“I’m always thinking about what I think the best decision might be in a certain moment. Just like I think about football, I strategize and I gameplan. There are sleepless nights and there’s early mornings. You don’t always make the right decision, but I think when I look back on that decision, I’m very happy,” stated Tom Brady late last year when winning the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for the second time.
Yesterday, Brady officially announced that he will no longer be making “that competitive commitment anymore” through a nine-page post on Instagram declaring his official retirement from the National Football League (NFL). This post further stated Brady’s gratitude towards the Buccaneers unit, many people who have stuck by his side through his journey and his competition and close friendships he’d made along the way. He signed off simply as Tom.
The rumors began spiraling Jan. 29 when ESPN posted a Breaking News graphic stating in their caption that “multiple sources” cited Brady was setting the ball down for good. Brady’s team quickly commented on the report, “Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon.” Now that it’s official, Brady stated on his podcast that he waited to announce anything because he “was trying to enjoy a nice weekend.”
Brady is currently 44 years old and holds many records, but everyone needs to start somewhere. Growing up in California, he played numerous sports in high school. After a short run playing Major League Baseball, he was recruited to play quarterback for the University of Michigan’s Wolverines in 1995. He grew to peak his junior year, even leading his team to a few bowl wins.
He was reportedly not a highlighted player in college, but was a notably hard worker and was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000, by the sixth round as the 199th pick as the Patriots’ fourth-string quarterback. From there, 22-year-old Brady got his big break in the second week of his first NFL season where he took over for Drew Bledsoe against the Jets. While they lost 10-3, that season included Brady’s first Super Bowl win. Through his 22 seasons, Brady would go on to win seven Super Bowl titles through his time with the New York Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From 2001 to 2021, Brady built up the most passing yards, passing touchdowns and most wins as a starting quarterback in NFL history.
With his roundtable of success, Brady has also dealt with a great deal of backlash, most notably in 2015 with the Patriots as they played the Colts. After making an interception from Brady, the Colts’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson noted that the football felt lighter. The officials checked during halftime and found that, sure enough, the Patriots’ game balls “were all indeed under-inflated—with anywhere between one and two pounds per square inch less pressure than the minimum 12.5 psi mandated by the league.” In response, Brady was suspended for four games. The Patriots denounced the scandal and released a long response in hopes of clearing up the situation.
After three back-to-back-to-back Super Bowl wins at the helm of the Patriots, Brady left the team in 2020 to sign a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl win in 18 years, all while in the place itself: Tampa Bay. Not only were his football skills helpful, but his past experiences and leadership skills also contributed to his success. Brady “helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop,” stated Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. Brady is credited with bringing his former teammate Rob Gronkowski out of retirement and enjoying “the most successful stretch in franchise history” according to the Buccaneers.
Brady is not a stranger to breaking NFL history: he’s the oldest player in the NFL, has won the most Super Bowl titles of anyone within the franchise and holds five Super Bowl MVP Awards to top it all off. Brady has not announced any new projects or what his future plans are. Regardless, he has had quite the impact on anyone he has run into on his array of football fields and football fans worldwide.