By: Brandon Silva
Tom Brady’s retirement is a subject that has been debated across fans and the media for almost a decade. It seemed like Tom could play forever and it wouldn't take a toll on his body and acclaimed TB12 diet. Quite frankly, I still believe this to be the case. Tom’s body would hold up in the league for a few more years and realistically a few playoff runs. Brady has decided to retire because he couldn’t give his 100% competitive commitment to the game anymore as well as wanting to focus his time and energy on other things that need his attention, his family. Tom leaves the game of football at the age of 44 and as a 7-time Super Bowl Champion, the most of all time. We’ve all been so lucky, although to some it doesn’t feel like it, to watch his incredible career and historic play.
Tom Brady always was overlooked in his career. When he committed to the University of Michigan, he was 7th on their depth chart. He thought about transferring to the University of California, Berkeley but ultimately decided to stay with the Wolverines. He eventually became a 2-year starter for the program posting a 20-5 record. Brady was a scrawny kid leaving college with NFL dreams. He had a lackluster NFL combine which led to him being drafted in the 6th round, 199th overall, by none other than the New England Patriots. During Brady’s rookie season during the 2000 season, he was 4th on the Patriots depth chart. That didn’t last too long as by the conclusion of the season he was the backup quarterback to Drew Bledsoe.
Brady started the 2001 season as Bledsoe’s backup but was almost immediately called into action when Bledsoe suffered a serious injury in week 2 of the season. The Patriots were 0-2 at this point and it was Brady’s turn to start week 3. They won this game and Brady took the starting job in stride. The Patriots finished this season atop the AFC East and earned a first-round bye. Brady had a historic playoff run and made the Super Bowl in his first season as a starter. Adam Vinatieri hit a game-winner and the Patriots beat the Rams 20-17. Tom Brady was a Super Bowl champion and MVP in his first season as a starter. Brady would go on to also win Super Bowls in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Brady beat Peyton Manning in both playoffs and would go on to beat the Panthers and Eagles respectively. The Patriots did not make the Super Bowl in the 2005 or 2006 seasons.
2007 was a year of destiny and redemption for Brady and the Patriots. The Patriots overhauled their roster and acquired playmakers Donte Stallworth, Wes Welker, Kelley Washington, Randy Moss, Kyle Brady, and Sammy Morris. With weapons like this surrounding him, Brady would have no problem playing the best football of his career. That rang true as Brady threw for a career-high 50 touchdowns, had a career-high 117.2 passer rating all to go along with 4,806 passing yards. Brady was obviously named the MVP of this season. Did I mention the most impressive feat that he accomplished this season yet? No, I didn’t. He led the Patriots to a perfect 16-0 regular season. The Patriots had a bye and then rolled their way through the Jaguars the following week. The Patriots beat the Chargers in the AFC championship and made it to Super Bowl XLII to take on the 5th seeded New York Giants. The Patriots were the favorite in the game and were looking to complete a perfect season. Eli Manning and the Giants had other plans. The Giants were down 17-14 and then David Tyree made his famous helmet catch to set up a Plaxico Burress touchdown and Giants Super Bowl Victory. Brady and the Patriots fell one game short of their perfect season.
Tom missed the 2008 season due to a serious knee injury suffered in the season opener. On September 10, 2010, Brady signed a four-year, $72 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. The extension included $48.5 million in guaranteed money. It’s crazy that this was the contract that made him the highest-paid player in the league. For reference, Patrick Mahomes signed a 10-year, $500 million contract. 4 years for $72 million is the exact contract that the Knicks gave Joakim Noah. I think it’s safe to say that contract worked out better for the Patriots than it did for the Knicks. Brady was the unanimous MVP this season but lost to the Jets in the divisional round. The 2011 season was dominated by Brady and the Patriots reclaimed the #1 seed in the AFC. The Patriots would go onto Super Bowl XLVI where they were faced by a familiar opponent, the New York Giants. Again, the Patriots could not hold onto the late lead and the Giants scored a game-winning touchdown. Brady was now 0-2 against the Giants in the Super Bowl. As a Giants fan, I love to mention this, but now back to Tom. In the 2012 and 2013 seasons, the Patriots would lose in the AFC championship.
