Goodbye, Tom Brady


For the second time, we have to say goodbye to the G.O.A.T. (Courtesy of Instagram)

The G.O.A.T. has decided it’s time to hang up his cleats and leave the gridiron for good.

Forty-five-year-old NFL quarterback Tom Brady announced he’d be retiring from football last Wednesday morning after a legendary 23-year career with both the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers that included seven Super Bowl championships, 649 passing touchdowns and a total of 55 fourth-quarter comebacks.

After momentarily retiring during the 2022 off-season, Brady returned to play another season in Tampa Bay. This retirement announcement was much more subdued, with the quarterback admitting just as much.

“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,” Brady said in a video on Twitter. “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.”

Brady’s legacy will undoubtedly be defined by longevity, and an unrelenting will to win that has cemented his place as one of sports’ greatest competitors.

The former Michigan Wolverine is the oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl, a feat he completed during his age-43 season after leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers. Brady excelled in what was his first year in Tampa Bay, not only winning Super Bowl LV, but overcoming a particularly tricky path in the process. He defeated Taylor Heinicke and the then-named Washington Football Team in the Wild Card round of the 2021 playoffs, and then won two road postseason games against Drew Brees’ New Orleans Saints and Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers before eventually besting the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.

The California native fought father time to the bitter end. Even during his final two seasons after Super Bowl LV, the NFL could not count Brady out. In his 20s, Brady won three Super Bowls and 147 passing touchdowns. In his 30s, he collected 309 touchdowns through the air and two championships. During his 40s, TB12 tossed 193 passing touchdowns and won two final Super Bowl rings.

Brady’s longevity was indeed an unprecedented trait that the NFL had not seen prior. Furthermore, the trajectory of his career could not have been predicted by anyone. The 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, Brady was never characterized as a “transcendent talent” that could change the course of a franchise. The New England Patriots took a chance on the kid from San Mateo, Calif. After Drew Bledsoe suffered a lung injury in week two of the 2001 season, Brady took over and helped guide them to a 20-17 win over the then St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. From there, head coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots had their quarterback of the future. 2002 saw a step back from both Brady and the team, but they officially launched a dynasty in the two following years by winning both Super Bowl’s XXXVIII and XXXIX against the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. All told Brady would win six Super Bowls with New England before eventually reaching Tampa Bay.

Triumphs such as a 34-28 Super Bowl LI comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons and a riveting 37-31 road win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2018 AFC Championship game are just as important to Brady’s legacy as humiliating defeats such as a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII and an excruciating 20-13 Wild Card collapse in 2019 against the Tennessee Titans that would ultimately be his last game as a Patriot.

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. played with a vigor we may never see again. Through the highest of highs, and lowest of lows the G.O.A.T. continually competed for more than just personal accolades. Disappointing seasons motivated him to improve, while years that ended with parades pushed him even harder to remain at the top of the heap. Regardless of what transpired the season prior, Brady returned from the off-season as if the only thing that mattered was becoming a Super Bowl Champion in February.

Goodbye, Tom. Thank you for all of the memories.