Almost Losing A Legend

Tom Brady retires from the NFL; then, he changes his mind.

Tom+walks+off+the+field+after+defeating+the+Miami+Dolphins+27-24+and+clinching+the+divisional+playoff+on+24+December+2011.

Tom walks off the field after defeating the Miami Dolphins 27-24 and clinching the divisional playoff on 24 December 2011.

Graham Walker, Staff Writer

Tom Brady was already set to be remembered as possibly the greatest quarterback of all time and his decision to retire seemed to come at the perfect time, leaving the game on top after winning the 2021 Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady, who announced his retirement in February, is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time National Football League (NFL) MVP, and it appears he is not ready to hang up the cleats just yet.

Brady’s dominance in the sport and road to winning seven Super Bowl rings started from humble beginnings. Before he was leading the New England Patriots, and later the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to annual contention for the Super Bowl, the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft had to sit out in college. He played two years as the backup quarterback at the University of Michigan, until his final two years where he set records for most pass attempts and completions in a single season. He’s the quintessential underdog story. His 22 dominant years in the NFL will be tough to rival and we will see what the 23rd year has in store for him.

Brady released an Instagram post with his statement announcing his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, February 1. “I have always believed the sport of football is an all-in proposition,” he said. “If a 100% commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love about our game…There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.” Brady explained that as difficult as it was, he couldn’t make the competitive commitment anymore.“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.” He looked to the future saying he’s excited to have co-founded multiple brands like Tb12sports, Bradybrand and Autograph.io, and that he wants to continue his philanthropic work. 

When Brady “retired,” he thanked all of his coaches and staff throughout the years, his Bucs fans, his agent and his family. However, he neglected to acknowledge his Patriots fans, spurring controversy among the fanbase he won six Super Bowl rings for. Fans across the country certainly felt wronged by this. Kosi Eguchi (‘23) explained, “There was definitely an extra sting with his lack of commentary and appreciation to the Patriots franchise. However, as a Patriots fan, I’m grateful to him. As a football fan, I’m in awe of him. His ability and consistency in New England and Tampa Bay is unparalleled and he’s not done yet.” 

There are many extreme fans of Brady out there but one of the bigger fans at Bishop’s has to be Hunter Kates (‘22). “He was always my favorite player growing up, and I remember going to freezing games in Foxboro during the playoffs which had an incredible atmosphere.” After Brady initially announced his retirement last month Hunter proposed that Brady might come back for another year. “I hope the news is short- lived,” he said. “And I hope that he doesn’t retire just yet, and comes back to play for his hometown 49ers for a year. But, if this is it, then it will have been very bittersweet to have watched his last game,” Hunter said. 

Well, Hunter predicted what many of us didn’t see coming, and lo and behold, Brady is in the process of signing with Tampa Bay for the 2022 season for an estimated 10.4 million dollars. Brady announced on Sunday, March 13th that he would be coming out of retirement for his 23rd season in September. “I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” Brady wrote in his decision on Twitter. “That time will come. But it’s not now. … I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa.”

Brady unretiring brought a big smile to Hunter’s face. “As a Patriots fan I’m super excited that he’s decided to come out of retirement and I’ll continue to root for him. I was definitely very upset to put my Brady jerseys into storage and will happily bring them out for next season. I think with Brady, anything is possible and I don’t think it’s out of the question to say that he could win an eighth [super bowl] ring.”

Undoubtedly, Brady will be looking to bring together his former teammates with whom he has had immense success with and, notably, the NFL’s free agency period begins March 16th. Several of the Bucs’ core players will become free agents, including Tight End Rob Gronkowski with whom Brady has been teammates with for the Rob’s entire career as well as center Ryan Jenson. Tampa Bay will be in a tight spot financially, as they are already $11 million over the salary cap.

Logan Johnson (‘22) (who considers himself Brady’s number one fan) commented on Brady’s unretirement. “To me, Brady coming out of retirement shows how passionate he is about the game. Someone like him could have retired a long time ago and still held the status he holds today, yet he is still playing. If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is. As a Pats fan, I’ll still root for the Bucs just as much as I do for the Pats. Although Brady isn’t “officially” a Patriot anymore, he’ll always be in my heart, and in the hearts of all my family in Boston as well.

Brady is an all time leader in passes and touchdowns. He’s one the greatest quarterbacks to ever play and his retirement statement made most people assume that after retiring from the game on top—in Michael Jordan- esque fashion—he was going to spend his time and energies doing philanthropic work and being with his family. But, similar to Jordan in basketball, he’s unretiring to come back for a 23rd season with the Buccaneers; despite already leaving behind a hall of fame career. The upcoming season will be interesting to see if Brady, at the age of 44, can still be the franchise leading quarterback we know of him so well, proving his dominance in the areas of longevity and competitiveness.