL as the 199th overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft. Over the next two decades with the Patriots, he set nearly every imaginable franchise passing record and propelled the Patriots to six Super Bowl championships, nine AFC Conference crowns and 17 AFC East Division titles, which included 41 playoff games, 30 playoff wins and 219 regular season wins. He also earned three NFL MVP Awards during his time in New England.
Brady finished his career as the most accomplished player in NFL history with 251 wins, 15 Pro Bowl berths, seven Super Bowl wins, 7,753 completions, 89,214 passing yards and 649 touchdowns.
The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by RTX will host its 2023 ceremony on the Enel Plaza just outside the Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 21 starting at 12:00 p.m. ET. The fans selected Mike Vrabel for induction this year. He will be joined by long-time assistant coach Dante Scarnecchia, who was selected by Robert Kraft as this year's contributor. The 2023 ceremony is free and open to the public. All fans, former teammates and coaches are welcome and encouraged to attend.
About The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by RTX
The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by RTX is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and one of the only sports and education experiences of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits and historical artifacts, the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by RTX displays the tradition of the New England Patriots, explores the history of football in New England and promotes math and science education for the thousands of schoolchildren who visit each year. It is also home to the Patriots' six Lombardi Trophies. For more information, please visit www.patriotshalloffame.com.