Tom Brady’s retirement — announced by Brady himself on social media — will mark the end of an era that ushered in the offensive revolution in professional football. Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees were at the forefront of that revolution. Yet, there’s no arguing the greatest quarterback of all time.
That is a pedestal reserved for Brady and his accomplishments. His seven Super Bowl rings will never be matched, and his 10 Super Bowl appearances won’t, either. When he retired, then unretired at 44, many thought he wasn’t close to being finished physically. But after this season, it was obvious that he had lost a step.
Tom Brady Retiring after 22 Seasons
Brady’s playing career has legally been allowed to drink in the United States for more than two years. That’s slightly poetic since he won the Super Bowl in his 21st season and decided to celebrate by drinking like someone on their 21st birthday.
In his video, Brady said while choking up, “I’m retiring. For good. I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first.
“I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super-emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year. So, really thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me, my family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I can go on forever – there’s too many. Thank you, guys, for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”
Truly grateful on this day. Thank you 🙏🏻❤️ pic.twitter.com/j2s2sezvSS
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 1, 2023
Last year, Brady’s then-wife Gisele Bündchen pushed him to retire. It made all the sense in the world for a family that wants to see their father and a father who wants to spend time with his family. Brady initially obliged. But he couldn’t keep the itch away. Unfortunately, that was a factor, in part, to the two agreeing to separate before the 2022 season began.
At 45 years old, there’s no question Brady’s training regimen has to take up an immense amount of time throughout the year to remain at a competitive level. That’s without the rigors of a now-17-game schedule and an annual playoff run.
Tom Brady Holds All the Records
Even if some want to dispute Brady’s relevancy in his first three Super Bowls with the Patriots, he still would tie Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most all-time. Statmuse is a fun website that charts and colorizes statistics.
Seeing the bar chart for Brady’s 10 Super Bowl appearances compared to second-place (John Elway, five) and the rest of the quarterbacks in league history is sure to cause a chuckle. But that’s only the team-based awards. He’s also the all-time leader in these passing categories:
- Completions (regular season)
- Completions (postseason)
- Passing yards (regular season)
- Passing yards (postseason)
- Touchdowns (regular season)
- Touchdowns (postseason)
- Wins (regular season)
- Wins (postseason)
But the real hilarity comes in how far apart he’s pulled in so many of those categories, particularly in the playoffs. His 1,200 playoff completions are 551 than second-place Peyton Manning (649).
His 13,400 playoff passing yards are 6,061 more than Manning. That difference would be good for seventh all-time on the playoff passing yards list. His 88 touchdowns are 43 more than Joe Montana and Aaron Rodgers, who are tied for second with 45. That difference would be good for fourth all-time.
Brady’s Legacy Cemented with Buccaneers Super Bowl
Brady’s 20-year run with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots was always partially tainted by Belichick’s brilliance. Forever, the question had been a “chicken or the egg” debate. Who was more relevant in the Patriots’ 20-year dynasty?
Belichick will quickly dismiss the question, acknowledging that Brady was the root of the success. Brady’s brilliance and Belichick’s never-ending ability to be a step ahead of NFL trends made it a match made in heaven. The reality is both would have had success independently of one another, but their combined genius made them the greatest HC/QB duo ever.
So when Brady went to Tampa Bay, there was a lot of pressure on the quarterback to prove he could win one without “The Hoodie.”
He did just that. And not only did he win a Super Bowl, but he also did it by throwing for over 4,600 yards and 40 touchdowns in the regular season at age 43. He was in a better environment than Belichick was in New England, but taking the Buccaneers from an 11-win Wild Card team to Super Bowl champions cemented his legacy as the greatest ever.
But that’s the rub with Brady. He is, without a doubt, the greatest quarterback ever. But his detractors will argue other quarterbacks have been more talented by far and that Brady won because he’s consistently been provided a canvas to paint masterpieces on. If Patrick Mahomes wins three or four Super Bowls, many will argue he’s the greatest ever.
Manning was more talented. Aaron Rodgers is probably the most talented passer of all time. Dan Marino is another that could hold that crown. We’ve never seen anybody do the things that Mahomes is doing to the level he’s able to do them.
But nobody will ever take the title of the G.O.A.T. from Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. Nobody will play in a Super Bowl in nearly half their career years. Nobody will win one almost every three years.
Although football is the ultimate team sport, the quarterback position is the most critical in sports. The entire goal is to win Super Bowls. And nobody will ever do that like Brady has.