Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time. Even those who have hated TB12 for his entire career should have no trouble admitting that. The stats speak for themselves.
Since being drafted as an afterthought in the sixth round of the 2000 National Football League (NFL) Draft, Brady has earned 15 Pro Bowl selections, won a record seven Super Bowls, and three times been the Associated Press Offensive Player of the Year. Oh, and he’s also a five-time Super Bowl MVP who holds just about every statistical record for quarterbacks.
Brady could have retired 10 years ago and still been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Yet, he has always talked about playing well into his 40s and is now 44 years old. He will be 45 when the 2022 NFL season begins.
Although the timing was unexpected, it wasn’t shocking when Brady announced his retirement following the end of the 2021 season. That retirement lasted just 41 days, however, with Brady announcing plans to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March.
Brady was still one of the best quarterbacks in the league last season, but he should have stayed retired.
Doesn’t Need the Money or Recognition
In early June, Brady told ESPN’s Jenna Laine that he was “partly” ready to hang up his cleats for good due to his family responsibilities. However, he decided to announce his return on the night before NFL free agency to give himself ample time to mentally prepare – and to allow the Buccaneers to re-sign key free agents like Carlton Davis, Leonard Fournette, and Ryan Jensen.
Brady is due to make “only” $15 million in salary in 2022 after restructuring his contract. That’s enough to last most people a lifetime, but he’ll also earn additional income from sponsors and other sources.
Brady will have earned more than $300 million in player salary over the course of his career following next season. He definitely doesn’t need to work another day in his life if he didn’t want to.
He also doesn’t have anything left to prove. There’s literally nothing he could do next season that would enhance his legacy.
Despite making more than $300 million in salary during his playing career, Brady has actually positioned himself to make more in retirement, which makes his decision to return to the playing field all the more confusing.
In late May, Fox Sports announced that Brady had agreed to join the network as a full-time analyst covering Sunday games whenever he decides to retire. The contract was for 10 years and valued at $375 million. Brady will earn almost twice as much as Tony Romo, who is a broadcasting superstar, and almost three times as much as ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.
Football players are lucky to play more than four or five years in the NFL due to the risk of injury. A select few players might be lucky enough to retire after a 10-year career with a relatively clean bill of health.
For the most part, Brady has escaped major injury during his career. He’s in incredible shape and is probably even in the best shape of his career in his mid-40s.
While he takes measures to protect his body, he should still feel fortunate enough to have had a career this long. One hit can change all of that, especially as he gets older.