After 20 years as the face of the New England Patriots, and as a quarterback that will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the greatest to step onto the field, you’re moving on from the Patriots. Shock and awe is resonating within us, but in an effort to look for the positive side of things, let’s take a look at the two decades you’ve given us.
First and foremost, before the statistics and records of your football career are in the mix, look at Patriots Nation. From a quick poll, No. 12 brought families together to watch a game and bond over the sincerity of a QB we could count on. The endless touchdowns, the wins, the graceful losses, and the fanfare that surrounds the face of the Patriots is enough for any fan to appreciate the touchstone that you are with New England. You are synonymous with the Patriots and always will be. Outstanding character, a true family man, and a leader of a team that beat odds in the early years to become the front runner in the NFL has sat upon your shoulders. As a fanbase, we thank you.
In 2001 during the second game of the season, then quarterback Drew Bledsoe was hit in the chest by linebacker Mo Lewis. A life-threatening injury sent the backup quarterback, Tom Brady into the starting position, and lead the team to the playoffs. They say the rest is history; in this case it’s true, but there’s so much more than saving the day in 2001.
The awards, the numerous times voted MVP, and the accolades have all come from the ability to make quick plays, thinking steps ahead of where the game currently sat, and being prepared for what would be coming at you. In a career that spans almost 10,000 passing attempts (9,988), 6,377 completions, and 74,571 passing yards, for you, Tom, it was never enough. Always striving to stay healthy, be the best, and lead the team towards glory. Man, you hold over 50 records, including career wins as a starting quarterback, oldest quarterback to play in so many games… the list truly is never ending.
The Snow Bowl. The six rings and countless come from behind wins. Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks where some of the best football to grace the NFL as played in one of the largest upsets in history. And we can’t go without mentioning your infamous comeback against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, which in our eyes is the best comeback in NFL history. Those are just some of the many pivotal playoff moments you rose to the occasion for.
The bravado to tell the franchise that when drafted, they had made a great decision. Playing through injuries. Running successful QB sneaks right up the middle for a touchdown. Gratitude to the fans who came to every parade, and every fan that bears a Brady jersey. Camaraderie with the players you referred to as brothers. Chugging beer on late night TV and beating Stephen Colbert by draining the glass in a gulp. Showing the world a family man who loves his wife, loves his kids, and puts everyone before himself. A true leader who gave his heart and soul to the Patriots of 20 years.
In your Instagram post announcing your departure, a well written post signed off with, “I love you, Pats Nation.” We love you too, Tom. We’ll miss the GOAT, Touchdown Tommy, and the many other monikers you’ve earned along the way. I’m willing to bet though, the next time you set foot in Gillette Stadium, the roar of exuberance will be so loud, full of such excitement, it’ll be another phenomenal moment in an incredible life.
Thanks for the memories Tom. Foxboro won’t be the same without you.
— Patriots Nation