Tom Brady retires: Biggest winners and losers following legendary quarterback’s announcement
Around 6 a.m. ET Wednesday morning, one of the greatest careers in professional sports history came to an end. About two hours after telling his former team, Tom Brady then told the public that he was indeed calling it quits after a storied 23-year career as an NFL quarterback.
By playing the 2022 season, Brady has achieved his goal of playing at age 45. Although it wasn’t his best season, Brady still managed to make history; he led the NFL in pass attempts and completions while completing a career-high 490 passes. Brady’s play helped the Buccaneers win a division title while giving him a chance to finish his career fittingly in the playoffs.
There’s a lot to unpack after Brady’s retirement announcement, including the biggest winners and losers after the bombshell announcement. Here’s a look at who’s benefiting most and least from Brady’s retirement.
Winner: Tom Brady
Brady, who fought back tears in his retirement video, obviously didn’t want his storied career to end. But the fact that he was able to retire on his own terms should serve as a consolation prize given that many careers don’t end that way.
Brady also walks away without tarnishing his legacy. Of course, Brady’s 2021 season was better and, had he remained retired last year, the final image of his career would have been his epic comeback attempt against the Rams in the playoffs of the year. last which was crowned by his touchdown pass to Mike. Evans. But Brady has done nothing to negatively impact his legacy this season, and by playing at 45 he was able to tick off one of his biggest goals.
Brady has given himself only two options this offseason, per ESPN: retire or stay with the Buccaneers. Given he picked the former, it’s an obvious loss for the Buccaneers, who now officially find themselves in the market for a quarterback.
The Buccaneers have other needs (particularly on the offensive line), but the quarterback will now come to the fore after Brady’s announcement. Tampa Bay may choose to give Kyle Trask — a 2021 second-round pick — a chance to start, but he’ll no doubt have outside competition in the form of a rookie or a veteran (or both).
Winner: NFC Conference
Brady’s departure makes things easier for the entire NFC. The division most affected by Brady’s decision is the NFC South, which is now wide open following Brady’s retirement. In fact, the NFC’s biggest winner may be the Carolina Panthers, who raced late in the season to catch the Buccaneers under interim head coach Steve Wilks.
Brady’s retirement further opens the championship window for other NFC teams that previously had to go through Brady. It also reinforces the growing imbalance between AFC and NFC quarterbacks. The AFC — which currently includes Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert and Josh Allen, among others — has a significantly better quarterback game than the NFC.
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Las Vegas would have been the favorite to land Brady had he played outside of Tampa in 2023. With Brady retired and with Derek Carr set to leave the team this offseason, the Raiders have major questions about the quarterback before the offseason.
Although Brady never indicated it was a possibility, there were surely some Patriots fans who held out hope that Brady might consider a farewell season in New England. It won’t happen now, because the next time Brady is at Gillette Stadium, it will likely be in a party setting.
Winner: Pro Football Hall of Fame
It didn’t take long for the Hall of Famers to let everyone know when Brady will be eligible for induction. Brady will no doubt be elected in his first year of eligibility. The same can be said of JJ Watt, who also recently announced his retirement.
With Brady and Watt headlining, this will likely be one of the most anticipated Hall of Fame weekends in history.
Loser: NFL Fans
Whether or not you cheer for him or his team, fans who have watched the NFL for the past 20+ years have had a front row seat to watch the greatest player in NFL history. Decades from now, young fans who grew up watching Brady can tell their grandkids they saw the seven-time Super Bowl MVP do his thing. Depending on who they were cheering on, they will recall stories involving either ecstasy or heartache regarding their memories of seeing the GOAT in action.