The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have nothing to gain on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
But Tom Brady and the rest of their starters aren’t going to take the week off. Brady hasn't done that in the first 22 years of his career, and he's not going to start now.
“It’s always up to coach, but yeah, that would bother me,” Brady said Sunday of sitting out, via USA Today.
“I haven’t missed a game other than my ACL (injury), and then in 2016, I missed the first four games. Other than that, I’ve played them all.”
Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles confirmed that Brady, along with the rest of the team’s starters, would take the field against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday despite having already won the NFC South and being locked into the No. 4 seed in the NFC.
A win wouldn’t move them up at all, and as a division winner they can’t move down if they lose.
While a week off could make a big impact headed into the postseason, especially considering Brady is 45-years old, Bowles isn’t planning on sitting him or anyone else.
"We can get better at a lot of things, so right now, we plan on playing him," Bowles said Monday, via ESPN. "We'll see how the week goes going forward, but we can get better at a lot of things that we need to work on, and we don't need our foot off the gas."
Like Brady said, he’s missed just a handful of games throughout his career. Outside of nearly the entire 2008 season, which he missed while recovering from an ACL injury, and his deflate-gate suspension in 2016, he’s always been out on the field.
Brady threw for a season-high 432 yards and four total touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ comeback win over the Panthers on Sunday. Tampa Bay will enter Sunday’s game in Atlanta with an 8-8 record. If the season ended now, the Buccaneers would host the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs.
Though he said he may pull starters in the second half, Bowles isn’t going to hold back knowing the playoffs are right around the corner — even if that risks more injury.
"It's football. You can't play 16 games and then worry about the 17th," Bowles said, via ESPN. "You can't play three preseason games and 16 games and practice every day and say, 'You may get hurt on the 17th game.' You can get hurt the first week. You can get hurt in training camp. If you worry about that, you're probably gonna get hurt anyway.
"We signed up to play football and coach football. That's what we're gonna do. And everybody that loves football, that loves to play, will play the game. Injuries are gonna happen. It doesn't mean it happens in Week 17, a playoff game or preseason. You just gotta coach it and you gotta play it. You worry about injuries, you probably don't need to be playing a sport."