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How does Mac Jones' first year compare to Tom Brady's first year?

The New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills to rattle off their seventh straight win. Mac Jones has been a key part of the Patriots turnaround.

The New England Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills to rattle off their seventh straight win. Mac Jones has been a key part of the Patriots turnaround.
Timothy T LudwigAFP

Finding a franchise quarterback in the NFL is not easy. Drafting one is an even tougher task. And having that franchise quarterback find success in his first year under center is nearly impossible. But it seems like the New England Patriots have unlocked the secret to drafting signal callers that fit right in from the get go.

How it started

In his first season, Pats rookie Mac Jones has announced himself as New England’s undisputed replacement to Tom Brady. Through 13 weeks as the Patriots QB1, he has led his side to the top of the AFC after a seven game win streak.

The Patriots selected Mac Jones with the 15th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Whether or not that was Bill Belichick’s desired quarterback may never be known. Jones was the fifth and last quarterback taken in what was a stacked class that saw five QBs drafted in the first round. There were doubts about his mobility, and if a pocket passer could survive in the modern age NFL.

Over two decades ago the Patriots drafted a scrawny, two year starter from the University of Michigan named Tom Brady with the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft. While Brady threw just three passes in his rookie year, the year after he took over as the New England starter after Drew Bledsoe was injured in Week 2. Brady led the Pats to an 11-3 regular season, and New England’s first Super Bowl Title in franchise history.

How it's going

So let’s take a look at both quarterbacks numbers in their first year as their starter in Foxborough.

Brady started in sophomore season

Before we look forward, we have to look back. The year before Brady took over as quarterback of the Patriots, they went 5-11 and did not make the playoffs. That was Bill Belichick’s first year in charge of the Patriots.

Twenty years later, Belichick found himself without the services of Brady after No. 12 shipped south to Tampa Bay. Belichick and the Pats went 7-9, leaving them with the 15th pick of this years draft.

While it took a year for Brady to be named Belichick’s QB1, Mac Jones was named the starter from Day 1 in New England.

Jones vs Brady's first year under center

Brady didn’t play in Week 1 of his sophomore season, so we won’t count that game. The Pats of 2001 lost three of their first six with Brady at quarterback. The Pats of this year went 2-4 through the first six.

Stop me if this sounds familiar, but from Week 10 on Brady ended the regular season with six straight victories. They got a first round bye after and finished the season 13-3. We all know the story after that. The famous tuck game against Oakland, then a seven point win over Pittsburgh, and then the Super Bowl win over Saint Louis cemented the first chapter of the Brady legacy.

Since the 2-4 start, Jones has led the Patriots to seven consecutive wins. They went from an after thought in the AFC East to the leaders of the conference in under two months. Home field may not be guaranteed, but they are on the right track in a skin tight playoff picture for the AFC.

Tale of the tape

There is still a lot of time left in the regular season, not to mention playoffs butIn his first season in the NFL, but Mac Jones has the edge on Brady when it comes to debut year stats. He has thrown for 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 70.3% passing.

In Brady’s first regular season under center for the Patriots he threw for 2,843 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions on 63.9%.

There is a whole lot of football left, but Mac Jones has impressed in his debut season as New England’s quarterback. It would probably be a bit presumptuous to name him the second coming off Tom Brady,  but Jones is driving the Pats in the direction they want to be.


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