Remember a year ago when Tom Brady announced his retirement through a series of confidential conversations that were leaked to the great insiders of the NFL world, who then promptly leaked them to Twitter?
Steelers fans immediately got defensive because they thought Brady was just doing it to steal the spotlight away from Ben Roethlisberger and his official retirement right after the 2021 season. This also meant that both Brady (most likely a first-ballot Hall of Famer) and Roethlisberger (perhaps a first or second-ballot Hall of Famer) would probably be enshrined in Canton at the exact same time.
And, of course, it meant that Brady would again steal the spotlight from Big Ben six years down the road.
First of all, didn’t Brady steal the spotlight away from Roethlisberger enough times when the two faced one another in live combat during their respective careers? Second of all, did you feel that Peyton Manning (Class of 2022) stole the spotlight away from Troy Polamalu (Class of 2020) when COVID forced the two to be enshrined at the same time in the summer of 2021? What about Alan Faneca? Donnie Shell? Bill Cowher? Bill Nunn?
Third of all, who would you put your money on to take over Canton, Ohio, in the hypothetical scenario where both Roethlisberger and Brady find themselves in the same Hall of Came class: Steelers fans or Patriots fans?
I know who I’d put my money on.
Anyway, it remains to be seen if Roethlisberger will ever be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but if he is, he won’t have to share the spotlight with Brady.
Soon after word got out that Brady was retiring last year, he quickly unretired. According to various reports that have never been substantiated, Brady did this as a retaliation to the word getting out before he could have his tearful press conference.
If true, what a way to get revenge. “No, I’m not going to retire. Instead, I’m going to earn another $20 million and again put the fear of God in America—including every defensive back—at the age of 45.”
Brady played another year with the Buccaneers in 2022 (his third season in TOMpa Bay) but didn’t produce a second ring with them (which would have been the eighth one of his storied career). Instead, Brady got divorced, led an 8-9 team to a division title, and then lost in pretty blah fashion on Wild Card Weekend.
On Wednesday, it was reported (maybe even by Brady, himself) that Brady was officially, OFFICIALLY FOR REALS retiring from the NFL after how many seasons? It’s been so many that I don’t even feel like going back and doing the math.
I do know that the show, Friends, was still on television when Brady first entered the league and wouldn’t go off the air for another few years.
As a Steelers fan, I feel like one of those oppressed citizens who was living under the rule of a ruthless dictator for years. Sure, he got exiled a long time ago, and you really didn’t have much to worry about, but you still celebrate wildly when he’s finally caught and brought to justice.
But is Tom Brady really retired this time, like for keeps?
I was looking forward to an entire offseason filled with rumors of Brady possibly going to the Jets, Raiders or Dolphins—and for way too much money.
I wanted Steelers fans to respond to polls such as: “Would you be in favor of Kenny Pickett sitting and learning behind Tom Brady for one season?”
This is just a guess, but I think that poll would have been split right down the middle.
I’m still holding out hope that Brady comes back for a 46th year of life. Why? I don’t know. I just think it would be funny to witness the inevitability of Brady not being able to throw a pass more than 10 yards...while still possessing the cajones to scream “Let’s bleeping go!” at his teammates.
If this is it, well, thanks for the nightmares, Tom.
No player ever tortured an entire league the way you did for over two decades.
The fact that you were still torturing big, bruting football players while well into your 40s (an age where most men can’t even hang with twentysomethings on dating apps and in the clubs) is a testament to your greatness.
I still want you to come back for one more year so the Steelers can finally beat you in the playoffs (even as a geriatric).
I’ll never get over it, Tom.