Brady has left his mark on the NFL


Photo via cbs sports

Tom Brady has announced his retirement, despite never experiencing a losing season.

Kevin Hutchinson, Staff Writer

After 22 seasons in the NFL, the greatest player in football history has announced his retirement.

After a false alarm a few days ago, Tom Brady, a 44-year-old quarterback, is finally stepping down after spending half his life as a pro. 

His career is without comparison. He sits on seven Super Bowl wins, more than any individual team. He’s won three league MVP awards, five Super Bowl MVP awards, 15 Pro Bowl honors, and a range of other accolades. 

His stats are mind-numbing; he has passed for more yards than any other QB, and is the all-time leader in every quarterback stat that matters: completions, attempts, pass touchdowns, and QB wins. He dominated the league even in his final season, leading in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and completions. Not once did he show signs of decline, and never did he fail to outdo himself.

Surprisingly, the greatest quarterback of all time rose from humble beginnings. Selected as the 199th draft pick by the New England Patriots in 2000, he was put on the bench as a backup QB. But when starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured, Brady was put in. With consistent play and several wins, he soon earned a starting position.

Brady surpassed expectations early. He led the Pats to a 21-game win streak, the longest of all time. He won three Super Bowls in four years. 

This peak performance lasted throughout the next decade and a half, as he took the Pats to the playoffs every year except 2002 and 2008. With these playoff wins came three more championships, tying the Patriots with the Steelers for the most all-time Super Bowl wins. Considering this longtime success with his New England team, no one expected him to leave.

But in 2020, just before the pandemic, Tom Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This seemed like an odd choice; the Bucs had the worst winning percentage in professional sports, and they hadn’t made the playoffs in over a decade. Surely Brady wouldn’t make the playoffs with such a team – the odds were too long, even for him.

The odds proved to be in his favor. Brady led the Bucs to Super Bowl LV, handing the Kansas City Chiefs an embarrassing loss. Brady did the near-impossible; he proved his ability to win, even without the coach, the team, and the fanbase that had shaped him for 20 years.

In retrospect, what Tom Brady accomplished is incredible. He played, and won, with a consistency unrivaled by any football player in history. His career was defined not by a few standout plays, but by consistent, unwavering success. Given his accomplishments, his retirement comes at an appropriate time.

As a rule, athletes, artists, and TV sitcoms tend to slope downhill before wrapping things up. Such is not the case with Brady. He leaves as the season leader in pass yards, an NFC South division winner, and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He has never had a losing season and has won more championships than any other NFL player. His departure, then, is well-timed; he isn’t giving himself a chance to degenerate.

Man, @TomBrady, what a run! Greatest ever to play and you did it with class and humility. God bless you and your family as you begin a new chapter in your life. 🐐 #12,” Brett Favre, a former Green Bay Packers quarterback, said in a tweet. His thoughts summarize those of a few million fans, in Boston, Tampa, and across the country. But as the greatest of all time leaves the stage, he leaves a power vacuum. Who will take over as the NFL’s dominant QB? How will the Buccaneers fare without TB12? And will Brady’s records, towering as they are, ever be broken?

These are questions for future seasons. But in Brady’s wake, one thing is clear: he left an indelible mark on the game, and served for over two decades as one of the gridiron’s favorite sons. He’ll be long remembered, and perhaps never surpassed. His is a football life–and his departure starts a new chapter for the league and its fans. As we say goodbye, only four words are necessary: long live the GOAT.