Tom Brady, Chad Pennington
Tom Brady, Chad Pennington, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images
  • Conflicting reports about whether or not Tom Brady is set to retire from the NFL have surfaced.
  • It makes complete sense when thinking about the New York Jets fans’ frustrating plight for the last two decades.
  • Whether he retires or not, is Brady the undisputed GOAT? It may be a bit more complicated than people think.

Tom Brady is finally retiring from the NFL … maybe?

No, you excitable and pessimistic (yet so lovable) New York Jets fans … you’re not dreaming. The man who unmercifully tortured you for two decades is set to call it a career.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is set to retire after 22 seasons in the NFL, per various reports, including CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora and ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington.

Then again, nothing involving Brady and Jets fans is that cut and dry. The day Jets fans have been dreaming about for two decades was put to an abrupt end thanks to another report that followed the bombshell retirement news.

Per NFL insider Mike Silver, Brady has not yet made up his mind about retirement, and he informed Bucs general manager Jason Licht that he remains on the fence.

Just when Giselle thought he had her man out, those competitive demons pull him back in.

Maybe. Perhaps. Only time will tell.

Brady, 44, nearly did it again, last week, when he nearly stunned the Los Angeles Rams—a team that pounced all over his Bucs in the divisional round. In the end, Sean McVay’s squad defeated Brady’s back-to-back bid, courtesy of a game-winning walk-off field goal (30-27 final score).

After the loss, Brady took to Instagram while neither committing to a third season in Tampa nor a retirement.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady)

“I understand that at this stage in my career, there is going to be interest in my future whenever a season ends, but this week, all that is on my mind is the gratitude I have for this team and the fans that have supported us all year long,” Brady wrote. “This year has been incredibly rewarding personally and professionally and I am appreciative of everyone who worked their ass off to help our team achieve so much.

“I always want to win, I think that’s pretty apparent by now, but that doesn’t mean I equate losing to failure, especially when you go out fighting the way we did.. There’s so much to appreciate in a season like this when you’re surrounded by a team that believes in each other, and plays for the people standing on either side of them. I’ll spare you the Man in the Arena quote, but that feeling is something that I promise I’ll never take for granted. To everyone that was a part of it this year, thank you. I love you all!”

Much of the language surrounding Brady’s retirement focuses on the Michigan product spending more time with his family. He once proclaimed that he’d like to play until he was 45 years old, and the New England Patriots legend nearly accomplished that feat—as he’ll turn 45 on Aug. 3, 2022, the same date Zach Wilson also celebrates his birthday.

Brady threw for a career-best 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns to 12 interceptions in 17 games this past season for the 13-4 Bucs.

AFC East dominance

Although Jets fans received a reprieve over the last two years, it wasn’t this way for the better part of the previous two decades.

Brady and Bill Belichick captured an incredible 17 divisional crowns from 2001 to 2019. The 2002 season—the year Herm Edwards implored his team to “play to win the game”—serves as the only Brady-led Pats season that didn’t result in an AFC East crown or a playoff appearance.

The 2000 and 2008 seasons represent the only other campaigns that New England did not come away with the divisional crown. In 2000, Brady had not yet taken over from Drew Bledsoe, and the 2008 season marks the only year Brady did not play at least 12 games (season-ending knee injury that paved the way for backup Matt Cassel).

Since Brady took over as the starting quarterback, the Patriots won 17 AFC East crowns while the Jets and Dolphins took home one apiece (19 total seasons, including the Cassell year). The Buffalo Bills, who found themselves shut out during the Brady era, have caught up over the last two campaigns.

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Is Tom Brady the true GOAT?

If social media is to be believed, there are “GOATs” and “dads” floating around professional sports everywhere. With a remarkable seven Super Bowl rings, 84,520 passing yards and 624 passing touchdowns—all of which rank first all-time—the widespread belief is that Brady is the undoubted greatest player in NFL history.

While there’s nothing wrong with that claim, to me, it’s not that simple.

In my camp, any one of the three following players can be labeled as the greatest quarterback in NFL history:

  • Tom Brady
  • Joe Montana
  • Johnny Unitas

Although Brady played in the salary cap era—something that should be considered a detriment—everything else was easier for him.

