When Tom Brady announced his retirement, the world sat up in collective mourning. It was hard to imagine the Super Bowl ever being the same without him, that even though Brady’s team might not even make it to the final during the season, the thought of never again seeing him defy the odds to bring it home with the clutch seemed implausible.
Tributes to the GOAT were quick to flow through on social media, with team-mates, coaches, fans and friends alike all quick to speak of his talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. Brady said he was excited to see what the future held for him away from the field. He launched a clothing line and was all but doubling down on father duties and a life in the stands. Or at least that was the case, until he announced a return to NFL.
In a post to Instagram, Brady revealed his decision to return to Tampa Bay Buccaneers for his 23rd season in the NFL, saying he has “unfinished business.” It appears his retirement lasted all of 40 days before the famed quarterback had a change of heart.
“These past two months I’ve realised my place is still on the field and not in the stands,” wrote Brady. “That time will come. 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.”
At 44-years-old, Brady led the NFL in yards passing (5316), touchdowns (43), completions (485) and attempts (719) in 2021, but the Buccaneers unfortunately lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round. Brady made the call to walk away from the game on February 1, citing his desire to spend more time with his wife and three children as the driving reason for retirement. But after attending the Manchester United match against Tottenham Hotspur, Brady had a change of heart.
Sitting with the Glazer family, who own Manchester United and the Buccaneers, Brady made the call to return to the sport. He’s not the first one to backflip on retirement. Across a number of sports, athletes have returned to the game, including the likes of Michael Jordan, Bob Cousy, Brett Favre and Reggie White in the NFL, and even Guy Lafleur and Mario Lemieux in the NHL.
But if Brady wants to reach a Super Bowl once again, he’s likely going to need the assistance of long-time buddy Rob Gronkowski. Brady had convinced Gronkowski to unretire to join him in Tampa in 2020. The team also lost Pro Bowl guard Ali Marpet, who retired at the age of 28.