New England Patriots fans won’t have to choose whether to watch their team’s games or those of longtime quarterback Tom Brady until late in the season.
The Patriots and Brady’s new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, won’t play at the same time until Week 15. New England visits the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET on that day (Dec. 20), while the Buccaneers visit the Atlanta Falcons at the same time.
The Patriots and Buccaneers also play simultaneously in Week 17 on Jan. 3, with the former hosting the New York Jets while the latter will play a home game against the Falcons.
The NFL, on Sunday, said the quirk in scheduling was not intentional.
“Putting together the 256-game schedule is very complex — it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN.
“The minimal conflicts here are coincidental.”
The Buccaneers and Patriots are tied for the NFL maximum number of five primetime games, with both playing at night in Week 9. Tampa Bay hosts the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (Nov. 8) and New England visits the Jets the following night.
New England will also hit its bye in Week 6, while Tampa Bay’s break comes in Week 13.
A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady captured three NFL MVP awards and 14 Pro Bowl selections during his 20 seasons in New England.
Brady is second in NFL history in touchdown passes (541) and passing yards (74,571) to Saints quarterback Drew Brees.