The Rise and Fall of Tom Brady


Joe Glorioso

Tom Brady, in a game against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field on November 14 2021/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

Kieran Murphy, Sports Editor

From being pick 199 and having six quarterbacks taken ahead of him to being a seven-time superbowl champion who’s playing well into his mid-forties, Tom Brady has the perfect underdog story. He’s the G.O.A.T. but has been in the news recently for refusing to admit that he is aging.

The decisions he has made about his retirement affected both his life on the field but also at home with marital disputes and family drama.

So how did the man who ran his 40-yard dash in cargo shorts go from being third string on his own team to being the all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns and what caused his ultimate fall from grace?

Coming out of high school, Brady got scholarship offers from 53 different colleges and settled with the Michigan Wolverines. His college career started off poor as he was redshirted and rode the bench for his first two years on the team.

Come his Junior year, Brady was finally moving into the starting role on the team in which he kicked it off with an extremely uneventful 0-2 start. Things quickly turned around for him, however, when he threw for over 2000 yards in both of his final two seasons along with 30 touchdowns and 16 picks.

Finishing out his college career, Tom was eligible for both the 2000 NFL and MLB draft, in the latter of which he was selected in the eighteenth round by the Expos but he rejected the offer in favor of the NFL.

The day of the NFL draft is exciting for every football fan but even more so for the prospects that have potential to make it into the league. There is quite a bit of build up to it, for instance, the NFL combine where Brady did in fact make his appearance in an odd way. While most players show up for the physically tolling and active day in basketball shorts and an athletic-esque t-shirt, Tom decided that it would be better to wear a loose t-shirt and weirdest of all, cargo shorts. He then lined up for the 40-yard dash and ran a 5.17 which ranked just outside of the thirtieth slowest runs in combine history.

Throughout all of this, Tom’s destination seemed uncertain and according to him, “I was told that I’d be going around the second or third round. Then I saw all these other quarterbacks going before me and all of a sudden, it was the sixth round.” This was not the case however as the 7 time superbowl winner fell to the sixth round where he was taken at pick 199 by the New England Patriots. This is where the story of Tom Brady really begins.

I was told that I’d be going around the second or third round. Then I saw all these other quarterbacks going before me and all of a sudden, it was the sixth round.

— As told by Tom in Youtube Documentary

His first year in the NFL mirrored his first two in college as he rode the bench. In his first year he completed exactly one pass for six yards. His second season resulted in massive success that all came from one hit that changed not only Tom’s life but the whole league forever.

During a season game against the Jets, Pats starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe got hit hard by a Jets linebacker which sidelined him for a month, allowing for Tom to come in. This is often recognized as the hit that launched Tom’s career. Brady’s second season was electric and he led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win along with a nice little Super Bowl MVP award in just his second year in the league. A new dynasty had started. Under the coaching of legendary Head Coach Bill Belichick, Brady and the Pats would go onto win back to back Super Bowls in 2004 and 2005, Brady winning another Super Bowl MVP in one of those.

Everything was going well for Tom and the Patriots, mostly. They ran into controversy in the 2007 season after Patriots coaches were caught illegally videotaping opposing teams coaches during games in order to gain an advantage. They were fined a total of $750,000 and their first round pick for the next draft.

Despite this, they had three more Super Bowl victories, the building of a dynasty to rival the ‘90s Cowboys, and developing the second most annoying fan base in all of football, the first still going to the Cowboys of course, but in 2008, disaster struck. In a season opener against the Chiefs, Brady took a nasty hit to the knee and suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear, putting him on IR for the rest of the season. This was nothing but a minor hiccup that only resulted in the snapping of the Patriots 21 regular season game winning streak.

The Patriots took a short break from winning Super Bowls in 2009 and 2010, but both brought something massive for Tom, 2009 bringing him in matrimony to Victoria’s Secret supermodel Gisele Bündchen, and 2010 bringing him two elite tight ends, one of which he would continue to play with over 10 years later, and the other he would only play with for another three seasons until legal trouble forced an end to his career. The first tight end is none other than Rob Gronkowski, the latter of those two being Aaron Hernandez. Gronk was the better of the two in play and representation with him being an amazing player who was so much fun to watch both on and off the field. Tom and Gronk had an immediate connection which ultimately led them to back to back division titles, they would keep this streak going for another nine years after this.

