The day is actually here. This was bound to happen eventually, but I don’t think anyone really believed it. Everytime you thought it was over, the guy just kept coming back. It was his specialty. Now though, the ride is really over. Tom Brady has officially announced his retirement from the NFL.
Just writing that out now just feels weird. Feels like it shouldn’t be real, that against all odds he’ll suit up again. It came straight from the man himself though, so unlike this past weekend’s “announcement,” we know this to be true.
When I had seen the news pop up on my phone, I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to think at first. If you know me or have followed me at all, you know that I took Brady leaving for Tampa very hard. It felt like it was a stab in the back, leaving us to die with Cam Newton while he took Gronk to Tampa to win championships.
I felt betrayed, so my feelings towards Brady have been those of anger the past two years. Everytime I saw him in those Bucs uniforms it stung. It was like seeing your longtime girlfriend leave you for someone else. I even rooted against Brady in the Super Bowl last year, just because I wanted him to only have rings bearing Pat Patriot’s resemblance.
However, when the news of his retirement broke, those feelings of anger and frustration instantly faded. It was as if I forgot the last two years had even occurred. All I could think about were the good times, the memories.
WARNING: This is about to get real emotional real fast.
For me, and I’m sure for most New Englanders around my age group, this man was our everything. Tom Brady was a staple of my childhood and my early adulthood. From a young kid to a grown man, I watched and rooted for Tom Brady on a weekly basis. I’ve spent more hours watching this man throw a football than I have spent with some family and friends. You may think that’s sad but it’s the cold hard truth.
Out of all my sports heroes, David Ortiz, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Zdeno Chara, Dustin Pedroia, only one stood above the rest. That was Tom. I dressed as Tom Brady for Halloween too many times to count. The amount of memorabilia, from jerseys to posters, that I have owned from Brady is outrageous. He was quite simply my hero.
People who aren’t huge sports fan may be reading this and wondering how someone could be so passionate about something like football or care so much about someone like I for Tom Brady. That’s the beauty of sports. It’s about community, that connection we build with fellow fans and feeling apart of something bigger than ourselves. That too transfers over to the athletes themselves. We spend so many hours watching them, we feel like we know them. In the case of Tom Brady, he felt like family.
It may not make sense to many, but I can’t truly put into words the impact Tom Brady has had on my life. The memories that I have watching him play football will stay with me forever. I’ll tell my kids, grandkids, and maybe one day even great-grandkids how I got to watch the GOAT for 20 years. How I got to grow up with him, watch him from a young prospect all the way to the best to ever do it.
I am blessed to have been able to grow up a New England Patriots fan. To be able to go through my whole life having Tom to root for was a feeling I’ll never forget, nor would I ever trade it for anything. Tom Brady has given me enough memories to last a lifetime. All the championships, all the crazy moments.
I could go on for days, and this will definitely not be the only blog I write regarding Brady’s retirement. I’ll end it with this. Thank you for all that you sacrificed for 20 years in New England. The hardwork, the dedication to the game and perfecting your craft. You gave an entire generation of New Englanders the attitude of striving to be the best and never letting others determine who you can become.
Thank you for providing thousands of hours of entertainment. I wouldn’t trade any of those football Sundays back. Thank you for helping introduce me to so many of my friends, even if you didn’t intentionally do it. The amount of friends and colleagues I’ve gained through the topic of Patriots football is astounding. The amount of friendships that were forged and strengthened from cheering you on is bountiful.
Thank you for helping me fall in love with sports. Sports are my passion, and a big reason for that is you. Thank you for the ride of a lifetime. Being a Patriots fan was the most thrilling thing I could have ever asked to be a part of. Those wins against Seattle and Atlanta in particular were two of the greatest moments of my life. The pure joy and ecstasy experienced in those moments will be very difficult, maybe even impossible to top.
Thank you for everything. Football just won’t be the same without you. No matter how much time passes, I’ll never forget the run we had. It was the honor of a lifetime getting to watch you play, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Thank you Tom.
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
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