The G.O.A.T. is retiring, again.
The declaration came exactly a year after Brady announced his retirement in 2022, only to change his mind 40 days later. Choking up as he announced his plan, TB12 insisted this time, it's for good.
"Good morning, guys. I'll get to the point right away. I'm retiring. For good," he said. "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 I'd let you guys know first. It won't be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year. So I 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. I love you all."
Brady will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2028.
Famously a sixth-round pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, 199th overall by the Patriots, Brady flashed an unparalleled competitive drive that fueled his Hall of Fame career. Brady took over as the Patriots' full-time starter during his second NFL season and never looked back, filling his trophy case along the way.
Brady retires a seven-time Super Bowl champion, three-time NFL MVP, five-time Super Bowl MVP, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, three-time first-team All-Pro honoree, three-time second-team All-Pro, 15-time Pro Bowler and 2009 Comeback Player of the Year winner. He was named to the NFL's 2000s and 2010s All-Decade Teams and the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.
The greatest of all time ranks No. 1 in NFL history in completions (7,753), pass attempts (12,050), yards (89,214), passing TDs (649), starts (333), QB wins (251), Pro Bowl nods (15) and Super Bowl MVPs (five). Brady led the NFL in passing TDs five times (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2021), the most such seasons by any player in NFL history.
In a team sport, no single player defined winning like Brady. In his 23-season career, Brady made 20 postseason appearances, started 48 games, earned 35 wins, 10 Super Bowl appearances, seven Super Bowl victories, 1,200 postseason completions, 13,400 playoff passing yards, 88 postseason passing TDs, 14 game-winning drives and nine fourth-quarter comebacks, all most in NFL history.
Brady suffered the first losing season of his career after returning in 2022 but still made the postseason after helping the Bucs win the NFC South. He set NFL records with 490 completions and 733 pass attempts, both most in a single season in league history. The campaign might not have been Brady's best, and certainly wasn't his prettiest, but he wasn't the reason the Buccaneers struggled. Even at 45 years old, Brady showed he could still sling it when protected. Without TB12, the Bucs would be picking in the top 10. Instead, they made the postseason, where they fell in a wild-card game to the Cowboys.
"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," the Glazer family, who own the Buccaneers, said in a statement. "He set an exceptional standard that elevated our entire organization to new heights and created some of the most iconic moments in our history."
The famously slow quarterback out of the University of Michigan built a career out of proving people wrong. He might not have been the most gifted player the NFL has ever seen, but no one won on the edges better than Brady. A relentless, maniacal drive led TB12 to conduct his entire life with that goal: becoming the greatest on the biggest stage. He didn't have otherworldly athleticism, but no one maneuvered the pocket better than Brady. His pinpoint accuracy and gorgeous deep ball were the stuff of legend.
Brady might not have provided the dashing runs of a Lamar Jackson or the ridiculous off-platform plays of Patrick Mahomes, but his greatness under pressure, in the crucible of the biggest moments, was unparalleled. Every time Brady had the ball late trailing, we expected a comeback. Even in his final seasons, Brady was masterful at dragging his club back from the abyss time and time again. That talent might never be matched again.
"Tom Brady was the ultimate winner," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said in a Wednesday statement. "He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history. His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him on a daily basis. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivational and inspirational to teammates and coaches alike. Tom was a true professional who carried himself with class and integrity throughout his career. I thank Tom for the positive impact he had on me and on the Patriots and congratulate him on his amazing career."
After making what he called a hasty decision to retire so soon after last season, before ultimately changing his mind, Brady stuck with the same timeline, announcing his retirement on Feb. 1.
Playing until he was 45 years old was always Brady's target year. He made it. Given his ability and drive, it was presumed he'd continue to play through that self-imposed barrier for at least one or two more seasons. The man who stiff-armed Father Time his entire career would have had plenty of suitors lined up in free agency.
Instead, he'll close the lengthy book on his storied career and begin writing his next epic.