After 22 seasons, the NFL’s most successful quarterback — and possibly the best team sports athlete ever — is retiring.
That’s right, Tom Brady, widely considered the greatest quarterback of all time, announced earlier this afternoon he would be retiring.
Brady won seven Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His first Super Bowl win came four months after 9/11 when the Patriots defeated Kurt Warner and the heavily-favored St. Louis Rams by a field goal.
After the Buccaneers’ defeat in the playoffs last week, Brady reportedly needed time to reflect on his mindset. However, sources close to the 44-year-old say he likely knew the defeat would be his last game as soon as he walked off the field.
As ESPN reports:
Sources said that Brady’s decision to retire is based on several factors, including family and health. While less significant, Brady also recognizes that the Buccaneers are likely to undergo significant roster turnover, sources said.
Brady, 44, has been adamant for weeks that he never wanted a “farewell season,” and many who know him believed he desired a decision made without much drama leading up to it. He will shift his focus to new endeavors and believes this is the right moment to end his playing career, sources said.
It is unknown when Brady will formalize his plans to retire, but it will be made with consideration to not upstage the NFL’s postseason games or Super Bowl.
Buccaneers executives and coaches have been bracing for Brady’s retirement in recent weeks, recognizing it was more likely than not that he would hang it up after the season, team sources told ESPN. One source said as recently as this week that “all signs point” to Brady’s retiring.
Here are some additional highlights from Brady’s unprecedented career. Do you think the NFL will see another player like him? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!