Retiring Quarterbacks: More NFL Greats Step Away From The Sport

Retiring Quarterbacks: More NFL Greats Step Away From The Sport

Feb. 1, 2022 will long be remembered as the day when one of the greatest champions in professional sports hung up his cleats.

Every career in the NFL has its own unique story, but quarterback Tom Brady’s is one we’ll be telling for generations to come. The 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft defied all odds and accumulated seven Super Bowl titles and three MVP awards over the span of his 22-year career.

Widely considered as the best to ever do it, Brady often invoked love from his fans and scorn from those who were forced to watch him hoist Lombardi trophies over their favorite teams.

While seeing the curtains close on an astounding career like his may bode a difficult farewell, we have to recognize just how privileged we were to watch him take the field for the past two decades.

The 44-year-old, however, was not the only surefire Hall of Famer to call it a career after the 2021 season. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger played his final snaps for the Steel City in this year’s wild card round of the playoffs, stepping away from the game of football with two Super Bowl rings of his own.

Roethlisberger’s 18 years in the NFL were electric to watch, and, as Roethlisberger himself said on Twitter, “defined by relationships and fueled by a spirit of competition.”

It certainly was the “spirit of competition” that made these two all-time greats so fun to watch.

In fact, Brady blamed his competitive drive as his reasoning for stepping away from the game.

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“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition — if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game,” Brady posted on Twitter.

While both Brady and Roethlisberger’s retirements are still fresh on the headlines, it’s difficult to overlook the number of storied careers at quarterback that have concluded in recent years. Beloved faces of the game leaving the NFL make it apparent that we’re stepping into the end of a classic era at quarterback.

2021 marks when Drew Brees and Philip Rivers put their legendary careers to rest. Just one year prior, Eli Manning moved on to join his older brother Peyton in retirement. And now, uncertainty surrounds yet another legend of the league in Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers collected his fourth MVP trophy (second in a row) at this year’s NFL Honors ceremony, becoming only the fifth player in league history to earn consecutive MVP titles, joining giants Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Brett Farve and Peyton Manning.

Despite the recent recognition, however, the 38-year-old is currently contemplating all options for his future with retirement being one of them.

While Rodgers has not officially made his intentions known for the 2022 season, one thing is certain — the faces of professional football are rapidly changing.

Classic matchups such as “Brady vs. Manning” have found revival in “Allen vs. Mahomes.”

And if you happened to tune in to the latest showdown between Buffalo and Kansas City, you can attest that the next generation of football is in good hands.

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So, as all-time greats take their bows and ride off into the sunset, we can both reminisce on the great era of football they gave us and look ahead to the greatness that awaits.

Corey is a sports reporter. Follow her on Twitter