Editor's note: In the coming weeks our Patriots insiders will be speaking with beat writers from around the NFL to get an outside view on what the future holds for the Patriots. Today's team: The Pittsburgh Steelers with Ed Bouchette of The Athletic.
There are many AFC teams that probably were very happy to see Tom Brady leave the New England Patriots and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL free agency, and perhaps no fan base is more excited over his departure than that of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Why is that? Well, Brady has dominated the Steelers throughout his career.
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In 20 years with the Patriots, Brady posted a 9-3 record versus the Steelers with 3,744 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and five interceptions during the regular season. The veteran quarterback also beat the Steelers all three times he played against them in the playoffs. Each of those matchups came in the AFC Championship Game (2001, 2004, 2016).
"He's torched them, Tom, as you well know," The Athletic's Ed Bouchette recently told our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran. "Starting in 2001 in that AFC title game, 2004, I don't know need to go down the list. (The Steelers) never beat him (in Foxboro). They didn't throw the parade yet, and they don't have the (Patriots) on the schedule this year, but I'm sure they're happy not to have played him again. If they meet him again, it would have to be in a Super Bowl with Tampa."
Despite all of the pain and heartbreak Brady has caused Steelers fans over the years, they still have a healthy amount of respect for the six-time Super Bowl champion.
"I think there was a lot of respect for Tom Brady," Bouchette said. "They hated him because he beat them so much, beat them in key games, three AFC titles games he beat them in. For the most part, they are happy to see him go, the fans. Nobody on the Steelers is going to publicly say that, but (Brady) has been a nemesis for them, no doubt, just the way the Steelers of the 1970s maybe were a nemesis for the Houston Oilers."
The Steelers and Patriots both have won an NFL-record six Super Bowl titles. If not for Brady, the Steelers easily could have two or three more championship rings. Instead, both teams are in a fierce race to see who can claim a seventh Lombardi Trophy first.