Tom Brady career has officially come to an end. The legendary quarterback is retiring from the NFL after 22 seasons.
Brady announced the move via an Instagram post on Tuesday morning.
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition,” Brady wrote. “If a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. 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.
“This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.”
Brady will ride into the sunset as the most decorated quarterback in NFL history. He won an NFL-record seven Super Bowls, five Super Bowl MVPs, three regular-season MVPs and set NFL records in passing yards (84,520) and passing touchdowns (624).
There was never a drop-off during Brady’s NFL career. He led the NFL in passing yards (5,316) and passing touchdowns (43) during his final season with the Buccaneers and is in the running for another MVP, though Aaron Rodgers is expected to get it.
So, why did Brady decline if he was still performing at a high level? His decision had more to do with his life off the field than his performance on it.
Why Tom Brady retired from the NFL
Brady retired from football because he wasn’t sure he could continue to give “a 100% percent competitive commitment”, as he referenced in his statement above. As such, he is walking away from the game.
“I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions,” Brady wrote. “And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
Brady’s decision to retire isn’t a major surprise. He had discussed spending more time with his family in recent weeks since the Buccaneers were eliminated from the 2022 NFL playoffs by the Rams and explained that he has more joy off the field now because of them.
“Playing football, I get so much joy from and I love it. But not playing football, there’s a lot of joy for that with me too, now,” Brady said on his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray on Jan. 24. “As I’ve gotten older, the best part is, football is extremely important in my life, and it means a lot to me. And I care a lot about what we’re trying to accomplish as a team, and I care a lot about my teammates.
“The difference now that I’m older is I have kids now, too, and I care about them a lot as well.”
Additionally, Brady explained that his wife, Gisele Bundchen, wasn’t a fan of the number of hits he was taking on the field, especially as he got older.
“It pains her to see me get hit out there,” Brady said. “And she deserves what she needs from me as a husband and my kids deserve what they need from me as a dad. . . It’s what relationships are all about. It’s not always what I want. It’s what we want as a family.”
One of the lasting images of Brady during the NFC divisional playoffs was a bloody lip he suffered after he got hit high by Von Miller. So, it’s easy to understand how that may have played a part in his decision to step away from the game.
“Our family is my greatest achievement,” Brady wrote in his retirement post. “I always came off the field and home to the most loving and supportive wife who has done EVERYTHING for our family to allow me to focus on my career. Her selflessness allowed me to reach new heights professionally, and I am beyond words what you mean to me and our family.”
It’s also worth noting that Brady isn’t a spring chicken. He is one of just five NFL quarterbacks to play until age 44, joining George Blanda, Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde in that group. Of the five, Brady is the only one to start each of his team’s games at quarterback.
Brady could keep going, but the Buccaneers may look different in 2022. And as NBC Sports’ Peter King pointed out, Brady might not want to return with the status of several key pieces of his offense hanging in limbo.
At 44, Brady has already accomplished more than any player in the 102-year history of the NFL, and with cap and roster issues going forward, and with the Tampa futures of Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski both in doubt, 2022 could be a frustrating year for a Tampa Bay quarterback. I also think as much as Brady didn’t love Bill Belichick at the end, he respected that he’d always have a coaching/personnel plan to keep the team in Super Bowl contention. I don’t know that he feels that way about the Bucs’ ability to stay dominant.
And while Brady had previously spoken about playing until 45 or even 50, he ultimately decided to step away, knowing that age would eventually catch up with him.
“My playing career has been such a thrilling ride, and far beyond my imagination, and full of ups and downs,” Brady wrote. “When you’re in it every day, you really don’t think about any kind of ending. As I sit here now, however, I think of all the great players and coaches I was privileged to play with and against — the competition was fierce and deep, JUST HOW WE LIKE IT. But the friendships and relationships are just as fierce and deep.
“I will remember and cherish these memories and re-visit them often. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.”
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