Tom Brady Hangs Up the Cleats
For a while, it felt like the day would never happen. It felt like Tom Brady would never retire; it felt like his dominance was going to be everlasting. It felt like every year, non-Patriots fans were rooting for him to hang up the cleats, but every year he would come back better. It felt like a decline was never coming, and that is because it never did. Tom Brady worked his way up the mountain; from being the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL draft to finishing his career off as the undisputed G.O.A.T. Once Brady got to the top of the mountain, he never stopped climbing. He kept getting better and elevating his game from his 20's into his 30's and then where he cemented his legacy in his 40's. At 44 years old in Tom Brady's final season in the NFL, he led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns. He retired from the league in a similar fashion to how he entered it; defying all odds.
Some things just don't make sense, no matter how much practicality you try to put behind those things, there is just no reason certain things should be working the way they do. Tom Brady being the best quarterback in the league for over 20 years is one of those things. His greatness is uncanny and will never be seen again. The argument that "Bill Belichick made him" or that he was a "system quarterback" was disproved after he won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in his first year in Bruce Arians' system, which couldn't be more different than Belichick's. Winning seven Super Bowls is stupid and I hate it because I can't wrap my mind around it. No matter how much Avocado ice cream a man eats or how pliable one person is, they shouldn't be able to win seven Super Bowls. It's unexplainable, but that is also what makes it beautiful. I have never seen one human being master their craft quite like Tom Brady.
I don't care what anybody has to say, Tom Brady is the greatest professional athlete of all time. I'm not saying he is the most athletic, I am saying of all people with a profession in playing sports, Brady is the greatest of all time. The way he was able to bring a team together, sustain his body, and elongate his prime is supernatural. He is a phenomenal businessman, a universally liked human being, and an extremely intelligent quarterback. You have to be really, really smart to be a good quarterback in the NFL, and Brady wasn't just good, he was the best. When it comes to the Mount Rushmore of athletes, you can't have one without Brady. You can have Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Serena Williams, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Tiger Woods, or whomever you want on that list, all I know is that Brady better be on it.
The game is going to be different without Brady in it, but the beautiful thing about the NFL is that it is ever-evolving. The game is being elevated year after year, and there are no doubts in my mind that Brady left the game better than he found it. Tom Brady is an original, he's a non-conformist, he is one-of-one. While Tom Brady won't be playing in the NFL anymore; his legacy will never leave it. Brady inspired so many people from Patrick Mahomes to Lamar Jackson; the game is in great hands but it won't ever be the same without number 12.