Iconic quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, ending his magnificent 23 year career.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement on the same day in 2022, but Brady insisted that his retirement was “for good” this time around. Brady entered the league as a sixth round draft pick in the 2000 draft and went on to break countless records during his time as the Patriots and Buccaneers signal-caller.
The quarterback ends his career with the most regular season wins by a quarterback, most regular season passing yards, most passing touchdowns, pass completions and most Pro Bowl appearances - plus, he became the oldest player to win the MVP award and the only player to beat all 32 NFL teams.
In the postseason, Brady made more Super Bowl appearances than any other player, won more Super Bowls than any other franchise, had five Super Bowls MVPs and earned more wins than any other quarterback in playoff history. Although it is easier said than done, here we pick out four of Brady’s best moments in his illustrious career.
Halfway through the third quarter of Super Bowl 51 Brady and the Patriots trailed by 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons. Brady went on to guide the Pats to the biggest comeback in the history of the Super Bowl as New England went on to win 34-28 in overtime.
It was a tale of two halves on that historic night in Houston as New England barely mustered any offense in the first period. However, Brady produced a majestic display as he guided the Pats down the field for three touchdowns, the last of which was a 91 yard drive to tie the game with 2:33 remaining on the clock.
Brady then guided the Patriots 75 yards down the field in overtime for James White to score the game-winning touchdown to pull off the first overtime victory in Super Bowl history. In a career full of magical moments, the comeback of all comebacks is arguably the most career defining moment of Brady’s career.
2. 16-0 in 2007
After three Super Bowl victories in three of the six seasons prior to 2007, the Patriots dynasty pulled off arguably the greatest season in NFL history as they finished the regular season 16-0.
Brady threw for 50 touchdown passes and over 4,800 passing yards and ended up claiming All-Pro and Pro-Bowl honours as well the regular season MVP award for the first time in his career. He built arguably the most lethal quarterback to wide receiver connection of all time that season as he threw 23 touchdown passes to Hall of Fame wideout Randy Moss.
To underline the Pats' dominance they won 12 of their 16 games by more than seven points, became the first team to win all 16 regular season games since the 16 game schedule was introduced in 1978 and became the fourth team in NFL history to finish unbeaten without tying a single game.
The season ended in disappointment for the Patriots after the New York Giants defeated them 17-14 in Super Bowl 42. However, the Patriots are still widely remembered as one of the best teams in NFL history.
3. Deputising for Drew Bledsoe & beating the Rams
September 23, 2001 changed NFL history forever after Pats quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury following a hit from Mo Lewis. Bledsoe was unable to continue and was replaced by the little-known Brady.
Bledsoe never regained his starting job as Brady guided the Pats to 11 wins in the final 14 regular season games to earn the number two seed in the AFC playoffs. New England went on to beat both the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the Super Bowl for just the third time in franchise history.
Brady and co headed into the Super Bowl as heavy underdogs against reigning MVP Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams. However, just as he did throughout his career Brady defied the odds. The quarterback guided New England 53 yards down the field for Adam Vinatieiri to kick the game-winning field goal with just seconds remaining.
4. Tampa Bay move and Super Bowl win
In the 2019 offseason, Brady stunned the world after ending his 20 season stint in New England to sign a two-year contract with the struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to Brady’s arrival, the Buccaneers were a heavily underperforming franchise that had not qualified for the playoffs since 2007 and had gone 17 years without a win in the postseason.
However, just as he did with the Patriots, Brady transformed the franchise into contenders. The Buccaneers won 11 regular season games to earn a wildcard berth. Brady and co then became one of five teams in the history of the NFL to win three consecutive playoff games away from home to reach the Super Bowl.
The Bucs defeated the Washington Football Team 31-23 in the wildcard round before heading to New Orleans in the Divisional Round. The Bucs beat New Orleans 30-20 to reach the NFC title game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. Bruce Arians’ team edged the Packers 31-26 to become NFC Champions for just the second time and earned a trip to the Super Bowl against defending champions the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Buccaneers became the first team in the history of the NFL to play in a home Super Bowl and went on to beat Kansas City 31-9 as Brady earned his seventh Super Bowl title.
This year's Super Bowl takes place on Sunday 12 February 2022.