Tom Brady Retires at 45 ‘For Good.’ Here’s a Short Timeline of His NFL Career

Tom Brady Retires at 45 ‘For Good.’ Here’s a Short Timeline of His NFL Career

Tom Brady, one of the greatest NFL players in history, says he’s retiring—exactly one year after making a similar announcement, only to renege and return to the field. This time, though, he says it’s “for good.”

After completing his 23rd season, the 45-year-old quarterback marked the end of his career with a short video on social media—and poked fun at his previous false start on retirement.

“I’m retiring. For good,” Brady said in the clip. “I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first.” He added: “It won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.”

Brady concluded his announcement by thanking his personal and professional supporters.

Brady departs from the NFL as a seven-time Super Bowl winner with records in passing yards and touchdown passes. He made his Super Bowl debut as a second-year quarterback in 2002 and secured six titles for the New England Patriots. His final Super Bowl ring came with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.

On Feb. 1, 2022—after three seasons with the Buccaneers—Brady first announced his retirement, but he reversed the decision six weeks later citing “unfinished business.”

Brady’s final year in the sport saw him as the oldest active player in the NFL but his personal performance was still strong. His team finished the season with an 8-9 record and lost to the Dallas Cowboys in the wild-card round of the playoffs. In October, Brady also announced that he and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, whom he was married to for 13 years, had filed for divorce.

While his athletic career may be over, Brady retires to a number of other projects including a 10-year contract with Fox Sports worth $375 million. He also has a clothing brand called BRADY, a wellness brand called TB12 Sports, and his company 199 Productions.

Brady’s supernatural longevity

With his retirement, Brady leaves the game at 45 and a half years old, more than six years older than the next-oldest NFL starter and the oldest starting quarterback for the seventh season in a row. His consistent greatness and supernatural longevity made him one of the most recognizable figures in the NFL, where he competed for 23 professional seasons even though the average quarterback lasts around four seasons. During that time, he competed in 381 regular season and playoff games, the fourth most in NFL history by any player.

Brady credits his lengthy career to what he calls the “TB12 Method,” which emphasizes a stringent diet and workout regimen with an emphasis on stretching and flexibility. In a game where getting sacked and thrown to the ground is the norm, Brady managed to only miss 15 games due to injury.

But all careers have to end at some point, and Brady finishes as the seventh oldest player in NFL history behind George Blanda (48), Morten Anderson (47), Adam Vinatieri (46), John Carney (46), Bobby Marshall (45) and Gary Anderson (45). All of these players were placekickers except for Marshall, who played defensive end for two seasons in the 1920s. In 2021, Brady surpassed Steve DeBerg (44) as the oldest quarterback to start an NFL game.


Among active players, offensive lineman Jason Peters is now the NFL’s oldest player at 41. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in March, and it’s unclear whether he will continue playing. The next oldest players are punter Andy Lee (41), who said last offseason that he was contemplating retirement, and kicker Robbie Gould (40), who recently said that he is “nowhere near retiring.”

Below, a short timeline of Brady’s NFL career.

April 16, 2000:

Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots with the 199th pick in the sixth round, considered one of the greatest draft steals in history. Most teams were put off by his 5.28-second 40-yard dash, which remains one of the game’s slowest ever recorded. He played college football at the University of Michigan.

Sept. 30, 2001:

Brady’s first NFL start with the New England Patriots. He completed 13 of 23 passes for 168 yards in a 44-13 win over Peyton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts.

Feb. 3, 2002:

Brady’s first Super Bowl title with the New England Patriots. He was named MVP for setting up the game-winning field goal in a 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Aug. 28, 2002:

Brady signs his first extension with the Patriots, worth $29.625 million over four years.

Feb. 1, 2004:

Brady’s second Super Bowl title with the Patriots. He was named MVP after going 32 of 48 for 354 yards and three touchdowns in a 32-29 win over Carolina Panthers.

Feb. 6, 2005:

Brady’s third Super Bowl title, in which he completed 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns for a 110.2 passer rating. The Patriots won 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles.

May 8, 2005:

Brady signs another contract extension with the Patriots. The deal was $60 million over six years, making him one of the highest paid players in the NFL.

Jan. 7, 2006:

Brady sets the NFL record with his 10th consecutive playoff win, during which he completed 15 of 27 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The streak ended a week later with a loss to the Denver Broncos.

Dec. 29, 2007:

Brady sets the NFL single-season passing touchdown record with his 50th score in the regular season finale. The Patriots finished the season with a 16-0 record, becoming the fourth team to go undefeated and the first since 1972.

Jan. 5, 2008:

Brady’s first NFL MVP award after setting career-highs in passing yards (4,806), completion percentage (68.9), and passer rating (117.2).

