The End of an Era: The age of Tom Brady is over, but whose age is beginning?

On Feb. 1, 2022, NFL quarterback Tom Brady retired from football after 22 seasons in the league. 

Brady spent 20 of those NFL seasons with the New England Patriots and another two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He won seven Super Bowls: six with the Patriots and one with the Bucs. 

According to ESPN, Brady, 44, formerly said he wanted to play football until he was at least 45. However, when rumors of his retirement leaked on Jan. 29, he confirmed that football’s physicality and the 25 sacks he faced this year have taken a toll on his health. The speculation grew, and despite the rumors, Brady said he wasn’t ready to finalize anything and was “still going through” the decision-making process. 

But, in an Instagram post on Feb. 1, Brady said that he doesn’t want to “make the competitive commitment” to play NFL football anymore. He said that it was time to focus his energy and time on other things that are important to him, like his family and his health. Brady has finally put an end to his thrill of a career. 

In the long-winded, five-slide Instagram post, Brady thanked his former Buccaneers teammates, the Buccaneers organization, the Buccaneers coaching staff and Tampa Bay fans. He failed to mention any of his 20 years in New England, even when they were the team that drafted him in 2000 and gave him a fighting chance at making a name for himself.

Former Patriots’ teammates, coaches and managers still expressed their immense gratitude and appreciation for him. ESPN reports that Patriots fans did get a bit of a thank-you via Twitter, when Brady responded to a statement by Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft. 

Now that arguably the greatest quarterback of all time has left the league, the door has been opened for young stars to pave their roads to greatness. Patrick Mahomes has already shown immense skill, but even he has failed to make it to another Super Bowl, falling to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship. Josh Allen is in the same boat, except he is still seeking his first Super Bowl appearance. Patriots fans will be excited to see how their rookie QB, Mac Jones, develops as his career goes on after making the Pro Bowl in his first NFL season. None of them, though, will fill the void left by Tom Brady.

Sources: ESPN, The Sporting News

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