Ranking the top 12 greatest moments of Tom Brady’s career originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Tom Brady’s NFL career is officially over. We’re pretty sure.
The 45-year-old announced his retirement in a social media video on Wednesday morning, marking the second straight year that he stepped away from football. While last year’s retirement only lasted 40 days, Brady insists that his decision is “for good” this time.
If this is truly it for Brady, there’s only one word that can be used to describe him: GOAT. He retires holding a number of NFL records, including most Super Bowl wins, playoff wins, passing yards, passing touchdowns and much more.
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It’s tough to condense a 23-year career that had so many highlights, but here are 12 of the greatest moments of TB12’s career (listed chronologically):
The Tuck Rule: Patriots beat Raiders in snow amid controversy
Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and more
The game that started it all – and it was the correct call. Brady appeared to fumble (and essentially lose the divisional round matchup) but the decision was reversed when referees ruled that he pulled the ball back, which was an incomplete pass by rule. The Pats then tied it and won in overtime for Brady’s first career playoff victory in the final game at Foxboro Stadium.
Super Bowl 36: Brady leads game-winning drive in final minute
Legendary announcer John Madden suggested the Patriots should play for overtime when they got the ball back with under two minutes left and no timeouts in a tie game. But the 24-year-old Brady had other plans, leading the team on a nine-play, 53 yard drive in 1:30 to set up the game-winning field goal. Brady was named Super Bowl XXXVI MVP.
Super Bowl 39: Patriots dynasty solidified with win over Eagles
With their third Super Bowl win in four years, the Patriots officially became a dynasty in February of 2005. It was the first title where Brady wasn’t named Super Bowl MVP, but he was nearly flawless in New England’s 24-21 win over Philly. He finished 23 of 33 for 236 yards and two touchdowns, becoming just the fourth quarterback to win three Super Bowls.
2007 season: Brady breaks TD record, perfect regular season
The 2007 season ended in a disappointing Super Bowl loss to the Giants, but there were plenty of highlights in the first 18 victories. To finish out their perfect 16-0 regular season, the Patriots defeated the Giants. Not only did the Pats leave New Jersey with a win, Brady and Randy Moss left with the single-season passing (50) and receiving touchdown (23) records, respectively.
Oct. 18, 2009: Brady throws five TDs in one quarter vs. Titans
Perhaps the best statistical game of Brady’s career came at a snowy Gillette Stadium in 2009. While rocking the iconic red throwbacks, Brady led the Patriots to a 59-0 win over the Titans. He finished the game completing 29 of 34 passes for 380 yards, six touchdowns and no turnovers. Brady had five touchdowns in the second quarter and was pulled early in the third while leading 52-0.
Jan. 10, 2015: Patriots overcome two 14-point deficits vs. Ravens
The Patriots fell behind by 14 points twice to the Ravens in the 2014 divisional round – down 14-0 in the first quarter, down 28-14 in the third. Both times, they rallied to tie the game before ultimately winning 34-31. Brady had 367 passing yards and three touchdowns, while wide receiver Julian Edelman added a 51-yard touchdown pass as the Patriots mustered just 14 rushing yards.
Super Bowl 49: Patriots rally past Seahawks for first title in 10 years
Just a few weeks after the Ravens comeback and the Deflategate saga, the Patriots rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the defending champion Seahawks. The ending remains one of the greatest in Super Bowl history, with Malcolm Butler’s goal line interception. It was the Patriots’ first title in 10 years and gave Brady his fourth ring, tying Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw.
Super Bowl 51: Patriots beat Falcons after trailing 28-3
Two years later, the Patriots completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. Down 25 points late in the third quarter, Brady led a thrilling comeback to tie the game with under a minute to play. In overtime, the Patriots scored first and claimed their fifth title. Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards and two touchdowns to win his fourth Super Bowl MVP.
2017 AFC title: Patriots battle back vs. Jaguars despite injuries
The 2017 season ended in a Super Bowl loss to the Eagles (where Brady set the Super Bowl single-game passing yards record), but the AFC title game was another epic victory. The Jaguars had the AFC’s best defense all year and led 20-10 midway through the fourth quarter. Rob Gronkowski was lost due to a concussion and Brady played through a gruesome hand injury suffered in practice, but the Patriots gutted out a 24-20 comeback win.
2018 AFC title: Brady beats Mahomes in epic overtime clash
In the Patriots’ eighth straight AFC title game appearance, they faced one of their stiffest opponents: Patrick Mahomes and the upstart Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. New England led 14-7 entering the fourth quarter before a wild final frame sent the game to overtime tied at 31. The Patriots won 37-31 in overtime after several third-and-long conversions to advance to Super Bowl LIII, where they defeated the Rams 13-3.
Super Bowl 55: Bucs demolish Chiefs for Brady’s final title
After leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers, Brady quickly returned to the big stage. He won three road playoff games to reach the Super Bowl, setting up another date with Mahomes’ Chiefs. This time it wasn’t so close, with the Bucs winning 31-9 and Brady earning his seventh title and fifth Super Bowl MVP.
Oct. 3, 2021: Brady defeats Patriots in return to New England
New England fans got to see Brady one last time when he made his first trip to Gillette Stadium as an opponent. Brady broke the all-time passing yards record during the emotional win. After defeating Bill Belichick’s squad 19-17, Brady became just the fourth quarterback to defeat all 32 teams.