Tom Brady Retires: Remembering the most successful QB of all time

Tom Brady's retirement comes before the body was ready, but well after his family was. Brady leaves behind a legacy as the greatest QB ever.

Tom Brady’s retirement — as first broken by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington and later confirmed by the QB himself— 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. Even though he’s hanging up the cleats at 44, he wasn’t close to being finished physically.

Tom Brady retiring after 22 seasons

Brady’s playing career has legally been allowed to drink in the United States for 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.

On his Let’s Go podcast with Jim Gray, Brady spoke about the possibility of retirement.

“The biggest difference now that I’m older is I have kids now, too, you know, and I care about them a lot as well. They’ve been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there. And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband, and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad.”

It seems the breadwinner of the house, Gisele Bündchen, has wanted Brady to retire for some time now. It makes 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.

At 44 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.

Holding 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 1,165 playoff completions are 516 more than second-place Peyton Manning. That difference would rank Brady third all-time in the playoffs.

His 13,049 playoff passing yards are 5,710 more than Manning. That difference would be good for seventh all-time on the playoff passing yards list. His 86 touchdowns are 41 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 Tampa Bay 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 independent 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.

“Greatest” vs. most talented

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.


Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!