Greatness at 44: Tom Brady retires

(News4usonline) – At age 44, Tom Brady announced his retirement after 22 years of playing in the NFL. He went out on top. Sort of. Though he did not make an 11th Super Bowl appearance, Brady was still riding high before he decided to shut down everything for good.

At the conclusion of the 2021 NFL regular season, Brady led all quarterbacks with 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns. Brady retired with the most super bowls as a player in NFL history. He also has a spot to be in the NFL Pro Hall of Fame coming up. Brady will be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in history, if not the best.

It has been a long ride for Brady. Brady won seven Super Bowls and would have had more if he had beaten Eli Manning. Manning and his New York Giants beat Brady twice in the Superbowl (Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI). 

There are a lot of people who are going to miss seeing Brady play. However, there are some people who were ready to kiss him goodbye. Some of these people wanted to see Brady retire because of his dominance. He won a lot of Super Bowls and has become the poster boy for the Big Game. 

The premise for his critics is that he should let other quarterbacks have an opportunity to win. Before he retired from the NFL, Brady became just the fourth quarterback in league history to beat all 32 NFL teams, including the New England Patriots.   

Brady will be remembered as one of the best players to play the game over the last three decades, manning the quarterback position from the 2000s, 2010s and 2020s genre. He has the highest number of passing yards and passing touchdowns. He also has more wins by a quarterback in both the regular season and postseason. That’s not to mention appearing in (10) super bowls.   

Tom Brady as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Los Angeles Rams. Photo by Ricardo Stallworth/News4usonline

Brady retiring represents the closure of an era. It’s sad that nearly all the best quarterbacks during the 2000s, signal-callers like Brady, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning, have all called it quits.

The best quarterback remaining from that period is Aaron Rodgers. It won’t be the same anymore when almost all of them retire and they’re all gone. It was part of my childhood watching those quarterbacks play in the NFL.

But it’s time to start focusing on the new five best quarterbacks today in the game, players assuming the quarterback mantle and who are ready to be the next mantle Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, etc.

Those players deserve to be in the NFL Hall of Fame. They were the best of the best. Now let’s look at the new breed of great quarterbacks.     

The next generation of great quarterbacks includes Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert. These are the quarterbacks expected to rule over the NFL over the next decade. And the way these quarterbacks have played so far, they also should be a lock for the Hall of Fame.

As of right now, Rodgers has a dilemma. He needs to decide on his future after his Green Bay Packers lost to the 49ers with a 13-10 loss in an NFL divisional round playoff game. According to reports, Rodgers isn’t sure if he will leave the Packers or not.

Rodgers reportedly said he will make a decision about his future by free agency in March. Rodgers should still be playing in the NFL and stay with the Packers. The Packers are going to miss Rodgers and will struggle going to the playoffs should he retire or leave to go to another team.

There is still a chance of Rodgers might win his second Super Bowl before he retires. But that window is closing fast.   

Speaking of chances, there is an opportunity Mahomes can be the next Tom Brady. Mahomes has amassed a stunning 18,991 passing yards in the past four seasons. He has already played in two Super Bowls. Mahomes is 1-1 in those games, with his Kansas City Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers (Super Bowl LIV) and losing to Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

The irony here is that as great as Mahomes is and will become has never won a postseason game against Brady. Besides losing to Brady in Super Bowl 55, Mahomes and the Chiefs lost to Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game the year before. 

Since Brady announced his retirement Mahomes now has a chance to make it back to a couple more Super Bowls in the next few seasons, but he will have to wait until next season to begin that chase with his Chiefs being eliminated in the AFC Championship Game by Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in this year’s Super Bowl quest.

And just like the (Peyton) Manning and Brady rivalry, you’re we’re likely to hear Mahomes and Burrow’s name tied to one another for a long, long time. That’s not dismissing Jackson, Herbert, or Allen because they’re all great talent in their own right. 

Mahomes, Burrow, Herbert, Allen, and Jackson all play in the AFC. Dueling it out for Super Bowl privilege should be interesting over the course of the next few seasons. 

Featured Photo: Tom Brady (12) in action against the Los Angeles Rams. Photo by Ricardo Stallworth/News4usonline