Most of sports talk this week has centered around Tom Brady as the 44-year old quarterback announced that he is retiring from the NFL. Normally after the league’s conference championship games, all talk centers around the upcoming Super Bowl.
Not this year as Brady made his announcement on Tuesday. His retirement will dominate the news cycle this week. There will be plenty of time for Super Bowl talk next week. This week, it is all about Brady.
Oh, by the way, the Super Bowl matchup on Feb. 13 features the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. I will preview the game in these pages next week.
There are so many storylines with Brady. He played into his mid-forties and actually is coming off one of his best statistical seasons ever. Brady has a solid shot as this season’s MVP. He, alone, has more Super Bowl titles (seven) than any other TEAM in NFL history.
The narrative that always grabs my attention is one that should give every young athlete hope – if he can do it, anyone can. Brady proved that virtually nothing is impossible in sports.
Few know that Brady was a backup quarterback on a winless freshman team in high school at San Mateo, CA. Eventually, he found some success as a prep and arrived at the University of Michigan listed seventh on the depth chart.
It took a while, but Brady ultimately became the starter for the Wolverines, then got himself drafted 199th overall by the New England Patriots in 2000. This time, he found himself as the fourth-string quarterback behind a guy named Michael Bishop who was third on the depth chart. I can almost hear Bishop telling his grandchildren this story.
It did not take Brady long to pass Bishop and he was obviously ready for NFL play as he stepped in for the injured Drew Bledsoe and led the Pats to a Super Bowl victory. Bledsoe never got his job back and Brady won five more Super Bowls for New England before capturing one more title with the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2021. Along the way, he worked his way to virtually every single NFL passing record that exists.
Amidst all the news coming out this week on Brady was that his testing as a rookie at the NFL combine was one of the worst on record for quarterbacks. His 40 time was over five seconds. His vertical jump was barely high enough to be measured. There also has been countless stories of Brady’s competitiveness and work ethic.
In the end, those traits won out.
This week is a time to appreciate Tom Brady for knocking down the boundaries of what is possible in sports. If he can do it, there is hope for every young athlete in any sport.