Over the weekend rumors swirled of the impending retirement of Tom Brady from the game of football after 22 seasons in the NFL. After those reports were debunked by multiple sources, including Brady himself, Tuesday Brady made the decision final.
After a career which saw him win 7 Super Bowls, Brady is hanging it up.
Tom Brady officially retires. Among his posts… pic.twitter.com/o9GqgRKsoO— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 1, 2022
Having already thought about this over the weekend when the rumors started, I couldn’t help but consider where Brady ranks among Pittsburgh Steelers villains since 2001. There have been some tremendous villains who have tormented the Steelers, just look at some of these names:
- Ray Lewis
- Terrell Suggs
- Vontaze Burfict
- Chad Johnson
- Ed Reed
- Myles Garrett
- Adam “Pacman” Jones
- T.J. Houshmandzadeh
When you look at that list of names, you can see some players who absolutely got under the skin of both the players and fans of the black and gold, but if you are honest with yourself, Brady sits atop this list.
No, he wasn’t a divisional rival, but Brady was a thorn in the Steelers’ side every time the two faced off against one another. How bad was this thorn? Just think how many Super Bowls the Steelers could have been a part of if not for Brady and the Patriots getting in the way?
In his career, Brady has played the Steelers 15 times, all with the New England Patriots, and sports a 12-3 record, including the playoffs. Fans likely remember the Steelers’ three wins over Brady, in 2004 with a rookie Ben Roethlisberger, a 2011 game at Heinz Field and the game in 2018 which was sealed by a Joe Haden interception in the waning minutes.
But look at Brady’s stats during those 12 regular season games:
Completion %: 68.8
Now the 3 playoff games:
Completion %: 71.6
The retirement announcement of Brady should be accompanied by a sense of appreciation, by all NFL fans, for being able to see one of, if not the, greatest quarterbacks of all time play the game. But that doesn’t mean Steelers fans won’t be happy to see No. 12 no longer playing in the league. Any fan of the Steelers who was old enough to see Brady play can recall multiple times when he and the Patriots were the team who showed just how truly inferior Pittsburgh was, on more than one occasion.
There are NFL villains, and then there was Tom Brady for the Steelers. I’m sure the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and New York Jets can write a similar story today as AFC East rivals, but the Steelers saw their playoff hopes and dreams dashed too many times by Brady to not consider him the top nemesis for the Steelers during his time in New England. And if Brady’s overall success vs. the Steelers wasn’t enough to tick off Steelers fans repeatedly throughout his career, the fact he chose to retire the same year as Ben Roethlisberger further frustrates the fan base. Why? Barring the Pro Football Hall of Fame waiving the necessary 5 year wait period before being inducted, it will be Brady and Roethlisberger being on the ballot for the first time together.
Even in retirement Brady makes Steelers fans mad.
While the NFL world will wax poetic about Brady, and rightfully so, I spend today saying good riddance. The NFL might be lesser without Brady in it, but as a Steelers fan I find his retirement to be a day where I sit back and smile knowing Brady can no longer torment my beloved Steelers.