On Tuesday, Tom Brady officially announced his retirement from the NFL. The Greatest Player of All Time had an incredible 22 year career, winning 7 Super Bowls with two different teams.
Brady finished the 2021-22 season at age 44. His 2021 Super Bowl win made him the oldest Quarterback to ever win a championship. He is also the oldest Quarterback to win a regular season and playoff game. As highlighted by last year's Super Bowl and this season's incredible regular season, Brady was playing at an astonishingly high level even into his 40s.
This season, Brady has a strong case for MVP, an award he has won 5 times. He led the league in passing yards and touchdowns with 5,316 and 43 and threw the second most touchdown passes in a season in his career.
Following the 2019-20 season where Tom Brady and the Patriots were knocked out by the Titans in the Wildcard round, Brady decided to leave New England. After 20 seasons and 6 Super Bowls with Bill Belichick and the Patriots, Brady signed with the Buccaneers to take on a new challenge.
While he had a story-book first season in Tampa, going on to beat Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl in his first season, most of his success came in New England.
Alongside Head Coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady formed the best Quarterback-Coach Duo in NFL history. The duo went to 13 AFC Championship games, 9 Super Bowls, and won 6 Super Bowls.
In his 21 healthy season, Brady led his team to the conference title game 14 times for a percentage of 66.7%. His career passing percentage was 64.2%. He was more likely lead his team to a conference title game than complete a pass.
He also made it to the Super Bowl in 10 out of 21 seasons (47.6%). For reference, the Jets won 157 out of 373 games during that period (42.1%). He may not have been the fastest or had the biggest arm but this goes to show just how much of a winner Tom Brady was.
A large contributor to Brady's success is his relentlessness and competitiveness. He often took pay cuts to improve the team around him and did everything he could to improve his teammates, such as when he let Antonio Brown stay at his house for an extended amount of time. His "TB12 method" shows his incredible training regiment which includes daily meals, most of which I cannot imagine eating more than once, and constant, rigorous workouts.
He made everyone around him better. Players like Danny Ammendola or Julian Edelman would certainly not have the career they had if it were not for Brady. It was also clear that his teammates played for him, making his teams even better. He was also key in the development of the "Patriot Way", New England's ruthlessness mindset as encompassed by Brady, Belichick, and many who have been a a part of the organization.
There is no player that defines the "clutch gene" better than Brady. The Patriots are down 10 points at the 2 minute warning and Brady has 2 timeouts and the ball? He is going to win it. Down 28-3 in the second half of Super Bowl LI? He will find a way to come back. One of the reasons Brady was so entertaining to watch is that he was never out of the game.
He nearly completed an iconic comeback in his final game against the Rams where his team trailed by 24 late in the third quarter, tied it with seconds left, and ultimately lost 30-27 on a late field goal.
Brady's retirement is a sad day for the NFL but we witnessed an incredible career. He solidified himself as the undisputed Greatest player of All Time and certainly made his teams some of the most entertaining to watch.