Though Tom Brady may not have worn the Patriots uniform during the final two seasons of his absurdly legendary career, it’s the lock of the century that he’ll wear one for the last time later this week.
Because, while Brady might’ve climbed to the mountaintop one final, seventh time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, he’ll always be a Patriot at heart, and the franchise will prepare to embrace him as he files his official retirement papers.
Though we weirdly believed, along with Brady’s camp, that he might actually be able to do this forever, apparently life got in the way, and at the age of 44, No. 12 plans to announce this week that he’s moving onto the next phase of his life.
For all of those who suspected as much after his non-committal comments last week following Tampa Bay’s near-27-3 comeback in the NFC Divisional Round, your impulses have been confirmed. Brady’s body has taken enough, and done enough winning, for anyone’s lifetime.
New England Patriots legend Tom Brady will retire at age 44.
Though we kind of wanted to see what he could do and how long he could really do it, we salute Brady, who will end his career without any sort of denouement.
After all, he watched his defense blitz Patrick Mahomes silly last winter, leading the road-warrior Buccaneers to a home Super Bowl win. In 2021, he finished with a flourish, throwing a league-leading 43 touchdowns while potentially capturing his final MVP.
It would only be his fourth win, by the way. Tough to be the Patriots quarterback, making the media more and more bored of your excellence every time you effortlessly capture a Super Bowl berth or title.
For those keeping track (all of us back here in Foxborough), Brady minted his legacy as the greatest of all time here, playing in nine Super Bowls alongside Bill Belichick and winning six of them. The upcoming Championship Sunday will be just the seventh since his career began that won’t include him, against 14 appearances in conference title games.
When you think of Brady, you’ll think of a selfless winner who made everyone better. You’ll think of the fearless leader who made Danny Amendola and Wes Welker into security blankets. The man who shed his game manager label when recovering diva Randy Moss came to town and changed his life. The pocket passer who was the Grim Reaper to the entire AFC long before Patrick Mahomes; there was no deficit that fazed Brady, as evidenced last week, when he erased a 27-3 mark with a few missed opportunities mixed in for good measure.
Summarizing Brady’s career, upon his retirement, is near-impossible. How do you summarize the pillar upon which your franchise has been built? How do you collect the most memorable moments from someone who posted a 35-12 playoff record, accumulating nearly three full seasons in the postseason alone?
This week, we will undoubtedly reflect on the myriad ways Brady will never be matched, but for now, we are secure in the knowledge that he raised a generation of winners that will never forget how he taught them to love football, a game that’s easier to love when you’re in the midst of two decades straight of unvarnished excellence.