Brady’s Retirement Ignites Controversy


After 22 seasons, Tom Brady retires from the NFL. (Source: Todd Kirkland)

As loyal New Englanders, most consider Tom Brady the greatest football player ever. He led the New England Patriots to six Super Bowl rings and firmly established them as a dynasty unmatched in the sport’s history. Brady recently announced his retirement from football on February 1, following a formidable 22 seasons and countless broken records.

“This is difficult to write, but here goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” Brady announces in an Instagram post. “I have loved my [National Football League] career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention.” Brady also expressed gratitude to various members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, including his teammates, Head Coach Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers fans.

What stands out, however, is his lack of acknowledgment of the New England Patriots, the franchise which housed him for the majority of his career. Also noticeably absent from his statement is Bill Belichick, who coached Brady throughout the quarterback’s entire career with the Patriots.

The highly decorated coach and his star player were a remarkable duo that wowed millions for two decades until Brady’s departure from the
Patriots franchise in March 2020. Several individuals have expressed their dissatisfaction with Brady’s apparent disregard of the Patriots and Belichick.

Others point to Brady’s March 2020 farewell message to the Patriots, arguing that one statement provides sufficient gratitude for the New England franchise. Boston Latin School varsity football quarterback Douglas George (II) voices his opinion on this matter, saying, “It was weird for him to not mention the Patriots in his retirement post; the beginning of his career was born because the Patriots gave him an opportunity and everybody loved him here for 20 years.”

On the flip side, the Patriots organization did not fail to mention their thanks to Tom Brady. “Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career,” writes owner of the Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I have the greatest respect for Tom personally and always will. […] I will always feel a close bond to him and will always consider him an extension of my immediate family.”

Brady finally recognized the Patriots in response to Kraft’s heartfelt statement a few hours later. With a red heart emoji, Brady responds, “Thank you Patriots Nation, I’m beyond grateful. Love you all.” His brief but amicable reply soothed some previously disappointed fans. Yet many fans still felt that the fleeting response was insufficient, given the significance of the Patriots in Brady’s career.

While there have been many speculations and heated arguments surrounding Brady’s retirement announcement, nonetheless, it is possible that Tom’s career is not over just yet. In his podcast shortly after his statement, Brady revealed that he could “never say never” about a potential comeback.

Sparking further speculation, Brady’s longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski claimed, “[Brady] can play at any age. […] If he’s 50 years old, he can still come back. I think he’s going to come back but in a couple of years. The guy’s a beast. He can play anytime.’’ Gronkowski’s unfailing loyalty to his longtime friend speaks volumes of Brady’s character and presence.

While it is uncertain whether Brady’s career has come to a close, his legacy will continue to inspire athletes to never give up, no matter the pushback.