The Tom Brady Retirement Saga

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws as St. Louis Rams’ Jeff Zgonina (90) and Adam Archuleta (31) defend during the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXVI at the Louisiana Superdome, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2002, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Doug Mills) Photo: Portland Press Herald

Sridhar Shenoy, Sports Editor

 

The past week has been a whirlwind of exciting trades, from Russel Wilson to the Denver Broncos to Khalil Mack to the L.A. Chargers. As fans began anticipating the thrills of free agency, Tom Brady dropped a bombshell: he is unretiring… after 40 days of confirmed retirement.

 

Brady’s retirement situation this offseason has been far from normal. On January 29th, Adam Shefter, ESPN reporter, announced that Tom Brady was confirmed to retire. Two days later, Tom Brady announced that he had not truly made a decision and that he would be taking time to decide how he feels about football and family. On February 1st, Brady officially announced his retirement, just one day after claiming he needed more time. The move seemed like Brady wanting to announce his 22 year career’s end in his own way. Who could blame the 5x Super Bowl MVP from wanting his own form of closure. 

 

The following days saw the outpour of support from not only past teammates and competitors, but the likes of Stephen Curry, Harry Kane, and hundreds of other stars from other sports. Brady proceeded to set plans to expand his brand and star in a movie about himself. Even as Brady was seen enjoying his time away from football, many fans speculated how long Brady’s retirement would truly last. Brady hinted numerous times that his retirement could not be a permanent decision.

 

On March 13th, less than two months after the initial retirement discussion began, Brady proved the speculators correct as he officially came out of retirement. The whole ordeal has raised questions about Brady’s intentions in returning. Brady claims that he has “unfinished business,” but what could that business possibly be? He has accomplished more than any other quarterback in history, so it is hard to believe that boosting stats would be the reason. Perhaps he believes he has a legitimate chance at winning his 8th Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Or maybe he wants to end his career on an MVP season which went to Aaron Rodgers this season. Or even he wanted to have his last touchdown pass ball for himself—the day before he unretired, his “last” touchdown ball sold for over 500k. Regardless, he is back this season and NFL fans will have at least another year of watching Brady lead his team to the playoffs.

 

So what does this decision mean for the Bucs and the rest of the NFL? Brady’s initial departure left the Bucs quarterback-less; without him they would have to enter the quarterback market in the draft or free-agency, possibly making a bid at Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans. Now that Brady is back, Tampa Bay must focus on managing their cap space (Brady’s 2022-23 cap hit will be ~20 million) and building their team to make another run for the Super Bowl. As for the rest of the NFL, the NFC South will certainly send the Buccaneers to the playoffs as division champions as the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and New Orleans Saints pose minimal threat to the Buccaneers. For a team that has improved significantly as the season passed for the past two years, the Buccaneers in the playoffs are a definite obstacle for any NFC team no matter their regular season record. Simply put, NFL fans must brace for yet another Super Bowl push from Brady, whether they like it or not.