Nine months after Tom Brady went viral for not knowing what down it was in a “Thursday Night Football” loss to the Chicago Bears, the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback finally admitted what everyone knew — he thought it was third down instead of fourth.
The Brady shot went viral when he put four fingers up with a confused face once the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost possession — and the game. Brady wouldn’t discuss the incident all year, but finally came clean on TikTok of all places while running through some clips from the 2020 season.
“Fourth quarter, last chance in Chicago — I thought it was the second-to-last chance in Chicago but apparently not,” Brady admitted. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as confused as I’ve been in this moment right here. Look at that face.”
Facing a fourth-and-6 on his own 41-yard line with the Buccaneers trailing the Bears 20-19 with 33 seconds to play, Brady threw an incomplete pass to Cameron Brate that resulted in a turnover on downs. Brady thought the Buccaneers were on third down as he pointed up four fingers to lead official Alex Kemp, and the quarterback and head coach Bruce Arians never really acknowledged Brady’s error in the coming days.
“I knew we needed a chunk and I was thinking about more yardage,” Brady said back in October. “It was bad execution. I had a great opportunity there. Just didn’t execute when we needed to.”
Brady was again asked if he knew he was facing a fourth down immediately after the question, and he gave a more direct answer.
“You’re up against the clock,” Brady said. “I knew we had to gain a chunk, so I should have been thinking more first down instead of chunk on that down.”
Arians said Brady knew it was fourth down, defending his quarterback. Brady obviously didn’t know the correct down and finally admitted to his error.
Everything seemed to work out for Brady and the Buccaneers since that gaffe. Brady finished the regular season completing 66.4% of his passes for 3,258 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions and a 104.7 passer rating as the Buccaneers went 8-3 to close the rest of the year. Brady completed 58.7% of his passes in the playoffs for 1,061 yards with 10 touchdowns to just three interceptions (98.1 rating) as Tampa Bay won its second Super Bowl title in franchise history.
Brady can laugh off his mistake after how his season turned out. He’s still on top of the NFL at 43.