So this is how it actually ends for Tom Brady: no big announcement, no retirement tour, no prolonged farewell.
On Wednesday morning, the greatest of all-time posted a 53-second video on social media, informing the world he’s retiring “for good.” As Brady mentioned, football legends are only allotted one “super-emotional retirement essay,” and he used his last year.
is Brady's broadcasting career already a failure?
This is a fitting way for Brady to walk away.
The most shocking aspect of Brady’s faux-tirement was just how sloppy it was. The ultimate control freak lost control of his narrative, and then proceeded to gaslight intrepid NFL Insiders Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington, who broke the news of his phony retirement 72 hours before it was officially announced.
Over that span, Brady’s camp issued a flurry of denials, and Tom Brady Sr. attributed the hoopla to an “online publication circulating an unsubstantiated rumor.”
The whole spectacle was cheesy and loathsome. Then 40 days later, Brady came back.
The following 10 months were the most embarrassing of his professional life.
Brady’s marital issues with Gisele Bundchen were splashed all over the tabloids, culminating in his unprecedented multi-day absence from Buccaneers training camp. It was the first of many indications that Brady wasn’t all-in last season.
He was pouty on the sidelines and often laid into teammates. Egregiously, he missed the Bucs’ walkthrough before their Week 6 game against the Steelers, because he decided to sleep in after attending Robert Kraft’s star-studded wedding in New York City.
Tampa Bay lost that game, by the way. The indelible image from the sad affair was Brady ripping into his offensive linemen, who attended all of that week’s practices, unlike him.
The Buccaneers were a broken team last season. They dealt with a myriad of injures on the offensive line and were poorly coached. But make no mistake: Brady was a major reason for their struggles.
The proof was in their wretched home playoff loss to the Cowboys. Nearly 31 million people tuned in to watch Brady throw a red-zone interception and attempt a dirty slide tackle. The game was never competitive.
Despite that awful showing, teams were going to be interested in Brady’s services this offseason. Josh McDaniels’ Raiders would’ve been an attractive landing spot, and with the 49ers falling short in another NFC Championship, it looked like Brady would possibly be gifted the opportunity to return home for one last Super Bowl run.
The Dolphins publicly committed to Tua Tagovailoa, but not many people bought it. After all, they had been tampering with Brady for years.
So yes, Brady could’ve played during his age-46 season. But at what cost? In terms of second acts, his run with the Buccaneers was the best in NFL history. He was not Joe Montana with the Chiefs, Brett Favre with the Jets or Johnny Unitas with the Chargers. Brady won a Super Bowl in his first season, and led the league in passing in his second. He proved he could win without Bill Belichick.
There was nothing left to accomplish. As Brady experienced last year, continuing to play was a risk to his legacy, without much of an award. In the annals of history, there isn’t much of a difference between seven Super Bowl rings and eight.
Brady is leaving on his own terms, just like he should. Better late than never.