Tom Brady retires after 22 seasons and 7 Super Bowls

« I’m the best decision this franchise has ever made »

Tom Brady

These are the words of young Tom Brady to Robert Kraft, when he first arrived in Foxborough. They must have made the Patriots owner smile back then, but the resonance of that phrase today is incredible. Because 22 years later, this same player leaves the NFL like a legend, like the GOAT

It’s hard to imagine such a destiny for Tom Brady when he arrived at the University of Michigan in 1995. 7th quarterback of the workforce, he does not play for 2 years. He finally won his starting spot for the 1998 and 1999 seasons, but still shared his position with Drew Henson. Despite everything, he starts with some good qualities, and obtains the nickname of “comeback kid” thanks to some signature returns on several end of matches.

But when he comes to Draft 2000, he is not seen as a “top prospect”. His lackluster NFL Combine didn’t help, and the iconic photo taken at that event is still going strong. Brady only comes out at 6th round, after 6 other quarterbacks. The Patriots select him this way with the 199th pick, and they didn’t yet know it would be the best draft pick in history.

Tom Brady Draft
The beginning of a dynasty. The start of a legendary NFL career (photo: twitter)

With New England, he started as QB number 4 in the hierarchy but managed to establish himself as Drew Bledsoe’s backup for the start of the 2001 season. And during the 2th day, the latter takes a huge tackle from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, which causes him internal bleeding. Tom Brady replaces him and will not leave this post of starting QB for the Pats for 20 years… And the rest is now history, even legend.

From this first season, he won 11 games and the AFC East division, and participated in the Pro Bowl. He signs a comeback for his first playoff game against the Raiders and leads the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXVI. The Rams are heavily favored, but Brady leads the game-winning drive that allows Adam Vinatieri to win the game. At 24, he becomes the youngest QB to win the Lombardi Trophy.

He will repeat the performance in 2003 and 2004 by leading New England to 2 consecutive Super Bowl victories. Then in 2007, he had a perfect season, with a 16/16 in the regular season and his 1er MVP trophy, but the Patriots are beaten by the Giants in the Finals.

After missing the 2008 season with a knee injury, he returned to the top. Elected Comeback Player of the Year in 2009, he extended his contract and became the highest paid player in the NFL the following year. He confirms by becoming the fastest QB to win 100 games and wins his 2th MVP trophy. In 2011, the Patriots returned to the Super Bowl, but were again beaten by the Giants.

“There are no other QBs I would like to have. Tom Brady is the best. He does so much for us, in so many ways and on so many different levels.” _

Bill Belichick

It was finally necessary to wait 10 years for Tom Brady and the Pats to raise the Lombardi trophy again, at the end of the 2014 season and a victory against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, during which the QB was named MVP. With 4 championship rings, he equals quarterbacks Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.

In the 2015 season, the Patriots were taken out by the Broncos in the AFC Conference Finals, after the 17th and last duel between Tom Brady and his biggest rival Peyton Manning. The following year, Brady was suspended for 4 games for the history of « Deflategate », and he returned more determined than ever. He signed the best touchdown – interception ratio (28-2) in history and New England returned to the final. Led 28-3 by the Falcons, the Pats sign the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Brady throws for 466 yards (Super Bowl record) and is voted MVP of the game for the 4th time.

Tom Brady & Peyton Manning
The duels between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning fueled the legend (photo: USA Today)

At the age of 40, the QB is the subject of retirement rumors, but he continues. In 2017, he took the opportunity to win his 187th victory, an NFL record. He also finished as the league leader with 4,577 yards and won his 3th MVP trophy. Back at the Super Bowl, Brady and the Pats are beaten by the Eagles. It’s only a postponement because the franchise still plays the final the following year, against the Rams. For his 9th participation in the Super Bowl, Tom Brady offers himself a 6th title at 41, a record in both cases.

2019 is his last season in New England and ends with a wild-card elimination by the Titans. After the season, Tom Brady announced that he would not re-sign with the Patriots, and he later signed with the Buccaneers.

He immediately won for the Bucs, who returned to the playoffs after 13 absences. In the playoffs, he eliminated Drew Brees, who was also over 40, then Aaron Rodgers to qualify for his 10th Super Bowl. In the final, the Buccaneers beat the Chiefs. Brady wins his 7th champion ring and sound 5th finals MVP trophy.

This year, in his final NFL season, Tom Brady passed Drew Brees as the QB with the most yards through the air, and he became the 1er player with over 600 touchdown passes in the regular season. At 44, he even finished leading the NFL with 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns. His last game was a loss to the Rams in the Divisional Round, despite a 24-point comeback…

Tom Brady Super Bowl LV
Tom Brady lifts his 7th Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LV with the Bucs (Photo: AP)

After a few days of confusion, and rumors of retirement initially denied by his entourage, Tom Brady finally confirmed that he was stopping on 1er February. A legend leaves, a page turns, an era ends. In 22 seasons in the NFL, Tom Brady has defied time and set very high standards. He is the best player in the history of the sport and will soon have a place in the Hall of Fame. Thanks Tom.

Tom Brady’s Records

In regular season

  • 363 games played
  • 243 wins
  • 84,520 yards
  • 624 touchdowns
  • 18 division titles
  • 32 NFL teams beaten

In the playoffs

  • 47 games played
  • 35 wins
  • 13,049 yards
  • 86 touchdowns

At the Super Bowl

  • 10 entries
  • 7 wins
  • 5 Finals MVP trophies
  • 3,039 yards
  • 21 touchdowns

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