In the 2014 season, the Patriots returned to the playoffs and would make their way through the AFC to return to the Super Bowl. The Patriots beat the Ravens in the AFC championship. This was the Malcolm Butler game where he famously intercepted the Seahawks at the 1-yard line to clinch the Patriots victory. It’s still baffling that the ball was not given to Marshawn Lynch to punch it in. This would be Brady’s 4th Super Bowl win. This offseason would also be the start of the reports of “deflategate”. There were no repercussions for the 2015 season as this carried on. The Patriots lost to the Peyton Manning-led Broncos in the AFC championship. In the offseason, Brady was handed a 4-game suspension for his role in deflategate to be served during the beginning of the 2016 season. Brady sat out the 1st 4 games of the season and played at a very high level for the remainder of the season. The Patriots would clinch their 8th straight AFC East title and 7th straight bye. Brady and the Patriots would go on to face the Falcons in the Super Bowl. They were famously down 28-3 in this game, and it looked like it was all over. That’s never the case when it comes to Tom who was known for leading clutch drives his whole career. He led a clutch remainder of this game and scored 25 unanswered points to send the game to overtime. James White would go on to score the game-winning touchdown in this game and earn Brady his 5th Super Bowl win.
In the 2017 season, Brady would go on to win his 3rd MVP while also suffering his 3rd Super Bowl loss. This time to the Philadelphia Eagles and backup quarterback Nick Foles. This game is remembered for the Philly Special in which Nick Foles caught a touchdown. Brady’s Super Bowl record 505 passing yards were not enough to get the Pats the victory. The 2018 season was a familiar tale for the Patriots. They won the AFC East and had another playoff bye. They would go onto the Super Bowl and face the Rams. They won this game 13-3 and was the first Super Bowl in Brady’s career in which he did not throw a touchdown.
2019 was Brady’s 20th season and his last as a Patriot. Brady was seeking a long-term contract in which coach Belichick would not give him. For the first time since 2009, the Patriots did not have a bye in this year's playoffs. They would go on and lose to the Titans in the Wild Card Round in which Brady threw a pick 6 to Logan Ryan and gave the Titans a 20-13 victory. This would be Brady’s last pass as a Patriot. Brady announced he would not resign with New England. He later went on to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was certainly weird not seeing Brady playing for the Patriots, but he adjusted fast to the Tampa lifestyle and playing in Raymond James Stadium. He signed a 2-year $50 million deal with the Buccaneers. He was able to drag former teammate Rob Gronkowski out of retirement to join him in Tampa. The Saints won the division this season and the Bucs would have to settle for a wild card spot. They would go to the Super Bowl to face the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs. The battle of the GOAT vs the future face of the game. The Bucs would blow the Chiefs out 31-9 in this game and Brady earned his 7th Super Bowl Victory. “Brady became the second quarterback, joining Peyton Manning, to lead two different teams to Super Bowl wins, but the first to win Super Bowl MVP with two different teams.”
2021 went on to be Brady’s final season in the NFL. “In Week 3, against the Los Angeles Rams, Brady threw for 432 yards, had two touchdowns, and joined Drew Brees as the only players in NFL history to record 80,000 passing yards during the 34–24 loss. In his return to New England in Week 4, Brady surpassed Brees, who coincidentally was on the sidelines as an analyst for NBC Sunday Night Football, for the most passing yards in National Football League history.” They would go to the playoffs and beat the Eagles in the wild card round. They fell to the Rams in the divisional round and that will end up being the last time we got to see Tom play in the NFL. Tom Brady announced his retirement on February 1st, 2022.
Brady leaves the game as a 7-time Super Bowl champion to go along with 5 Super Bowl MVPs. He had 3 regular-season MVP awards and was a 15-time pro bowler. The all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Brady has so many accolades and records that it’s impossible to list them all. He will go down as the best football player of all time in many eyes. I feel incredibly grateful to have been able to witness Brady’s football career and how amazing of a player and person he is. It’s official, The GOAT has stepped away from the game of football leaving his footprint all over the record books and the history of this game. Thank you, Tom.