The greatest playing career in NFL history has come to an end, and this time there's no turning back.
On Wendesday morning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement in a video posted on Twitter. In the video, he acknowledged that he made a similar announcement exactly one year ago before eventually changing his mind, but said this time was final.
"Good morning, guys, I'll get to the point right away: I'm retiring for good," said Brady in the video. "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. So I won't be long-winded. I think you only get one super-emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year. So, really, thank you guys, so much, to every single one of you, for supporting me. My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors, I could go on forever, there's too many. Thank you, guys, for letting me live my absolute dream. I wouldn't change a thing. Love you all."
And thus Brady's unparalleled career is capped at 23 seasons, as he managed to continue playing at a very high level to the age of 45, defying the rest of NFL history. He finishes as the most accomplished player in NFL history, which his why his most prominent nickname is the G.O.A.T. That begins with his seven Super Bowl championships, which is more than any other NFL franchise owns. The seventh came in his first year with the Buccaneers in 2020, as he led that squad to a dominant victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. He was selected for more Pro Bowls (15) than any other player at any position in league history. He is a three-time Associated Press NFL MVP selection and a five-time Super Bowl MVP.
Other than the 2008 season, which ended for him in Week One due to a knee injury, Brady led his team to the playoffs in 20 of his 21 seasons as a starter, including all three of his years as a Buccaneer. He had a remarkable 32-18 record as a starter in the postseason. On Wednesday morning, the Glazer Family, owners of the Buccaneers, thanked Brady for all that he did for the franchise and the surrounding community with the following statement:
"Tom's impact on our franchise these past three years has been immense and we are appreciative of the time we had with him here in Tampa Bay. He set an exceptional standard that elevated our entire organization to new heights and created some of the most iconic moments in our history. Tom's impact will be felt within our community for many years to come and we will forever be grateful for those unforgettable memories that he provided during these final seasons of his legendary career. We wish him the best in this next chapter of life and are confident he will find similar success in his future endeavors."
Brady's list of records and accomplishments is so overwhelming as to be almost laughable. He is the NFL's all-time regular-season leader in pass attempts (12,050), completions (7,753), passing yards (89,214) and touchdown passes (649). No other quarterback comes within 8,000 yards or 75 touchdowns of his current totals. Brady is also the league's career leader in all of those categories in the postseason, with 1,200 completions in 1,921 attempts for 13,400 yards and 88 touchdowns.
"Tom's legacy is unmatched in the history of this game," said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht. "All the Super Bowl titles and statistical records speak for themselves, but the impact he had on so many people through the years is what I appreciate the most. His imprint on this organization helped take us to the mountaintop. We will certainly miss him as our quarterback, but I will also miss him as a leader and friend. Our entire organization is indebted to him for what he provided us over the past three years. We won't ever forget the wins or the accolades and his influence will be felt for years to come."
Brady won 251 regular season games and 35 playoff contests, both the most for any player at any position in NFL history. His regular-season total is 20 better than kicker Adam Vinatieri and 65 more than the next two quarterbacks on the list, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning. Brady also engineered the most game-winning drives (58) and fourth-quarter comeback victories (46) of any quarterback ever to play in the NFL.
As a Buccaneer, Brady needed just three seasons to rise to second on the team's all-time touchdown pass list (108, behind Jameis Winston's 121) and third on the passing yardage list (14,643, behind Winston's 19,737 and Vinny Testaverde's 14,820). He also set new single-season franchise records in virtually every category in 2021 when he completed 485 of 719 passes for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns. (He then broke the attempts and completions marks again in 2022.) His dramatic arrival as an unrestricted free agent in 2020 ushered in the most successful three-season stint in franchise history, including the aforementioned Super Bowl championship and the first back-to-back division titles in team annals.