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Feb. 3, 2008:

Brady loses his first Super Bowl in four appearances to Eli Manning’s New York Giants, widely regarded as one of the biggest upsets in professional sports history. Brady completed 29 of 48 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown in a 17-14 loss, spoiling the Patriots’ undefeated season.

Sept. 8, 2008:

Brady suffers a season-ending knee injury in the season opener, with a torn ACL and MCL.

Feb. 26, 2009:

Brady marries Brazilian fashion model Gisele Bundchen.

Nov. 30, 2009:

Brady becomes the Patriots’ all-time leading passer, surpassing Drew Bledsoe (29,657 yards) with an 11-yard pass to Sam Aiken against the New Orleans Saints.

Sept. 9, 2010:

Brady signs a contract extension to stay with Patriots, worth $72 million over four years.

Feb. 6, 2011:

Brady’s second NFL MVP award. He became the first player unanimously selected after throwing for 3,900 yards with 36 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Feb. 5, 2012:

Brady loses his second Super Bowl in five appearances in a 21-17 loss, once again to Eli Manning’s Giants. Brady became the all-time Super Bowl leader in passing yards.

Feb. 25, 2013:

Brady signs a restructured extension with the Patriots in a deal worth $27 million over three years.

Feb. 1, 2015:

Brady’s fourth Super Bowl title and third Super Bowl MVP. He completed 37 of 50 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns in a stunning 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks, a game that is perhaps best remembered for the last play, in which the Patriots’ defense stopped the Seahawks at the one-yard line with time expiring.

May 11, 2015:

Brady gets handed a four-game suspension for his alleged role in the “Deflategate” scandal, in which the NFL believed the Patriots used an illegal process for lowering the inflation of game footballs at Brady’s request. It is reported he preferred the grip of softer balls. The allegations surfaced after the 2014 AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, which the Patriots won 45-7. Brady repeatedly denied all allegations, and filed a federal lawsuit against the league to overturn his suspension.

July 28, 2015:

Brady’s suspension upheld by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who believed the quarterback was “generally aware” of the scheme.

Sept. 3, 2015:

Brady’s four-game suspension is nullified by a U.S. District Court judge, who said Brady did not receive the proper advance notice to be disciplined by the NFL and information of the kind of penalties he could receive. With his suspension overturned, Brady became eligible to play for the Patriots in Week 1. The NFL appealed the ruling.

Mar. 10, 2016:

Brady signs a two year, $41 million extension with the Patriots.

April 25, 2016:

Brady’s suspension is reinstated by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, who reversed the lower court’s earlier decision, stating that Goodell did not overstep his written authority. He would miss the first four games of the 2016-17 NFL season.

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Oct. 9, 2016:

Brady returns from his four-game suspension, going 28 for 40 with 406 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-13 win against the Cleveland Browns. The Patriots were 3-1 without Brady.

Feb. 5, 2017:

Brady mounts the greatest Super Bowl comeback in NFL history, beating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in an overtime thriller despite trailing 28-3 late in the third quarter. Brady completed 43 of 62 passes for 466 yards, two touchdowns and one interception en route to his fifth Super Bowl title, the most by a quarterback of all-time.

Feb. 3, 2018:

Brady wins his third MVP award at age 40, making him the oldest player to ever take home MVP honors in any of the four major sports. He led the league with 4,577 passing yards and 32 touchdowns.

Feb. 4, 2018:

Brady falls short in his eighth Super Bowl appearance, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles 41-33. He set an NFL postseason record with 505 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Aug. 10, 2018:

Brady signs a two-year, $30 million extension with the Patriots.

Feb. 3, 2019

Brady’s last Super Bowl title with the Patriots, a 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Brady would receive his sixth Super Bowl ring, making him the first player in league history to win the championship more than five times.

March 17, 2020

Brady announces he’s leaving the Patriots two months after they were knocked out of the first round of the playoffs.

March 20, 2020

Brady signs a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just days after he announced his departure from New England.

Feb. 7, 2021

Brady wins his seventh and final Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers. At 43-years-old, he was named Super Bowl MVP for the fifth time in his career, a league record. The Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.

Oct. 3, 2021

Brady wins with the Buccaneers against his former team, the Patriots.

Jan. 23, 2022

Brady and the Buccaneers are knocked out of the playoffs by the Rams.

Feb. 1, 2022

Brady announces his decision to retire from football.

March 13, 2022

Brady takes back his retirement and announces his return to the NFL.

Nov. 6, 2022

Brady became the first NFL player in history to reach 100,000 passing yards.

Nov. 13, 2022

The Buccaneers become the first ever NFL team to win a game in Germany.

Oct. 28, 2022

Brady and spouse Gisele Bündchen announce divorce.

Jan. 16, 2023

The Buccaneers are knocked out of the playoffs by the Cowboys. Brady threw a career-high 66 passes for 351 yards in what would end up being his final career game.

Feb. 1, 2023

Brady announces he will retire “for good.”