by Luke Henne | sports editor
Feb. 3, 2022
After completing one of the most-prolific careers in National Football League history, quarterback Tom Brady called it quits after 22 seasons when he announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Despite being littered with some controversy, his career is still one of the greatest the professional sports world has ever seen. And, quite frankly, it’s tough to say that Brady’s shortcomings overshadow the dominance of his two-plus-decade tenure in the NFL.
Ten Super Bowl appearances. Seven Super Bowl victories. Five Super Bowl MVP awards. Three NFL regular-season MVP awards..
There’s plenty more accolades for the former member of the New England Patriots (20 seasons, six Super Bowl victories) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (two seasons, one Super Bowl victory), but listing any more would be exhausting an already-apparent notion: no one has had this type of career.
Again, however, that prominence hasn’t come without issues.
Brady’s Patriots were at the center of the “Spygate” incident on Sept. 9, 2007, in which members of the organization were punished for videotaping signals from the New York Jets’ defensive coaching staff.
In that same season, the Patriots completed a perfect 16-0 regular season. However, they were knocked off by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
Perhaps, at least for those who try to discount New England’s dominance since the turn of the century, justice was served.
Nearly a decade later, Brady found himself tangled up in the “Deflategate” incident. During the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 18, 2015, Brady was accused of having game-used footballs deflated. In that victory, the Patriots dismantled the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 before beating the Seattle Seahawks two weeks later in Super Bowl XLIX.
Was discipline appropriate? Yes.
Did his actions make a difference? Probably not.
The Patriots won by 38 points. Is it realistic to think that non-deflated footballs could’ve helped Indianapolis score an additional six times? No, it’s not.
Although his punishment, which came in the form of a four-game suspension, was to be implemented at the start of the 2015 regular season, Brady appealed and won.
However, the suspension was reinstated in 2016, forcing him to miss the first four games of that season. The Patriots went 3-1 in his absence.
How did Brady respond once he returned to action?
In the final 12 games of that regular season, the Patriots won 11, beating opponents by an average of 14.8 points per game in that stretch.
Come playoff time, the Patriots again found themselves in Super Bowl LI against the Atlanta Falcons.
With New England trailing 28-3 in the third quarter, Brady found a way to lead his Patriots back to what became the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, and the Patriots won 34-28 in overtime.
The historic performance helped Brady earn one of his five Super Bowl MVP awards.
Talk about the ultimate revenge.
Again, the action that Brady was reprimanded for made sense.
However, something so minimal should not outweigh a career this memorable, especially when other NFL stars like Tyreek Hill (who pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation of his then-pregnant girlfriend in 2014) are glorified on a weekly basis.
I didn’t think this would be the note that Brady went out on.
Trailing the Los Angeles Rams 27-3 in the third quarter of Tampa Bay’s NFC Divisional Round postseason game on Jan. 23, Brady pulled off what would be unthinkable for most players and teams. For him, especially considering the comeback in Super Bowl LI, it felt like an expectation that he would lead a comeback.
Brady led the Buccaneers all the way back from 24 points down to even the score at 27 with 42 seconds left in the game.
A 55-yard touchdown throw from Brady minutes earlier to make it 27-20 made one thing very apparent: Brady still had plenty left in the tank.
However, the Rams — who will compete in Super Bowl LVI at their own SoFi Stadium on Feb. 13 — quickly marched down the field and used a 30-yard field goal as time expired to fend off Brady and Tampa Bay’s monstrous comeback.
Little did we know that this would be the last time Brady the player ever walked off of a football field.
In Pittsburgh, it might be fairly controversial to take such a stance. Regardless, I feel no shame in saying that I will always be appreciative of what Brady did for the game of football.
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see anyone match his level of success.
I hope that you appreciated his career. I know that I sure did.