The New England Patriots retired the number of the franchise’s greatest ever player at halftime of their Week 1 contest against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tom Brady’s number 12 jersey will never be worn again by the team from Foxborough after he called it a career this past February.
Brady ended his 23-year NFL career in an emotional video, where he said that he was ‘retiring for good’.
Before the game kicked off, Brady stepped out of a lighthouse atop the newly renovated Gillette Stadium and rang a recently installed bell.
After watching his number hanging from the scoreboard, Brady offered words to the New England faithful.
Tom Brady had his number officially retired by the New England Patriots on Sunday
Before the game began, Brady rang a bell atop a newly built lighthouse at Gillette Stadium
Just before the ceremony, Brady ran down the field and fist-pumped like he did many games before at Gillette Stadium with the team he played on for 20 of his 23 NFL seasons
Before the induction took place, Brady walked onto the field and took his jacket off – revealing his jersey underneath. He then ran down the sideline to Jay-Z’s ‘Public Service Announcement’ – as he did many times at Gillette – before fist pumping and screaming ‘Lets f***ing go’.
As part of the ceremony, team owner Robert Kraft announced he was waiving the waiting period requirement for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame – and revealed that Brady would be inducted on June 12, 2024 (or 6/12/24, six for the number of titles he won and 12 for the number he wore).
‘All our lives take us on different journeys, they take us to different places, they bring different people into our lives,’ Brady said in a speech.
‘But one thing I am sure of and that will never change: and that’s that I am a Patriot for life.’
After the ceremony, Brady spoke to CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson and spoke about watching opening day from the stands.
‘Its not as fun as playing,’ he said. ‘I’m so happy to put that part of my life to bed and move on to other things.’
He also told Wolfson, ‘I had 20 amazing years here, then had three really fun years in Tampa – gained a lot of perspective. There’s no better place for me to be on opening day in the NFL than to be here with these fans… I’m very blessed.
‘I wanna thank all my fans that aren’t here, but all the ones in New England that supported us and I’m so grateful for their support and the love they’ve given me.’
Brady thanked his fans at Gillette and throughout New England saying he’s a ‘Patriot for life’
Brady told CBS, ‘There’s no better place for me to be on opening day in the NFL than to be here with these fans’
Team owner Robert Kraft (R) said Brady (L) would be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame next summer – waiving a previous requirement to be retired for a certain amount of time
Brady – along with head coach Bill Belichick – helped lead the NFL’s greatest ever dynasty
Brady won six titles with New England, with the last coming against the Rams in Super Bowl LIII
Brady holds a number of NFL records – including the most passing touchdowns, pass completions, passing yards and wins for a quarterback, among many others.
He’s been named MVP of the league three times and the MVP of the Super Bowl five times – the most of any player.
Brady’s also the greatest playoff quarterback in the sport – with the record for most games started, games won, passing touchdowns, passing yards (in both a playoffs and in a single game).
Of course, the most notable among his accolades would be seven Super Bowl titles, the most of any player. Six of those titles came in New England.
It was in the little town of Foxborough, Massachusetts that Brady – along with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick – helped to helm the greatest dynasty in the history of the National Football League, if not all of professional sports.
Across 20 seasons in New England, Brady took the Patriots to the AFC Championship game thirteen times and the Super Bowl nine times.
Brady entered the league after four years with the University of Michigan where he helped the Wolverines win the 1997 national championship.
He was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft with the 199th overall pick – earning the reputation as the greatest steal in the history of the draft.
In college, Brady helped win the Michigan Wolverines the 1998 national championship
In his first season as a starter under Belichick, Brady helped take the Patriots to a title
In an upset over the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ St. Louis Rams, Brady won Super Bowl XXXVI
Brady began his career with the Patriots on the bench, seeing little action in his first season in the league behind starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
In the 2001 season, Brady stepped into the starting role after Bledsoe went down with a serious injury against the New York Jets.
Brady rode his hot hand all the way to Super Bowl XXXVI, leading the underdog Patriots to a win over the St. Louis Rams to capture the first title in franchise history and the first title for Boston sports since 1986.
Brady and the Patriots regressed in 2002, before coming back and winning Super Bowl XXXVIII over the Carolina Panthers.
The Patriots returned the following year and won Super Bowl XXXIX over the Philadelphia Eagles. To date, they’re the most recent NFL team to win consecutive titles.
Brady then suffered his first ever Super Bowl heartbreak just three seasons later when an undefeated Patriots team fell to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. They’d fall to them again five years later in Super Bowl XLVI.
The two seasons after that second loss to the Giants proved to be tough for the Patriots – with the team reaching two AFC Championship games, but losing both.
Brady won back-to-back Super Bowl titles with New England – the most recent team to do so
Brady suffered Super Bowl defeat for the first time at the hands of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII back in 2008. He would lose to New York again in Super Bowl XLVI.
It wasn’t until later in his career with New England that Brady would return to the top of the sport – when the Patriots played in two of the greatest Super Bowls in history.
In Super Bowl XLIX, Brady had an amazing game – putting up four touchdowns as a late Malcom Butler interception stole a win from the Seattle Seahawks.
Then, just two seasons later – after a season where Brady served a four game suspension for allegedly tampering with the air pressure in footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship game – came arguably his greatest achievement.
After falling behind in Super Bowl LI to the Atlanta Falcons by a 28-3 scoreline, Brady took over the game – passing for multiple touchdowns and bringing the team to overtime.
There, he completed the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history – winning 34-28 and earning his fifth title.
The Patriots went back to the Super Bowl the following season and despite Brady putting up the most passing yards in the game’s history, they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Brady’s last title with New England came in the lackluster Super Bowl LIII, where the Patriots defeated the Rams – making the Patriots tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers as the teams with the most Super Bowl titles.
Brady was back on top once again with a win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX
Arguably Brady’s greatest achievement was the comeback he led to win Super Bowl LI
He won his final title with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII over the LA Rams
After falling in the playoffs in the 2019 season, Brady announced he would leave the Patriots in free agency – pursuing a new challenge with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In his first season with Tampa Bay, Brady took the Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV – winning over the Kansas City Chiefs to further extend his record of the most Super Bowls won by a single player.
Brady announced his retirement for the first time after the end of the 2021 season, when his team fell in the NFC Divisional round. Just weeks later, he reversed his decision – returning to Tampa Bay.
It was a possibly ill-advised decision as Brady put up one of the worst statistical seasons of his career.
Brady’s final game came in the form of a blowout loss in the NFC Wild Card playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys, where he walked out of Raymond James Stadium as a player for the last time.
Brady walked off the field one final time in the NFC Wild Card game after losing to Dallas
Brady was emotional in his video to the fans but joked that ‘You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year’
It was just a few weeks after that defeat that Brady posted a video announcing his decision to step away from the sport.
‘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
‘It won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year, so… really, thank you guys so much to every single one of you for supporting me.
‘My family, my friends, my teammates, my competitors. I could go over forever, there’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.’