An all-time great finally hung up the cleats
You can't think of football and not think about Tom Brady. After 22 seasons, the G.O.A.T. has officially announced he is retiring from the NFL. The 44-year-old finishes off his illustrious career as pretty much the all-time leader in every major stat, including (of course), his seven Super Bowl rings. The name 'Tom Brady' and 'Football' are synonymous with each other and the mark he left on the game of football is undeniable. As NFL fans around the world either rejoice or mourn over the retirement of this legend, it's important that we take time to look over the insane career the G.O.A.T. had over his 22 seasons.
The 199th Pick of the 6th Round
In the 2000 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected quarterback Tom Brady from the University of Michigan. He was the seventh quarterback selected. This didn't come as much of a shock at the time. While Brady did have a good stint at Michigan, he didn't wow anyone in his NFL combine. In fact, he recorded one of the worst combines ever for a quarterback. Brady started the 2000 season as the fourth-string quarterback behind Drew Bledsoe but by the end of the season, he moved up the depth chart to be the second-string and official backup to Bledsoe. Brady waited patiently for his chance to prove himself, and it was coming sooner than anyone expected.
Bledsoe out, Brady in
After Bledsoe suffered a gruesome injury in Week 2 of the 2001 season that would end his year, it was Brady's time to shine. While it didn't start off great right away for Brady, he found his stride to deliver the first 'Brady-esqe' performance of his career in Week 5. Trailing the San Diego Chargers 26-16 in the fourth quarter, he led the Patriots on two scoring drives to force overtime, and another in overtime to set up the game winning field goal.
The First Ring of Many
In 2001, Brady led his Patriots to a 11-5 record while winning his first of many AFC East division titles. He performed well during New England's playoff run, with tough victories over the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers to help secure a trip to the Super Bowl. Against the heavily favoured Rams, the Patriots performed well, holding a 17-3 lead until the Rams rallied back to tie the game with 1:30 left in regulation. This is where the first chapter of Brady's legendary career began. The Patriots got the ball back at their own 17-yard line with no timeouts remaining. Sportscaster and NFL icon John Madden argued that the Patriots should just run down the clock and try to win the game in overtime. Instead, Brady drove the Patriots' offence down the field to set up the game winning Adam Vinatieri field-goal. Brady secured his first of many Super Bowl rings and Super Bowl MVPs while also becoming the youngest quarterback ever at the time to win a Super Bowl.
Brady never looked back after winning his first Super Bowl. He went on to have arguably the most dominant stretch of any player ever over his career in New England. He brought home five more championships, won three NFL MVPs and set almost every record imaginable for a quarterback in NFL history (both single season and career). He dominated the league for 18 seasons alongside Bill Belichick as the two became the most iconic quarterback-coach duo in NFL history. However, everything changed in New England after their 2019 season.
The Next Chapter
After a disappointing season from Brady and the Patriots, both parties decided it was time that they both moved on from each other. Brady brought his talents down south to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many people were doubtful of this move. The veteran was coming off of one of the worst seasons of his career and he wasn't getting any younger. While Brady certainly didn't start off strong, he eventually caught his rhythm to finish with one of the more successful seasons of his career. The Bucs finished with an 11-5 record but many didn't believe this Bucs team had what it took to win a championship. Little did we know how wrong we were.
The Final Ring
Other than a matchup versus a team with no name (I'm looking at you Washington), Brady's journey to the Super Bowl wasn't easy. He firstly had to face off against fellow legendary QB Drew Brees. The Saints had dominated the Bucs both times during the regular season so many thought the Bucs didn't have what it took to win. However, Brady shut up all the naysayers as he scored three touchdowns on the day and led the Bucs to a 30-20 win over the Saints. His next matchup was versus one of the most talented QBs in NFL history: Aaron Rodgers and his Packers. While Brady did make some bad mistakes in the game (three straight interceptions), he was able to make the clutch plays to secure a 31-26 win over Green Bay. Tampa Bay then dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV as Brady won his seventh Super Bowl ring and fifth Super Bowl MVP. Brady became the oldest quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl.
A Career for the Ages
After 22 seasons of dominance, it's been one hell of a career for the future Hall of Famer. He finishes his career as the undisputed G.O.A.T. and arguably the most accomplished athlete ever. He finishes his 2021 season leading the NFL in completions (485), passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) while being a top candidate for MVP. He lost in the playoffs after almost willing his team to a 27-3 comeback over the Los Angeles Rams, losing in dramatic fashion 30-27. He will forever be a part of football and his impact on the sport is undeniable.