by Luke Sweeney '24
Whether you love him or hate him, there is no denying the astonishing impact that Tom Brady’s 23-year career has had on not only the NFL, but the entire world of professional sports. The video game-like domination that was Tom Brady’s career in the NFL is now only a memory, and we may never see anything like it again. There have been anomalies in the world of professional sports in cases such as Lebron James, Roger Federer, Wayne Gretzky, and even Michael Phelps, but there has never and will never be another run like Brady’s. For those who are avid NFL viewers, you can understand that something like this is not supposed to happen in professional American Football. With the many cap space and drafting limitations, as well as the unpredictable and injury riddled nature of the game, the NFL is designed to level itself out so that the same few teams do not dominate the league year after year. For the most part, the league has been able to do this for over 100 years… but not when it came to Brady.
For us Patriots fans here at Providence College, we got most of the waterworks out of the way when Brady announced his retirement the first time on Feb. 1, 2022. He delivered a very emotional Instagram post where he announced he would be stepping away from the game to pursue other interests and spend some much-needed time with his family. Of course, just 40 days later he un-announced his retirement and played one last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As we now know, since that announcement he has been having some unfortunate troubles with his family, as he and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen have recently split up. This leads us to wonder whether the end of his relationship with Gisele has contributed to him leaving the game, or maybe it was the unprecedented length of his quarterbacking career that put pressure on their relationship.
Since he earned a starting position with the New England Patriots in 2001, Tom Brady has been the center of media and his opposition’s attention every season that he has graced the gridiron. His statistical accomplishments aside, it is evident that no other player in history has physically changed professional football more than Brady did. The NFL faces much scrutiny these days over the new roughing the passer rules that aim to protect quarterbacks from injury. It is safe to say that many of these rules derive from the incredible success of quarterbacks such as Brady during the past 20 plus seasons. Brady proved that the success of a quarterback was in many cases what drove the success of an entire franchise, and something as rare and as lucrative as a talent like him had to be protected.
As a Patriot’s fan, it is hard for me to look back at Tom’s incredible career and pick out just a few times where he fully displayed his greatness. In general, his accomplishments are absolutely ridiculous. Let’s take a look at the stat sheet. Ten super bowl appearances, seven titles and five super bowl MVP awards. He took home three league MVP titles, made 15 pro bowls, and ended his career with first in NFL history in touchdown passes, overall completions, and passing yards. Arguments have been made that within his twenty-three-year career, he had three different Hall Of Fame careers. The first being 2000–2006. In these six seasons, he won three Super Bowls with two Super Bowl MVPs and was selected to three Pro Bowls. Between 2007–2013, Brady had established himself as an elite quarterback that was going to be haunting the league for the remainder of the decade. In these years, he earned two league MVP awards, had five 4,000 passing yard seasons, and went just 6–6 in the playoffs. In the final stretch of his career from 2014–2020, Brady cemented himself as the greatest quarterback of all time. In this sixseason stretch, he won fourSuper Bowl titles, all of which he was named the MVP of the game, won an additional league MVP, and had an unprecedented 16–3 record in the playoffs. Not bad for the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Brady may be done throwing touchdowns and winning Super Bowls, but he’ll be on every NFL fans’ television for decades to come. Even before his retirement, Brady signed a 10-year, $375 million dollar deal with Fox to be their live broadcaster and color commentator for NFL games. So don’t get used to not seeing him on TV every Sunday, because starting in 2024 he’ll be right back in your living room.