Analysis

Tom Brady Brought Different Energy to Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI

Tom Brady brought a different level of intensity to the football field that was evident from his first season. Mike Martz reflects on what it was like to go against Brady in his first Super Bowl appearance and what set the quarterback apart from his peers.

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Tom Brady Says He’s Retiring ‘For Good’ After 23 NFL Seasons

The G.O.A.T. is retiring “for good” this time.

Tom Brady announced his retirement on Wednesday after 23 illustrious seasons in the NFL. Thanking fans in an emotional video he posted on social media, Brady — like the release of the football he perfected — didn’t waste any time.

“I’ll get to the point right away, I’m retiring for good,” Brady 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 let you guys know first. I think you only get one super long emotional retirement essay, and I used mine up last year. Thank you so much to every single one of you that has supported me, my family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”

Brady announced his first retirement exactly one year ago on Feb. 1, 2022, but returned 40 days later for one last season with Tampa Bay. Brady informed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of his decision at 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, ESPN reported.

“It was an honor and a privilege to compete against him for 20-plus years in the AFC East,” said Mike Tannenbaum, a former executive for the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins and analyst for The 33rd Team. “As a team-builder, we would focus on constructing defenses to minimize his greatness. Whether it was Ndamukong Suh, Darrelle Revis or countless others, we were always focusing on diminishing or limiting his opportunities.

“One coach put it best when he said, ‘If Tom Brady knows where he going with the ball before the snap, we have no chance.’ We would spend hours of preparation trying to disguise and confuse him, often to no avail, to give ourselves the best chance possible to beat him.”

Brady retires with one of the greatest resumes the sport has ever seen. He won seven Super Bowls (six with the New England Patriots, one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), is the only player to win Super Bowl MVP for multiple franchises, and holds NFL records in most major career passing categories, including passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, and games started.

“Tom Brady was the ultimate winner. He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “I thank Tom for the positive impact he had on me and on the Patriots and congratulate him on his amazing career.”

“You’re a legend and you always will be, my friend,” said former tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was Brady’s favorite target and caught 90 touchdowns from him in his career, second-most for a duo all-time.

This past season, he threw for 4,694 yards — third most in the NFL — and 25 touchdowns in a tumultuous year that included his first losing season at any level of football and a divorce from his wife, Gisele Bündchen.

“Some might say (his retirement) might be a season too late, but I could never tell someone when it’s time to hang it up or how long they should continue playing,” said The 33rd Team analyst Greg Jennings, who was on the losing end of all three times his teams faced Brady’s Patriots.

In his career, Brady was named to the Pro Bowl 15 times, was an All-Pro six times and won three league MVP awards, with his win in 2010 marking the first unanimous selection in NFL history (in 2019, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson became the second).

“Tom Brady has impacted us all in some way,” Jennings said. “I know for me, he set the standard of what quarterback and receiver relationships should look like when done in the right way.”

Both the Patriots and Buccaneers responded to Brady’s message on Twitter, with New England’s account calling him the G.O.A.T., and the Buccaneers just simply saying “#ThankYouTom.”

“I don’t ever believe in the 100-year-old history of the NFL there’s been a quarterback of Tom’s ilk,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft told ESPN on Wednesday. “I don’t know, but I would have trouble ever believing there would be another one.”

Kraft also later released a three-and-a-half-minute tribute to Brady, echoing his thoughts from earlier in the day: “It made me pause and think how lucky we were and are at the New England Patriots, to be part of something that’s been in existence for over 100 years, and whether it was 50,000 or 100,000 players who have played the game, we have had the number one player in the history of the game play for the Patriots… As fierce as he was as a competitor and as tough as he could be, he had a great heart and was a great human being.”

On Thursday morning, Craft told CNN that he was open to signing Brady to a one-day contract so that Brady could retire as a Patriot.

“I’d do it tomorrow,” Kraft said. “Not only do I want it, our fans are clamoring for it and to us, he always has been and always will be a Patriot. We’ll do everything we can in our power to bring him back, sign off as a Patriot and find ways to honor him for many years to come.”

>> READ: NFL World Reacts to Brady’s Retirement 

Brady was selected with the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft by the Patriots. It only took him one season before winning the starting job in New England, winning the first of seven Super Bowl titles (XXXVI) and the first of five Super Bowl MVP awards.

With the Patriots offense struggling against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, it was their defense that kept them in the game, long enough for Brady to work his magic in the final two minutes. Tied, 17-17 with 1:30 left, many thought the Patriots should run out the clock and take their chances in overtime. But Bill Belichick and Brady had other ideas. Brady led the Patriots down field to set up Adam Vinatieri’s winning 48-yard field goal as time expired.

Mike Martz, who coached the Rams in that Super Bowl, recalled seeing something special about the second-year quarterback earlier in the season when the teams met in Week 10.

“We meet in the Super Bowl and they didn’t really do anything in the game until the fourth quarter,” Martz recalled. “But what’s important, though, under the gun he made the plays he had to make to win. And in his first year [as a starter], it doesn’t get any better than that. He stood in there at that two-minute part of the offense at the end of the game, and his decisions were impeccable.”

After going on to win five more Super Bowls with the Patriots, Brady signed with Tampa Bay in the 2020 offseason, and won his seventh in his first year there.

“His imprint on this organization helped take us to the mountaintop,” Bucs GM Jason Licht said in a statement. “We will certainly miss him as our quarterback, but I will also miss him as a leader and friend. Our entire organization is indebted to him for what he provided us over the past three years. We won’t ever forget the wins or the accolades and his influence will be felt for years to come.”

Brady now heads to Fox Sports, where he signed a 10-year, $375 million deal last summer to be one of its lead NFL analysts.

>> READ: Brady’s Greatest Career Achievements

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