Tom Brady retires: Live Updates

Credit …Sean Gardner / Getty Images

Tom Brady’s football career followed an arc bordering on mythical, his rise from the sixth round of the NFL draft pick to seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback and worldwide fame. And it has ended, after more than two decades of unparalleled brilliance in its sport, in a peak of contradiction.

Brady, who once said he would only retire when his performance began to decline, has decided to leave the NFL, at the age of 44, at the top of his game. He announced his retirement on Instagram on Tuesday, after leading the league, in his 22nd season, in passing yards (5,316), completions (485) and touchdowns (43) for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost in ‘ the division round of the NFC playoffs to the Los Angeles Rams.

Brady’s official statement came days after ESPN on Jan. 29 reported his departure, initiated by a frenzy initially debunked by his father, Tom Brady Sr., and his agent, Don Yee, who said in a statement that Brady would only announce the details of his future plans.

Brady had indicated for years that he wanted to play until he was 45, a benchmark for him. But on his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray in late January, he talked about spending more time with his wife, supermodel Gisele B√ľndchen, and three children, and said he would make a decision with her input.

“I have always believed that the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ statement – if a 100% competitive commitment is not there, you will not succeed, and success is what I love about our game,” he said. Brady in his Instagram post.

He added: “This is hard for me to write, but here it goes: I will not make that competitive effort anymore. I loved my NFL career, and now it’s time to focus my time and energy on others. things that require my attention.

The time that elapsed before Brady confirmed the decision on his terms reinforced the maniacal control that governed his professional life and career. The same quarterback who punished himself for throwing passes an inch away from his receivers – who followed a strict diet and advocated the virtues of muscle explosions – once trespassed in a city park in Tampa, Fla., For ‘ t he had to work The park was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His perfectionist streak, coupled with a smoldering intensity and a brain microprocessor, put a player on board selected by the New England Patriots with the 199th overall pick in 2000 – the seventh quarterback selected that year – to retire with three league Most Valuable Player Awards and as the NFL’s career leader in touchdown passes, passing yardage and wins.

Brady stepped into those markets this season, hitting most yards of his career. Instead of hanging on to injured knees, with a wrinkled face and a cranky shoulder, Brady danced around the bush and hurried for most of his yards in a decade, shattering the stereotype of an older quarterback and redefining what possibly feels for older athletes.

Only six quarterbacks for Brady, according to Sports Reference’s Stathead database, had even attempted one just after they were 42. Combined, those quarterbacks – George Blanda, Steve DeBerg, Doug Flutie, Warren Moon, Earl Morrall and Vinny Testaverde – threw for 37 touchdown passes at 42 or older. Brady, in his first season with the Buccaneers, in 2020, hit 40.

So many other details of his career seem fantasy enough to sound apocryphal.

In 20 full seasons as a starter, Brady led his team to the Super Bowl 10 times. He started as many Super Bowls (three) in his 40s as he did in his 20s, when he packed three triumphs in four seasons. His seven Super Bowl titles are more than any franchise has won. He was selected five times as the Super Bowl MVP; but one other quarterback, John Elway of Denver, even started five Super Bowls. Only once did Brady miss the playoffs as a starter – in 2002, the season after winning his first Super Bowl, the championship that started the Patriots dynasty.

Brady’s constellation in New England has been incubated in ideal conditions for years after emerging from a Sept. fluke event. 23, 2001. Jets linebacker Mo Lewis knocked out Drew Bledsoe, who cut a blood vessel in his chest, and stabbed Brady in the game.

Brady, along with Bill Belichick, formed the greatest quarterback coaching partnership in NFL history, capitalizing on the organization’s stable infrastructure, the league’s short-lived passing and his own endurance – the only games he played missed due to injury came in 2008, after he tore up. a knee ligament in the season opener. He amazed the ethos of New England ‘Do Your Job’, stifled his charismatic personality to emerge as a pocket passer extraordinary, and won six championships and 17 division titles with the Patriots.

But even his playoff defeats were memorable. He was foiled twice in the Super Bowl by the Giants. The first time, in February 2008, New England’s bid served for an unbeaten season. The second, in February 2012, asked B√ľndchen, annoyed by several fallen passes, to then mock that her husband could not throw and catch at the same time. Then, against Philadelphia six years later, Brady put the Eagles in flare for 505 passing yards – one of his many postseason records – but lost, 41-33, after being kicked off the ball with about two minutes left.

Perhaps, however, his crowning achievement came at the end of the 2016 season, when he completed his national revenge campaign by overcoming a 25-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl. He started that season with a four-match suspension for his role in a cheat scandal known as Deflategate, a spit over inflated footballs meant to give him an advantage by throwing the ball that turned into circular arguments – played in ‘ the federal court, no less – about NFL power dynamics and the philosophical underpinnings of the Patriots’ dynasty.

That championship, like so many other moments, confirmed Brady’s ultimate belief in himself. Each team, including New England, ran him multiple times during the 2000 draft, and Brady was so upset that no one had taken him in previous rounds that he left his home in California to take a walk.

A few weeks after the Patriots selected him, the team’s owner, Robert K. Kraft, met Brady not far from his office. Brady introduced himself to Kraft, who said he knew he was in his sixth round of the University of Michigan.

“That’s right,” Brady replied, in Kraft’s retelling. “And I’m the best decision this organization has ever made.”

And he became perhaps the most beloved athlete in Boston’s sports history. But in August 2019, on the eve of his 20th year in New England and two days after he was 42, Brady signed a new contract that would make him a free agent after the season. His last pass as Patriot, in a defeat of the wild card round home to the Tennessee Titans, was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Two months later, with the Patriots unwilling to sign Brady for a long-term contract, he fled New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a move that lifted the NFL landscape. At the time, the Buccaneers had won as many playoff games (six) as Brady had won championships, but he mastered a new offense, adapting to new teammates and coaches and dominating the league, all while restricting personal contact during the pandemic. He won his seventh title, hitting three touchdown passes in a demolition of Kansas City, last February at the Buccaneers home stadium.

Each of Brady’s rings proved something, in its own way. That he deserves to start over at Bledsoe. That his first title was not accidental. That he could lead a dynasty. That he did not need empty balls to win. That he could reject the commissioner, Roger Goodell, who got his Deflategate suspension. That the Patriots, by acting on backup Jimmy Garoppolo, had made the right decision to keep him. And last, last year, he did not need Belichick to win.

Even when he won his last two championships, when he had to survive Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City in matchups that were fundamentally distilled as the best of all time against the best of this time, Brady maintained his advantage and defeated it creeping generation shift at quarterback.

In recent years, Brady has been preparing for the next phase of his life, with the founding of the health and wellness company TB12 Sports with his longtime coach Alex Guerrero and the media company Religion of Sports and the clothing line of Brady Brand. In the kind of thing one does when feeling like the end is near, he also wrote his legacy in two television series, “Tom vs. Time” and “Man in the Arena.”

But he stayed put off for so long because he loved football and he loved winning and he was excellent for over two decades – the best, in fact – to do both. That he ended his career with a playoff defeat, in the division round against the Los Angeles Rams, does not seem to reconcile with all the glory that preceded it.

However, look again at the piercing last game of that game: a 30-yard Rams field goal, the ball snapped from the Tampa Bay 12-yard line. A farewell to TB12, to TB 12

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