The greatest quarterback in NFL history has officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
After an astonishing 22 years in the league - 20 seasons with the New England Patriots and 2 more in Tampa Bay - Tom Brady has officially retired. On Tuesday he took to social media to announce the decision to his 11.2 million Instagram followers.
The official statement comes a few days after the news first broke on his plans to hang up the cleats. Although word got out early, Brady had yet to commit either way - maintaining that he was still "going through the process" on his most recent Let's Go! podcast.
Brady's career will undoubtedly take him straight to the Hall of Fame and keep his name firmly in the record books for years to come. He walks away from his time on the turf with fifteen Pro Bowl selections, three AP MVPs, three first-team All-Pro selections and holds titles for all-time passing yards, passing touchdowns and QB wins.
While those stats alone put him well atop the G.O.A.T conversation, there's one line on his resume that seals the deal - seven-time Super Bowl champion. Brady graced our screens on Super Bowl Sunday ten different times in his lengthy career, nine of which came with the Patriots alone. His final appearance followed a move to the Buccaneers at 43 years of age, where he immediately took the team to their second-ever Super Bowl title in his first season there.
Brady entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick - 199th overall - in the 2000 draft. He was a greatly overlooked prospect, with not-even enough buzz to put his name on a 2001 Madden avatar - simply referred to as 'QB No.12'. He was first called to the stage when Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury against the Jets. After a not so exciting entrance into the league or onto the field, Brady would go on to prove all the doubters wrong and become the most successful quarterback in NFL history.
With such a long and eventful career, it's no surprise that Brady has a lot to look back on. As part of his message he wrote:
"I have always believed the sport of football is an "all-in" proposition -- if a 100% competitive commitment isn't there, you won't succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.
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.
I've done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback was still in contention for another MVP award after a stellar performance in this year's regular season. If he wins, he'll walk away with yet more hardware for the trophy cabinet, even if he couldn't secure the Lombardi one last time.
Although his two-decade, franchise-defining career in New England was something to behold, what he's done in Florida's red and white is equally astonishing. To continue playing at an elite level at 44 years old with an all new team, coach and fanbase, is nothing short of legendary. He will be considered one of history's greatest players, even in his final days on the pitch.
Brady may have shown no sign of stopping recently, especially in the latest Divisional Round - where he was in Falcon Super Bowl form versus the Rams - but he's finally putting his feet up for some well-deserved rest. Hopefully we'll see him back in the stadiums once more, even if it is just to commentate.
It only seems right to round-off this moment with the Patriots very own celebration of Tom Brady's career.