I grew up in a household that loved football, and there were two games every year that my family and I watched, the Army-Navy game (go Army!) and the Super Bowl. This tradition goes back as far as I can remember and those days have been some of my favorite memories as a child.
My favorite team was always the San Francisco 49ers, but my parents loved the New England Patriots. Because of their love of this team, I grew up knowing the name Tom Brady and watched as he returned to Super Bowl after Super Bowl.
Recently Tom Brady made headlines as he once again led his team to the Super Bowl. I never thought that Brady would be considered the underdog going into a Super Bowl, but this past year he transferred to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won the National Football Conference title during his first year on the team.
In the past, I was not a fan of Brady’s. I always thought that he was overhyped and there were other players just as good, like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers, who were not getting their fair share of the spotlight. Manning however only went to two Super Bowls despite his massive career, and Rodgers has only been in and won one Super Bowl. However, after Brady led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl in 19 years and second-ever apperance, it solidified Brady’s legacy as one of the greatest football players of all time.
Brady has set many records during his career, including the highest number of Super Bowl appearances, 10, and wins, six. He also holds the record for highest number of division titles, 17 and championship appearances, 13.
He has also won four Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards, another record. I doubt anyone can deny that he has had a phenomenal career.
But Brady has not been without controversy. Football fans either love or hate him. Part of this is because the “Deflate Gate” scandal involving the New England Patriots.
This scandal was about the footballs used by the New England team. According to officials, the Patriots’ footballs were under the mandated air volume, which would make the football easier to grip, throw and catch.
As a result of this information, Brady was ordered to sit out the first four games of the next regular football season. There were multiple attempts to overturn this ruling but he ended up accepting the punishment.
Another possible reason to not like Brady, is due to the sheer number of Super Bowls he has been in. Although its an impressive feat, it became understandably predictable by the time the ninth Super Bowl came around.
There are a lot of things that people can learn from Brady: good sportsmanship, leadership and courage both on and off the field. It takes dedication to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. You have to be brave enough to take calculated risks and then be ok with the outcome.
But it also takes drive and courage to leave the team you helped build, and the team you were with for 20 seasons, to go start somewhere new. After Brady led Tampa Bay to their championship victory a friend said, “Do you know the level of confidence Brady must have had to possibly ruin his legacy by leaving the Patriots and going to the Buccaneers? And he was right.”
Brady will not be starting from scratch, though. His friend and long time teammate Rob Gronkowski, who had previously retired, decided to leave retirement to join Brady in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The current record for longest quarterback career is held by George Blanda, who played for 26 seasons. He retired at the age of 48, something unheard of due to the physical stress on the body and the injuries players can receive on the field.
Brady is in his 21st season in the NFL at the age of 43, although he’s been showing no signs of retirement, stating that he plans to play until he’s at least 45. Fans and commentators have long wondered if Brady is going to set another record by having the longest career in NFL history.
Although no one can be sure when Brady will retire, it’s going to be a bittersweet moment when he finally hangs up his football jersey for good.