Goodbye to the GOAT
NFL Super Bowl -
THIS WEEK IN TOM BRADY
"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. There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life."
"This is difficult for me to write, but here it goes: I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."
"I have done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions. And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes."
—After a few days of confusion, former New England Patriots/Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady officially announced his retirement via Instagram on Tuesday. After 22 seasons, Brady walked away from the game at age 44 ranking first all-time in wins, starts, completions, attempts, passing yards, passing touchdowns, Pro Bowl selections, postseason appearances, postseason wins, Super Bowl appearances, Super Bowl rings, and Super Bowl MVPs. (Tom Brady via Instagram)
"I am privileged to have drafted and coached Tom Brady, the ultimate competitor and winner. Tom's humble beginning in professional football ultimately ended with him becoming the best player in NFL history. Tom consistently performed at the highest level against competition that always made him the No. 1 player to stop. His pursuit of excellence was inspirational. Tom was professional on and off the field, and carried himself with class, integrity, and kindness. I thank Tom for his relentless pursuit of excellence and positive impact on me and the New England Patriots for 20 years."
—New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick gave Brady his highest honor, usurping Lawrence Taylor as Belichick's greatest player in NFL history. Brady responded in kind by calling Belichick the "greatest coach in NFL history." (New England Patriots via Twitter)
"Words cannot describe the feelings I have for Tom Brady, nor adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots, and our fans have for Tom for all he did during his career. A generation of football fans have grown up knowing only an NFL in which Tom Brady dominated. He retires with nearly every NFL career passing record, yet the only one that ever mattered to him was the team's win-loss record."
"In a team sport like football, it is rare to see an individual have such a dominant impact on a team's success. You don't have to be a Patriots fan to respect and appreciate his competitiveness, determination, and will to win that fueled his success. As a fan of football, it was a privilege to watch. As a Patriots fan, it was a dream come true."
—New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft gushed about everything Brady had brought to New England during his 20 years with the organization. The Patriots had gone 0-2 in Super Bowls prior to drafting Brady; they share a lead for the most Super Bowl victories following his departure. (New England Patriots via Instagram)
"Tom joined us as the greatest football player of all time, and he quickly showed everyone in our organization what that meant. He set a standard and helped create a culture that took our team to the mountaintop. It has been an honor to be his head coach for the past two seasons. I wish it didn't have to end, but few players have the opportunity to leave the game on their own terms. Even fewer can do it while playing at an elite level. Tom is the exception. I have a deep appreciation and respect for what he has done for our franchise, and I wish him and his family nothing but the best in this next chapter of life after football."
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians thanked Brady for the two years they shared in Tampa Bay, where Brady helped Arians earn his first Super Bowl as a head coach. (Buccaneers.com)
"Tommy Boy!!! This football journey with you has been nothing short of special."
"Thank you for your dedication to the game, putting the team in the best possible position to win every year, all the records that were broken, the Super Bowls, the memories, and your friendship through the last 12 years."
"If you commit even just 10% of what you committed to football in whatever you do next, you will be super duper successful. I witnessed greatness for so many years and got to learn from the best to ever do it."
"You're a legend and always will be."
—Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski gave Brady a send-off as only he could. Gronk has only ever played with Brady as his quarterback and previously went on record saying he would only ever play with him. (Rob Gronkowski via Instagram)
"Congratulations to my friend Tom on an unbelievable football career. To do it as long as he did, at the highest of levels, is absolutely incredible. It was an honor and a privilege to compete against him on the field, and I truly appreciate his friendship off the field. I have always admired and respected his competitiveness, his dedication, his discipline, and his commitment to being the best. I wish him the best in his next chapter. Congratulations again, pal!"
—Longtime rival Peyton Manning congratulated Brady on his retirement. Tom and Peyton's rivalry will go down as one of the best in the history of sports. Tom boasted a 9-3 regular-season record over Peyton, but Peyton holds the edge in the playoffs by a margin of 3-2. (Adam Schefter, ESPN via Instagram)
"22 years, seven Super Bowls, multiple MVPs. I mean really, no one did it better than you during your time. It was an honor, a privilege, just to watch you compete, watch you play, and to do it at such a high level for so long. In your 22nd year, you were playing as good as you ever were. I watched you win a Super Bowl when I was in college. I got to watch you win a few when I was in the NFL, and I saw you win one when I was retired. That's a pretty impressive career right there."
"Good luck in retirement, congratulations on an unbelievable career. Appreciate your generosity on at least sharing a few of those Super Bowls with me. All the best, pal."
—Eli Manning also got a congratulations in, sneaking in a quick joke about his two Super Bowl victories over Brady and the Patriots in the process. (Eli Manning via Twitter)
"Much respect Tom. Unbelievable career. Best of luck with your next chapter."
—Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles congratulated Brady, accompanied with a photo of Foles and Brady shaking hands during Media Day before Super Bowl LII. Brady infamously refused to shake Foles' hand after the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. (Nick Foles via Twitter)
"The best QB of all time retired, DANG … he threw his last TD on me"
—Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey, whose team eliminated Brady and the Buccaneers from the playoffs this year, shared that he allowed Brady's last career touchdown, seemingly wearing it with honor. (Jalen Ramsey via Twitter)
"this better be real"
—The New York Jets social media team expertly navigated Brady's retirement, knowing their nightmare that spanned multiple decades was finally over. Brady finished 31-8 lifetime against the Jets. (New York Jets via Twitter)
"Just putting this out there. @Buccaneers, I have never officially retired and did well the last time I stepped in for @TomBrady."
—Former New England Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel seized his opportunity amidst the Brady fanfare. When Brady tore his ACL in 2008, Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record. (Matt Cassel via Twitter)
PAID HIS DUES IN DETROIT
"It's a long time coming, you know? I have spent a lot of years in this game in this league and loved every minute of it. I feel blessed to be able to play in this league for as long as I have. But I sure am happy for this opportunity not only for myself but for the guys in that locker room who deserve this too. And that's what it is, it's an opportunity to go out there and win another one."
—Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has parlayed his first-ever playoff win straight to the Super Bowl. Prior to this year, Stafford had gone 0-3 in the playoffs in 12 years with the Detroit Lions. (ProFootballTalk)
"I told you! I told you! God is good!"
"This was about heart. This was about putting your foot down and saying 'No more.' We came up big, defense came up big. [Cooper Kupp] came up big. We're going. We have gotta finish the job."
"This is everything."
—Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. delivered an all-time postgame speech after winning the NFC Championship Game. (Bleacher Report via Twitter)
TAYLOR-MADE FOR A SUPER BOWL RUN
"You could have given us 100 first-round picks and it wasn't happening."
—Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor knew the Miami Dolphins were trying to trade up for Joe Burrow in the 2019 NFL Draft, but nothing was deterring Taylor and the Bengals from getting their guy. Looks like they made the right call. (Sports Illustrated via Twitter)
"The joke is if you have a cup of coffee with Sean McVay, you're going to be a head coach in the NFL. ... There's a lot of truth to that."
"Working for Sean was the best two years of my life. It was fun, you loved coming into the building. He has really showed a lot of us young guys you can do it your own way."
—Taylor's first-ever Super Bowl appearance as a head coach will come against his former colleague, Sean McVay. Taylor served as McVay's quarterbacks coach for two seasons in L.A. before he was hired by Cincinnati. (NFL.com)
LIVIN' IT UP ON IG LIVE
"We smokin' that KC pack tonight!"
"Two more and I'm getting the f*ck outta there. Two more weeks and I'm getting out of y'all face. Two more weeks with you n***as, I don't f*ck with y'all like that anyways. Nah lemme stop playin'."
—Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase cracked jokes on Instagram Live at Kansas City's (and his teammates') expense while celebrating the Bengals' AFC Championship victory. (Bleacher Report via Instagram)
BLOOD, SWEAT, AND LIGAMENT TEARS
"Now I can say the truth. Every play, I feel it. But we made it through."
"I can't believe this sh*t held up, to be completely honest with you. The thumb, the shoulder … all of it. It was one thing after another. … Every time I threw. It was a lot."
—San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo opened up about the litany of injuries he grappled with throughout the season and, on a larger scale, the majority of his tenure with the 49ers. (Bally Sports)
THE CATCH THAT COULD HAVE BEEN
"No excuses!! I deserve all the criticism my way! Opportunity I dream of[,] I came up short!!! Let my brothers down!! It Still won't define me as a person/player. Only will get stronger and better..."
—San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt posted candidly on Twitter after the NFC Championship Game, venting his frustrations about what could have been a momentous turnover. Tartt dropped a would-be interception with just under 10 minutes left in the game while the 49ers led 17-14. Keeping the drive alive, Los Angeles eventually marched down to kick the game-tying field goal. (Jaquiski Tartt via Twitter)
"I think [Patrick Mahomes] was one half away from going to his third Super Bowl in a row, and that's pretty impressive. You have been around this a long time as a lot of us have, and that's pretty impressive. Most of these teams that are getting this far have good quarterbacks, that's just how it works. We're fortunate to have him. There's nobody looking at Pat Mahomes cross-eyed from our side and I would anticipate our fans feel the same way."
—Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid went to bat for his quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, during his postgame press conference when asked about his thoughts on how he performed this season. (NFL.com)
THIS WEEK IN BOLD COMMENTS FROM NEW HIRES
"We're going to take the North and never give it back."
—Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles called his shot during his introductory press conference, vowing to bring the Bears back to the top of the NFC North. (Adam Hoge, NBCSports Chicago via Twitter)
"Matt LaFleur, I'm gonna make a run at being the sexiest head coach in the NFL against him."
—Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett called his shot on a much more subjective topic. (Matt Schneidman, The Athletic via Twitter)
YOU THINK BIRDS WOULD WANT TO AVOID STONES
"You can call it bad luck. You can say it's a fluke. I get that. I don't feel like we have the luxury to live there. We have to turn over every stone. We have got to look at every possible avenue to do the best we can to make sure this doesn't happen again. That's what we plan on doing."
—Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh noted his team's top priority this offseason is avoiding the injury bug that plagued the Ravens throughout 2021. (ESPN.com)
TAKE ME BACK TO THE BALLGAME
"Sometimes I think about playing both sports again. @Padres, all I need is a workout."
"I promise I will do better than Michael Jordan in baseball."
—Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown wistfully posted about potentially returning to baseball, expressing a desire to be a two-sport athlete in the same vein as Bo Jackson. Brown was selected in the 19th round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft before going to Ole Miss and was named to the Under Armour All-America team in 2015. (A.J. Brown via Twitter)
THIS WEEK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
JB9 😏 pic.twitter.com/Fw9stNB3lB
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) January 31, 2022
—Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow rocked a chain fit for an AFC Champion during his postgame press conference.
"They're definitely real. I make too much money to have fake ones."
—Burrow on whether the diamonds in his pendant were real. (Ben Baby, ESPN via Twitter)
OFF TO A GREAT START!
The Washington "Commanders" name change just got spoiled by a helicopter reporter 😂
— Yahoo Sports NFL (@YahooSportsNFL) February 2, 2022
—The Washington Commanders have existed for just a few days, but they have already had their fair share of follies. After the team kept the name a secret for months, a D.C. helicopter reporter leaked the name change when he spotted the word "Commanders" printed inside the stadium walls.
As if Washington couldn't have botched the name enough-
They literally stole their motto from the AAF's San Antonio Commanders.
Zero originality. #TakeCommand pic.twitter.com/0k2Y2oBGPu
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) February 2, 2022
—The hashtag the Commanders decided to adopt as their slogan had already been adopted by the AAF's San Antonio Commanders.
One weird aspect of this alternate Commanders logo is the fact that the years commemorate when they won the championship games, but not the seasons —e.g. they won the Super Bowl in Jan. 1983, but it was the 1982 season. pic.twitter.com/300CpFbwNQ
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) February 2, 2022
—For some reason, Washington used the actual years they won the Super Bowl in their crest instead of the season they won the Super Bowl in, directly conflicting with the dates listed on the team's website.
12 comments, Last at 07 Feb 2022, 10:08am
#3 by Bob Smith // Feb 04, 2022 - 4:26pm
I like what Andy Reid said about Patrick Mahomes and consecutive S.B.'s.
That really makes what Jim Kelly accomplished look all the more impressive-played good enough to help his team go to 4 consecutive S.B.'s. Now that Brady has retired that might just be 1 of those Records that never gets broken.
When you look at the chances that Aikman, Mahomes, and Brady had but could not accomplish it, just maybe nobody else ever will.
#4 by Bob Smith // Feb 04, 2022 - 4:37pm
What makes it so impressive is this: in those 4 consecutive years-('90-'93) the Bills went 9-4 in the playoffs despite being the worst Defense on the field statistically speaking using OFFICIAL NFL Rankings in 12 of those 13 playoff games-only the Steelers were worse in 1 of the games.
Plus they had to win 1 Conf. Championship game in Miami-('92)-a team that beat them 37-10 in the Reg. Season and their Defense was OFFICIALLY Ranked 27th out of 28 teams in both '91 and '93.
#11 by HitchikersPie // Feb 07, 2022 - 8:08am
From the top:
Bills (Total/O/D/ST): 23.0%/20.6%/-2.3%/0.1%
#12 by Bob Smith // Feb 07, 2022 - 10:08am
Thanks Hitch. Help me understand what I am reading-but-it appears that the Bills were really up against it in all 4 S.B.'s ?? And those are their only losses in that 4 -year run. Am I correct about that ??
The only close numbers for the S.B. game appear to be against the Giants, and that is the game where Kelly had the Bills in position to win, only to have his kicker miss that game winning field goal.
Am I interpreting all of this somewhat correctly ??
#9 by Jetspete // Feb 06, 2022 - 1:17pm
What the bills did in this era was impressive, but a lot of that was a function of the conference. The perennially good teams were all in the nfc (sf wash Dallas, even Philly and NO in this era). Thanks to the division they got home field 3 of 4 years, and their only real competition were the run and shoot oilers, Marty ball chiefs with Steve deberg and the shell of Joe Montana and whatever garbage Elway was playing with in Denver.
it’s debateable they could’ve had six in a row if not for collapses in 88 and 89 costing them home games.
#10 by Bob Smith // Feb 06, 2022 - 3:02pm
I disagree somewhat. They had plenty of competition in their own division. Miami beat them in '90, '92, and '93 in the Reg. Season and like I said before, the Conf. Champ. game in '92 was in Miami. The Dolphins beat the Bills 37-10 in the Reg. Season in '92. The Dolphins had the higher Ranked Defense in every year also.
But when you look at how Marino played in those Reg. Season wins over the Bills where he outplayed Kelly, it was just the opposite in the 3 playoff games-in '90, '92, and '95. Kelly outplayed Marino. But that was a summary of Marino's Career in a nutshell.
Check out what happened in '98. Dan played a very good game (31 pts. and 4 TD 's) and helped his team beat Denver in the Reg. Season, but then a few weeks later he was so bad that the Dolphins only scored 3 points in the playoff game and the Dolphins had the No.1 Defense that year for Least Points Allowed.