Brady’s next ring came in 2015 among quite a bit of controversy and scandal, “Deflategate.” Deflategate refers to a scandal in which Tom Brady and the Patriots organization was accused of illegally deflating footballs making them easier to catch for his receivers. Due to this, Brady was forced to take a six game suspension, fined $1,000,000 and stripped of their first round draft picks.

Super Bowl 51 is one to remember not only for Tom, but the entire football community. The matchup was set in Houston with Brady’s Patriots going head to head against Matt Ryan’s Falcons. The Falcons played to win and led 21-3 going into halftime along with a quick touchdown to start the half, Matty Ice was leading TB12 28-3. This wouldn’t stand for Tom however who came out of the locker room zoned in as he led the Patriots to a massive comeback scoring 6 points in the third and 19 points in the fourth quarter to force the game to overtime where James White scored his game winning touchdown. For his production and stats that season, Brady was awarded his third league MVP award.

After another Super Bowl appearance, which ended in a loss to the Eagles due to Nick Foles owning Tom, Brady would go on the next season to win his final Super Bowl with the New England Patriots during the 2018 season. The Rams led by Jared Goff and the Pats led once again by the ageless being that is Tom Brady combined for the lowest scoring Super Bowl in NFL history, 13-3 Patriots win. Not only was this a terrible game to watch, but it was quite possibly the worst halftime show ever put on. Maroon 5 hosted and the only positive from their show were the memes about Adam Levine being cringey. This was truly an end to an era, sadly no one knew it at the time however, the next time Brady would win a Super Bowl it would be with a different team.

After an early exit in the 2019 playoffs, courtesy of the Tennessee Titans, Tom Brady, the GOAT hit the free agency market. The reasons that the Patriots hadn’t re-signed him were the concerns about his age and impending retirement. In March of 2020, the very beginning of the offseason, Brady announced that he was signing with the Buccaneers, the second worst thing that happened that year. In his first year with his new team, he led them to a Super Bowl in which he defeated the defending Kansas City Chiefs and won his seventh Super Bowl ring. With a crazy after party which involved him in a water parade, completely wasted, throwing the Lombardi trophy from one boat to another in a drunken haze, one would be left to ask, how can things get any better?

Turns out, they can’t. This is where things started to turn downhill for our dear friend Tom.

I think sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life.

— Tom Brady

Following an uneventful season after the Super Bowl, Brady announced that he was officially retiring from football in order to spend more time with his family. This was a move that most people supported, until 40 days later when he un-retired and decided to come back to football. Immediately following this decision, reports came out about marriage trouble between him and Gisele, her of course wanting him to be present in his children’s lives and spend more time at home.

Around this time frame, a former teammate of Brady, Antonio Brown posted a photo on Instagram of him and Gisele hugging after a Super Bowl win. Quickly following this, reports of marriage counselors being hired was released. Many believed that there was still hope for the couple though. This was all shattered however when Gisele gave Tom an ultimatum, retire from football and they could work through their issues. Tom then said in a press conference that he, “saw no retirement in his near future.” They officially separated with Gisele taking the kids in the divorce. Gisele then took the kids and days after the divorce, went on a vacation to Costa Rica with her Jiu Jitsu instructor.

This wasn’t the end however. Many may be able to ration Brady’s decision, if he was still playing well that is. TB12 has been severely underwhelming this season, having a total of 14 touchdowns through 11 games, his lowest since he got injured in 2008. He has been consistently getting worse as he is leading the Bucs to a measly 5-6 start with a -4 point differential. A down season is understandable, he’s been dealing with family issues and he is only three years away from tying George Blanda’s record of being the oldest man to play in the NFL.

While still being on a deal which extends into next season, Brady is still being paid 15 million dollars to play poorly and underperform. The only positive from his un-retirement is that this season he became the first player to ever throw for 100,000 yards in NFL history. That begs the question, was it worth losing his family for? The regression is obviously there and will most likely get worse if he decides to continue playing.

Tom doesn’t have it anymore. Is he the greatest of all time? Yes, an overwhelming majority of football fans agree, but the most important thing for him is to quit while he is ahead and not tarnish his legacy. He’s already a guaranteed induction into the Hall of Fame since he is the all-time passing leader in both yards and touchdowns along with seven Super Bowl rings. Tom needs to admit that he needs to retire, along with being the G.O.A.T. he has a broadcasting contract waiting for him over at FOX SPORTS. He still gets to be with the game he loves but not having to bear the physical tole. His career is incredible but now he needs to not let that be ruined by refusing to admit when you can no longer compete with the younger guys.