The GOAT is done. For real this time.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is retiring “for good” after 23 NFL seasons, he announced Wednesday.
“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first. I won’t be long-winded, you only get one super-emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year,” said Brady.
“So, really thank you guys so much – to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors; I could go on forever, there’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”
Brady ends his 23-year career as the most accomplished quarterback to ever play in the NFL, boasting seven Super Bowl titles, three MVPs, 15 Pro Bowls, and nearly every significant passing record in league history.
The 45-year-old retired last offseason but dramatically returned to the Buccaneers less than two months later, saying he “realized my place is still on the field.”
But Brady was unable to get a storybook ending, as Tampa Bay was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys after struggling on offense for most of its 8-9 regular-season run.
His career postseason success remains unrivaled, though. In addition to his record titles, Brady has the most Super Bowl appearances (10), Super Bowl MVPs (five), playoff starts (48), playoff wins (35), playoff passing yards (13,400), and playoff passing touchdowns (88).
Brady’s seven championships are not only the most for any player, but also more than any single franchise has earned.
He holds the record for most touchdown passes (649) and most passing yards (89,214) in the regular season, as well as most regular-season wins (250).
The star signal-caller set a new standard for longevity among quarterbacks. He is the oldest player to win NFL MVP (age 40), and the oldest Super Bowl MVP (43). Brady threw for a league-high and career-best 5,316 passing yards and 43 touchdowns in 2021, just missing out on another MVP award thanks to Aaron Rodgers. Brady had 4,694 yards – third-most in the NFL – and 25 touchdowns this past season.
Brady began his career with the Patriots as a sixth-round pick in 2000 and took over from an injured Drew Bledsoe the next year. He immediately led New England to its first Super Bowl win in franchise history.
Alongside head coach Bill Belichick, Brady helped form the Patriots into the greatest dynasty in NFL history, with five more titles (2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, and 2018), three further Super Bowl appearances, and a perfect 16-0 season (2007).
After shocking the NFL world by leaving for the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2020, he led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in his first season on the team, joining Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks to win a championship with two different teams.
Brady’s next step appears to already be set. He signed a 10-year, $375-million contract with Fox Sports this past summer to become an analyst on its top commentary team.