Tom Brady: Even his retirement was dramatic
By Gage Smith, Sports Editor
One of the greatest athletes in the history of the world retired on Feb. 1. Tom Brady, widely regarded as the greatest player in American football history, finally hung up his cleats for good after an incredible 22 years in the NFL.
It’s not every day a player of his caliber calls it quits. And it’s definitely not every day that that story is overshadowed.
Brady’s retirement should’ve been a moment of reflection for all sports fans. For so many active NFL fans, Brady, who’s also known as TB12, was a constant fixture, one that they can’t imagine the game without.
But his announcement turned out to be less about introspection and more about chaos and confusion. Media outlets announced his retirement prematurely on Jan. 29. A tweet from ESPN that cited anonymous sources claimed that Brady had decided to retire, but that tweet was quickly deleted and Brady’s agent, Don Yee, refuted the claim.
“I understand the advance speculation about Tom’s future. Without getting into the accuracy or inaccuracy of what’s being reported, Tom will be the only person to express his plans with complete accuracy. He knows the realities of the football business and planning calendar as well as anybody, so that should be soon,” Yee said.
It was only a few days later that Brady himself officially announced his retirement. But when it comes to breaking news of this magnitude, hours are like days and days are like years. People felt like they were left hanging.
One of the top comments on the post was by Instagram user “@aye_gee_,” who said, “Not believing it until I see Brady in front of a mic and he [says] it [himself]. Can’t trust ESPN.”
That sentiment was popular in comment sections all over social media. Who would’ve thought that something as usually straightforward as a retirement announcement could evoke betrayal, public outcry and more? It seems like Brady had to take his fans for one last emotional rollercoaster ride.
He never did anything the normal way. One hundred ninety-eight players were picked before the New England Patriots scored Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL draft. The 199th pick would go on to become a seven-time Super Bowl champion. That’s not just more rings than any NFL player ever, that’s actually more than any franchise ever. He also has the most wins, completions and touchdown passes ever.
To put these numbers in perspective, Brady nearly doubled many of the notable career stats of Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
But what stands out as much as any of those incredible feats is the fact that he has the most postseason fourth-quarter comebacks of any player ever – nine. The iconic 28-3 comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI in 2017 is one of the most jaw-dropping rallies in sports history.
Brady had a tendency to keep on going even when it looked like he was finally going to stay down. He’d fight back against impossible odds to propel his team to a come-from-behind victory. He’d fight Father Time to stay on the field for just one more year, over and over.
So when fans heard for the first time that he was finally walking away from the game, they found it hard to believe. That was only reinforced when the first announcement turned out not to be true. But it’s time for us to process the fact that it’s finally over.
“There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life,” said Brady in his retirement letter.
A one-of-a-kind retirement announcement for a one-of-a-kind player.