For the second time, Tom Brady has announced that he is hanging up his cleats and retiring. 23 seasons, seven Super Bowl titles...the guy known as the GOAT, (Greatest of All-Time,) "unretired" back in 2021. He had won his seventh Super Bowl earlier with Tampa Bay and announced he was retiring following the 2021 season. Forty days after he had made his emotional retirement announcement, Brady said he was coming back. That decision may have cost Brady his marriage with model Gisele Bundchen, who had strongly suggested her desire for him to retire and spend more time with his family.
He decided to play one more season and at the age of 45, he put up great numbers, though he failed to make the Super Bowl for a second straight year.
When Brady decided to move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following his historic career with the New England Patriots, it reminded me of the great George Blanda who was still playing pro football with the Oakland Raiders when he finally decided to retire at the age of 48. Blanda was amazing to me being able to play a violent game at that age. Even though Tom Brady was quite a bit younger than Blanda when he retired, it was every bit as amazing to me because the game is more violent now than when Blanda played. Players are bigger, stronger and faster than they were when Blanda retired in 1976.
Brady was very lucky to have had very few injuries in his 23 seasons. He missed the 2009 season due to a torn ACL but never missed a game again due to an injury. He was always in tremendous physical condition and, of course, he always had a great offensive line to protect him.
During the 2000s and 2010s Brady joined former Vol Peyton Manning as the two top quarterbacks in the game. They battled each other in some classic NFL contests and, even though Brady won more Super Bowls, and won more head to head match ups, Manning beat Brady twice in the AFC Championship Games. The Brady-Manning rivalry is considered to be the greatest in NFL history and is considered to be on par with the Larry Bird-Magic Johnson rivalry in basketball. When we're all dead and gone, and the only thing left are the stats, Brady will still be recognized as the "GOAT."
I've always been a strong family guy. Your wife and kids, and in my case my grandchildren, are the most important things in my life and nothing else is close. I feel very sorry for Tom Brady who made the decision more than a year ago to choose football over his wife and kids. Now, he's single again and will not be able to see his children every day. Maybe my views are not correct. Maybe some people are more committed to their career than their family. Either way, I feel Brady made a huge mistake when he chose one more NFL season over his family.
Regardless, I hope he enjoys his retirement. He has certainly given football fans a lot of great memories to enjoy for a very long time.
* * *
Randy Smith can be reached at email@example.com