He entered the league at the perfect time, just prior to the offensive explosion (post-2007) that coincided with his near-perfect 2007 Patriots team. When tracking the yards and points scored per game, the clear difference between Brady’s era and Johnny Unitas’s or even Joe Montana’s is evident.

In 1957, Unitas’s first big season, the NFL average for passing yards per game was a paltry 153.4. In 2021, that number finished at 240.2, which is even a far cry from the modest 200.3 passing yards per game in 2003—the era when Brady was far from a statistical monster.

Not only have the rules made things easier for the quarterback by way of moving the football, but the NFL did everything in its power to make sure defenses cannot touch the quarterback, as well. While Unitas and Montana had to actually deal with incredible nastiness, Brady would often intentionally fall to the ground when an apparent sack showed face.

In the end, mainly thanks to the incredible seven Super Bowl rings and 10 Super Bowl appearances (the next closest is Montana with four titles), Brady will be considered the greatest of all time, and understandably so.

Truthfully, at this point, New York Jets fans could probably not care less whether or not Brady gets the universal GOAT status. The first step was to celebrate his AFC East exit, which happened. And now, suddenly, the euphoria that surrounds an actual Tom Brady retirement is something that’s been 22 years in the making.

If the reports are true, highlighting the idea that Tom Brady is ready to call it an official career, New York Jets fans (and much of the rest of the NFL competition) should be as giddy as ever.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com
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Jets71
Jets71
8 months ago

I never thought the “salary cap” thing was a pro for Brady, sure players moving was a challenge to keep his team together but it was equally an assist. He didn’t have to face teams like SF or Dallas did year after year. Those rosters changed too, so the shuffling of players was a benefit to him. The rules are now so tilted to the offense these QB’s can play longer and get more clean looks than anytime in history. Montana, Marino or Elway never got that benefit. They got smashed.

Nobody brings up the NFL realignment in 2002. He benefited from the new divisions moving the Colts to a new AFC South instead of playing in the AFC East. I’m pretty sure the numbers would be a bit different if he was banging his head up against Peyton year after year.

The other elephant in the room that NEVER gets discussed is that he presided over the single biggest choke job in the history of the league. No offense Giants’ fans. His team was undefeated, had scored more points than any team in the history of the league, set offensive records including his TD’s, and averaged 33 points per game. Then in the Super Bowl against a mediocre 1 game over .500 team, with a good defensive line and that’s about it, they scored 14 points! 14! It was a choke but can’t say that about St. Tommy. Add in, he gets WAY too much credit for that first Super Bowl. I’m sorry 145 yards, 1 offensive TD and 4 completions to wide open receivers is the bare minimum. That he won the MVP was pure sensationalism.

The cloud of cheating can’t be ignored, even if they want to pin the shady behavior solely on Bill Sleazechick, Brady still benefitted from it. I also consider the fact he’s the biggest poor sport the game has ever seen as part of the evaluation. I’m sorry but you can’t go around for 20 years throwing fits, not shaking hands, screaming at your teammates on the field, and running up scores then chalk it up to his “competitive drive.” He was one of the best players to play the game. How good? We may never know. What I do know is I have no respect for the guy and will always believe he got more help from the sleazy activity than anybody wants to admit. Give me Montana, Marino, or Elway any day over this guy (only including guys I saw play).

Keith Beckett
Keith Beckett
8 months ago

I’m not giving this player anything, he has been given enough. If Shoeless Joe Jackson, Pete Rose, Mark McGwire and now Barry Bonds are all left out of the baseball HOF, what makes Brady special? Anyone who is asked to produce a cell phone and then brings it in damaged is obviously hiding something. This wasn’t the first time either, the Pats and TB have been down this road before. I will never be able to trust anything he accomplished because he has crossed that line of ethics before and he continues to do so. Even after being caught before it continued, therefore I can only imagine it most likely still does, so for me ( I don’t care what he does ) it will always have doubt in my mind.

verge tibbs
verge tibbs
8 months ago

Shady ass shefter.. he needs to be brought down a peg. At this point hes just taking educated guesses and the entire national media still listens to him. He was taking guess based on what he heard from bradys pidcast afaik

saxmanjb
saxmanjb
8 months ago

Can’t put him there, and, for pretty much two words, MATT CASSEL. Figure it out!