Brady, Buccaneers to host Cowboys in NFL season opener on WPTV

Tampa Bay to make 2 more 'Sunday Night Football' appearances in 2021
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady throws during Super Bowl LV
Posted at 12:16 PM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 23:24:07-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions will kick off the 2021 NFL season the way they ended last season -- playing at home.

The NFL announced the complete "Sunday Night Football" schedule Wednesday, beginning with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys on a Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium, site of Super Bowl LV.

All three of Tampa Bay's "Sunday Night Football" games can be seen on WPTV.

The Buccaneers, who became the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl at their home stadium, return all 22 starters from their championship season, most notably Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Brady joined the Buccaneers last year after spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. All the Super Bowl MVP did was help bring the Vince Lombardi Trophy back to Tampa.

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski after Super Bowl LV win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87), left, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrate together after the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.

He was also able to lure his longtime teammate out of retirement.

The first true "Sunday Night Football" game of the season three days later will pit the Chicago Bears against the Los Angeles Rams. Matthew Stafford, the former No. 1 overall pick of the Detroit Lions, will take the field for the first time as a member of the Rams.

Tampa Bay will take advantage of its recent glory, making two more "Sunday Night Football" appearances.

Brady and Gronkowski will return to New England to face their former team Oct. 3. The Buccaneers will also host the New Orleans in a Dec. 19 revenge game.

The Saints handed Brady the largest margin of defeat in his career in their 38-3 win in Tampa last season -- the first of two in the regular season -- but the Buccaneers got payback by winning a divisional playoff in New Orleans in what turned out to be the final game for longtime Saints quarterback Drew Brees.