The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won't be playing any preseason contests in 2020, which means the first pass Tom Brady throws in a game for his new team will count.
Brady and the Buccaneers will see their first live action on Sunday, September 13 in the regular-season opener in New Orleans against Drew Brees and the Saints. The home debut for Brady and the 2020 squad will be against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, September 20 at Raymond James Stadium.
The NFL and the NFLPA recently came to an agreement regarding a variety of issues that will allow football to be played in 2020 amid the national COVID-19 pandemic. That agreement includes the dissolution of the entire preseason schedule, including the four games originally scheduled for the Buccaneers. While preseason games have long been considered an important part of preparing for regular-season play, player safety and a full 16-game season are paramount concerns. All teams will still conduct training camps to prepare for the regular-season schedule.
The Bucs had been scheduled to play home games against Jacksonville in Week Two of the preseason and Tennessee in Week Three. The Jacksonville game was to be nationally televised by CBS on August 22.
This will be the first time in 45 seasons that the Buccaneers will head into the regular season without any preseason tune-ups. Tampa Bay began play as the NFL's 27th franchise in 1976 and at that time all teams were playing a six-game preseason schedule. That was shortened to four games in 1978.
The Buccaneers signed Brady in March as an unrestricted free agent after the former Patriot spent 20 seasons in New England, during which he won a league-record six Super Bowl championship rings. The additions of Brady and fellow former Patriot Rob Gronkowski as well as the aggressive re-signing of the team's defensive free agents has raised expectations for the Bucs' 2020 season to a very high level. Those expectations remains, they simply won't be preceded by any preseason action. Brady won't get any in-game warm-up action, but he and his new team will hit the field in September ready to deliver on those high hopes.