The football gods have spoken! Tom Brady announced that he is retiring “for good” ahead of the 2023 NFL season.
“I love my family. I love my teammates. I love my friends. I love my coaches. I love football. I love you all,” the 45-year-old captioned an emotional Instagram announcement on Wednesday, February 1. “I am truly grateful on this day. Thank you 🙏🏻❤️.”
In a video included in his post, Brady joked that he would “get to the point” right away. “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first,” he said. “I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.”
Brady thanked his fans for sticking by him throughout his career. “Every single one of you … my family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever,” he concluded. “Thank you guys for allowing me to live out my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback’s decision came after a tough 2022 season that resulted in the Bucs losing to the Dallas Cowboys on January 16 in the wild card game. The loss brought the team’s record to 8-10.
In the weeks that followed, fans waited with bated breath to see what Brady would do for the 2023 season.
The California native was first drafted into the NFL in 2000 by the New England Patriots. While he didn’t get his start until the following season, Brady’s career with the Patriots resulted in him being dubbed the G.O.A.T. after winning six Super Bowl titles and appearing in nine championship games in 20 years.
Brady surprised fans in spring 2020 when he announced that instead of retiring, he was leaving the Patriots to play with Tampa Bay.
“I wanted to say thank you to all of the incredible fans and Patriots supporters. MA has been my home for twenty years,” he said in a March 2020 statement. “It has truly been the happiest two decades I could have envisioned in my life and I have nothing but love and gratitude for my time in New England. … And Pats Nation will always be a part of me. I don’t know what my football future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career.”
The quarterback then signed a two-year contract with the Bucs and took them to Super Bowl LV in February 2021. With their win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady once again proved his worth and took home his seventh Super Bowl ring — the most one player has ever received.
“These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come,” the professional athlete wrote via Twitter in March 2022. “But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG.”
His comeback, however, posed a problem for Brady’s personal life and put a strain on his relationship with wife Gisele Bündchen. The duo, who tied the knot in February 2009, share two children: Benjamin and Vivian, born in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Brady also shares son Jack with ex Bridget Moynahan, whom they welcomed in 2007.
Us Weekly confirmed in September 2022 that Brady and Bündchen, 42, hired divorce lawyers amid their marriage woes. The pair announced the following month that they had finalized their divorce and were no longer together.
As news of their split made headlines, the TB12 Method author’s future as a quarterback was also called in to question. Brady revealed in December 2022 that the “next time” he decides to retire it’ll be “for me.”
He explained during an episode of his “Let’s Go” podcast that month that “whenever that day comes, we’ll figure it out.” Brady noted that stepping back from playing wasn’t something he could really visualize at the moment.
“I think what I really realized last year was you’ve got to be really sure to do that. And for me, you know, a lot of people have kind of gone through this situation,” the five-time Super Bowl MVP continued. “I’m going to take my time, whenever that time does come.”
Brady doubled down on his comments about taking his time during a January press conference following the Bucs wild card loss.
“It’ll just be one day at a time. Truly,” he told reporters, before thanking the press core for following his journey all season. “Thank you everybody for welcoming me. Just very grateful for the respect, and I hope I gave the same thing back to you guys. So, thank you very much.”