Everything you need to know about Tom Brady’s induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame

The New England Patriots began planning Wednesday’s induction of Tom Brady into the Hall of Fame more than a year ago. Shortly after the star quarterback retired (for real this time), Patriots executives got together to figure out how to celebrate arguably the game’s greatest player.

A recognition plan that began with Brady’s halftime speech at the Patriots’ home opener last season (during which he declared himself a “Patriot for life”) will culminate Wednesday night in front of a packed house in Foxboro. This is how the event was born.

What is happening?

The Patriots take their Hall of Fame franchise more seriously than most teams, perhaps a fitting tradition for the most dominant team of the 21st century. They started their Hall of Fame in 1991, but gained notoriety in 2008 when the team opened a physical location adjacent to Gillette Stadium, taking inspiration from the Green Bay Packers.

The Patriots have a four-year waiting period between when players retire and when they are eligible for the franchise’s Hall of Fame. That’s a year before players are eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, giving the franchise a chance to honor players a year before they’re eligible for a Gold Jacket. (The Patriots give their Hall of Fame franchise a red jacket.)


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But given Brady’s stature and everything he meant to the Patriots, owner Robert Kraft and the organization wanted to find more meaningful ways to honor him. So during his halftime visit for the 2023 opener, Kraft announced that Brady would become the first player to have the Patriots’ Hall of Fame waiting period waived.

Wait, why is the ceremony taking place in mid-June?

The Patriots started planning this over a year ago. But Brady’s new job created a problem.

Typically, the team likes to welcome back its inductee for a full business weekend, with a ceremony taking place on the Saturday before a home game, then allowing the former player to watch Sunday’s game in Kraft’s sequel. (Last year’s inductee, Mike Vrabel, ruffled the feathers of Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk when the then-Titans coach sat next to Kraft during the week of leave from the Titans. Strunk fired Vrabel shortly after the season.)

While Brady is set to call games for Fox this season, he would not be available for one weekend this fall to be honored by the Patriots. The franchise therefore switched to a summer date.

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The Patriots quickly realized it would be difficult to hold the event in July given that the start of that month is when most NFL players go on vacation. The end of the month is the start of training camp. Since many of the people the Patriots wanted to have in this event are tied to the league schedule, it would have been difficult to get them before mid-June or give time in early July.

Weekends were not a realistic option because, with planning having taken place over a year ago, the Saturday dates were blocked by the stadium for possible New England Revolution or US Soccer, as well as possible concerts. The organization also looked at Larry Bird’s 1993 jersey retirement ceremony with the Boston Celtics and realized it took place on a Thursday, which helped fuel the idea of ​​a mid-season event. week.

The Pats then looked ahead to their minicamp week in mid-June. It would be easier, they thought, to bring back Brady’s former teammates (two prominent ones — Vrabel and Wes Welker — are now coaches) as teams around the league finish their minicamps.

Additionally, the Patriots found meaning in the date of their final minicamp session: June 12. They marketed it as an easy date to remember: the sixth month of the year for Brady’s six Super Bowls with the Patriots, and the 12th day of the month. for his soon-to-be-retired act.

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Who will be there?

The response from Brady’s former teammates was astounding. The team expects more than 200 of his former teammates to return to Foxboro for the event, along with dozens of coaches and some A-list celebrities that Brady has befriended.

Yes, that includes Bill Belichick. The former coach who parted ways with the team in January has not returned to Gillette since parting ways with the Pats. He should be there on Wednesday.

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The team hasn’t released the exact guest list, but all the major names are expected to be there, including Gronkowski, Vrabel, Welker, Julian Edelman and Randy Moss.

And of course, tens of thousands of fans will be there. The team put tickets on sale in waves, and each batch sold out on the same day, likely resulting in a packed stadium Wednesday night. These ticket sales were primarily intended to cover operational expenses, but the total cost of the show is expected to far exceed the revenue generated from tickets.

What will it look like?

It will be held similarly to previous Patriots Hall of Fame ceremonies, but in a larger venue. The team is expected to have a panel of former teammates telling stories about Brady, his career and their time together. Belichick will also likely take the mic and share his own stories.

Next, Kraft will take the floor and welcome Brady to the podium.

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Can I watch it?

The event will begin at 7 p.m. ET and is expected to last 2.5 hours. (That means it should end before halftime of the Celtics’ Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.)

It will be broadcast on the Patriots’ social media channels and on the team’s website. It will not be broadcast on local television.

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(Illustration: John Bradford / Athleticism; Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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