New England Patriots

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates after the Patriots celebrates after the Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After three days of reporting, speculation, and general chaos, the man himself has made it official. Tom Brady announced in a lengthy statement on his Instagram page that he’s retiring from pro football after 22 seasons.

“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition – if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady’s statement began. “This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore.”

Brady went on to thank his Bucs teammates, as well as the fans, the city of Tampa, Bucs ownership, GM Jason Licht, and all of the Tampa Bay coaches. He specifically thanked Bucs head coach Bruce Arians for “putting up with me!” and credited him for guiding the team to success with his “experience, intuition, and wisdom.”

He also thanked Bucs staffers, his longtime trainer Alex Guerrero, agents Don Yee and Steve Dubin, his parents, and his family. There was no mention of the Patriots or anyone within the organization.

Keep scrolling for a retrospective of Brady’s illustrious career, one that is unmatched in the NFL, and arguably in all of sports.

Tom Brady: Recounting the greatest career in football history

  • The Dynasty

    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

    Brady retires with all kinds of NFL records to his credit, but he will best be remembered for his partnership with Bill Belichick in New England. Brady went 219-64 as a starter in 19 seasons with the Patriots, and 30-11 in the playoffs. He burst onto the scene in 2001 after a freak injury sidelined quarterback Drew Bledsoe in Week 2 of the 2001 season, in what would reveal itself over time as a seminal moment in Patriots history.

    The 2001 Patriots started 5-5, then won nine games in a row to close out the season, culminating with their stunning victory over the heavily-favored Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. Brady went 5-of-7 for 47 yards on the Patriots’ final drive, before spiking the ball to set up Adam Vinatieri for the game-winning field goal as time expired.

    Brady and Belichick would go on to win two more Super Bowls over the next three seasons, and play in two more from 2005-13, both losses to the New York Giants. For all his historic wins, Brady’s most infamous loss will most certainly be the Patriots’ 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, which extinguished New England’s chance at an undefeated season.

    The Patriots would grab their long-awaited fourth Super Bowl win in the Brady-Belichick era when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX, which was sealed by Malcolm Butler’s clutch interception at the goal line in the final minute.

  • The Ultimate Winner

    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The Patriots defeated the Falcons 34-28. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

    Any notion that Brady simply rode great teams to championships is way off-base. The Brady-Belichick Patriots found ways to win even on their worst days, and it was often because of their quarterback’s heroics.

    Brady should also be remembered for being the master of the game-winning drive. He finished with 14 career game-winning drives in the postseason, eight more than second-place John Elway. Brady also had 53 career game-winning drives in the regular season, second only to Peyton Manning’s 54.

    Brady’s most famous comeback will always be the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, which has come to be immortalized by the moniker “28-3”, referring to the Falcons’ largest lead in the game before the Patriots came all the way back and won in overtime.

    Super Bowl XLIX also featured an iconic Brady comeback, when he went 13-of-15 for 124 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A late touchdown pass to Julian Edelman put the Patriots ahead for good against the Seahawks.

  • Record-Setter

    GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

    GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Seahawks 28-24. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

    Brady retires as, essentially, the Wayne Gretzky of football. He is the NFL’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (624), passing yards (84,520), completions (7,263), pass attempts (11,317), and starts (316). Despite his longevity, Brady has thrown only the 30th-most interceptions in league history, and finished fifth all-time with a 1.8 interception rate.

    His 86 career playoff touchdown passes are also first all-time, nearly double that of second-place Joe Montana (45).

    Brady also holds several records related to his age. He became the oldest player in league history to throw for 5,000 yards and lead the league in that category when he passed for 5,316 yards with the Bucs at age 44. He became the first player in NFL history to lead the league in yards or touchdowns in any fashion as the league’s oldest active player.

PHOTOS: Tom Brady’s Super Bowl Celebrations

Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.


Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.