Tom Brady aged

On Wednesday morning, Tom Brady announced his second retirement, and he kept it straightforward. Adam Schefter was not the recipient of any announcement leaks. There was no thoughtful letter written to the supporters. No mention of wanting to spend more time with his family was made, for reasons that seemed obvious. As most people in the world are aware, Brady and the supermodel Gisele Bündchen divorced last fall, and many fans assumed that Brady’s decision to come out of retirement had something to do with the split. Brady’s initial retirement caused some surprise, despite the fact that he was now 44 years old, the owner of almost all relevant records, and a guy with nothing to prove.

There was no shock this time. There was only a rather sheepish-appearing Brady remarking, “Wouldn’t have changed a thing,” as he stood in front of some blowing beach grass and an unremarkable block of buildings.

On February 1st, 2022, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Jr., ceased working. On February 1st, 2023, he once more resigned. His marriage ended in a very public way, he was named in a tampering probe, and a video of him ranting at his awful offensive line went viral during this time. A video of him furiously smashing an iPad on the sidelines also went viral. Additionally, there are rumors that he broke another one. His squad suffered more defeats than victories.

In the process, he led the Buccaneers to one of the most unlikely fourth-quarter comebacks in N.F.L. history by tossing two touchdown passes in three minutes to defeat the New Orleans Saints, 17-16, in a Monday Night Football game in early December. He passed for 4,694 yards, which is the third-most of any quarterback in the league. With eighty nine thousand two hundred and fourteen throwing yards overall at the end of his career, he may have the most absurd record in sports. Brady, who has made the playoffs in all but one of his seasons as a starter, did so despite his team’s losing record. (2002 stands out as the lone exception. There are current NFL players that were born in 2002 and turned one year old.) With a grin

He passed for 351 yards in his final football game, which he lost 31-14 to the Dallas Cowboys after attempting a mind-boggling 66 passes. In the second quarter, he also threw an interception that was caught by a defender in the back of the end zone on the Cowboys’ five-yard line. At halftime, the Buccaneers were behind 24-0. Dak Prescott, the Cowboys’ quarterback, completed twenty-five of his thirty-three throws on the opposing side of the ball.

After Brady dominated the sport for 20 years, Prescott is and has been a part of a new generation of quarterbacks who are changing the rules of the game. That is how sports operate, or should operate. Brady’s opponents in the Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, are not replicas of the legendary quarterback. (They can run, for starters.) The contest changes. It develops. The process of aging is not shameful.