A man of all records, the insatiable Tom Brady (44) may have made the fastest comeback in history, announcing his return to the NFL on Sunday March 13, starting next season with the Buccaneers, just a month and a half after saying they were retiring.
« Over the past two months, I’ve come to realize that my place is always on the court and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now, » the seven-time Super Bowl winner wrote on Twitter. « I love my teammates, and I love my family who support me. Without them, none of this is possible. I’m coming back for my 23e season, in Tampa Bay. We have a job to finish, » continued Brady, 44, who therefore did not wait long to reconsider his decision.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm
—Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
« He’s baaackkkk. » – « he’s back!!! » – the Bucs franchise was ecstatic on its social networks, coach Bruce Arians expressing for his part his “total excitement” at the idea of finding his master to play, who had come out head down from the last play-offs, eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams, winners of the Super Bowl in February. A trophy that Brady had lifted for the 7e times a year earlier, crowning his Florida adventure with immediate and unexpected success after twenty seasons dominating the league with the New England Patriots (six crowns in nine finals).
Records to improve
The quarterback – named five times « MVP » of the Super Bowl and three times of the regular season – has records in shambles, among other things that of the number of successful touchdown passes (624), passing yards covered (84,520) and regular season wins (243). Here he is determined to do even better, by honoring the last year of the contract which binds him to the Buccaneers until 2023 and which he has therefore probably not broken, despite the announcement of his retirement. Further proof that he reserved the possibility of going after his wish, often expressed in the past: to play until he was 45.
Tom Brady, however, was not destined for such an exceptional career when he left the university championship with the University of Michigan. Chosen in the sixth round, as 199e choice of the NFL draft (repechage) by the New England Patriots, this native of California has thus thwarted all expectations when most of the league’s star quarterbacks are chosen in the first round, and very often in N.1 of the draft. In 22 seasons, he will have won everything several times and defied by his longevity the laws of a destructive professional sport for organizations.
Come back to win back
Contrary to what seemed to have to impose itself on this stainless steel, the counter will not finally stop at 44 years. An age where, it was appropriate, the decision to continue or not his career was no longer taken alone, because the family also comes first for the husband of the ex-model Gisele Bündchen and father of their three children. But the passion for the game was stronger than anything. With a poise to reconsider his decision necessarily motivated by age again and again. Because to succeed in a comeback at 45 – he will have them in August – with a start to the season in September, his 23e in the rough NFL, better not let the hiatus drag on too long.
Among the greatest athletes in history, few have managed to return to the top after retiring. After a first hat-trick with the Chicago Bulls (1991-1992-1993), Michael Jordan stopped basketball for a year and a half, with a short and unsuccessful baseball spell, before coming back stronger at 32 and winning again. three NBA championship titles in a row (1996-1997-1998). If the two sports and the ages differ, the parallel is essential all the same. Because Brady does not come back just for fun, but to win.