UPDATE 2/1: This story was originally published on Jan. 29. On Feb. 1, Tom Brady officially announced his retirement via Instagram.
Did Tom Brady retire? That’s a matter of dispute. But as we stand at a crossroads, it’s time to take stock of how TB12 redefined the business of the NFL — both on and off the field.
Football fans everywhere stared at their phones in disbelief on Saturday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Jeff Darlington reported that, after more than two decades in the NFL, Tom Brady is hanging up his cleats.
In recent years, the 44-year-old dazzled football fans from coast to coast and around the world, making them question the very concept of time as his physical performance seemingly improved long after most of his draft class peers ventured into retirement.
That is, if he’s actually retiring at all.
About two hours after the initial report, Bay Area sports reporter Kylen Mills relayed that TB12’s father, Tom Sr., insists that no such decision has been made as of this time.
Well, that’s more intrigue than any of us had planned for, even with conference championship Sunday in the offing.
But it doesn’t do a thing to change or re-cast the incredible contributions Brady has made to the sport.
Throughout his career, which spanned the blistering cold of Foxborough and the sunshine sweetness of Tampa Bay, Brady repeatedly performed the impossible. From the Snow Bowl (or “The Tuck Rule Game,” if you like) to the epic 28-3 comeback in Super Bowl LI, there was no lack of drama throughout his career, but that intrigue only made Brady a larger-than-life character with Hollywood looks and a lasting chip on his shoulder.
His legacy redefined what’s possible for an underdog and raised the bar for everyone else along the way.
Along the way, he assembled a deep portfolio of business ventures, paving the path for his next chapter and new position as boardroom boss.
Not bad for the 199th pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Tom Brady’s Career Earnings & Salary Breakdown
- Most recent contract: One year, $25 million
- Career on-field earnings: $292,962,392
- Estimated net worth: $250 million
There is no debate anymore that Tom Brady is the greatest ever play the quarterback position. However, to achieve success, Brady notoriously took pay cuts below his true market value throughout his years in Foxborough to help the franchise fund a well-rounded team of champions. Even when he fled south to Tampa Bay and got a substantial pay raise, he only elevated up the ranks to the 15th-highest paid QB in the game.
According to Spotrac, the Patriots and the Buccaneers combined to pay Brady:
- $66.3 million in base salary
- $221 million in assorted bonuses (signing bonus, roster bonus, restructure bonus, etc.)
- Upwards of $6.8 million in incentives
His earnings – in combination with his lengthy list of endorsements and investments – place him as number nine on Forbes’ 2021 list of highest-paid athletes and he also falls inside the top 100 highest-paid celebrities. However, his wealth is eclipsed by his wife, Brazilian supermodel Gisele who brings in a reported $400 million per year.
TB12’s Career Accomplishments
On the field, Brady dazzled fans and frustrated opponents in equal measure. Cool in the face of pressure he leaves a legacy that changed the game forever.
- Seasons: 22
- Draft postion: 200 NFL Draft Round 6, No. 199 overall
- Regular season games: 318
- Postseason games: 47
- Wins: 243 (No. 1 all-time among QBs)
- Completions: 7,263 (No. 1 all-time)
- Passing yards: 84,520 (No. 1 all-time)
- Passing TDs: 624 (No. 1 all-time)
- Rushing yards: 1,373
- Rushing TDs: 27
- QB Rating: 97.6
In combination, those accomplishments led to a lengthy list of accolades positioning him to float into the Hall of Fame like no one perhaps ever has:
- 15 Pro Bowl selections
- 6 All-Pro selections (3 First Team, 3 Second Team)
- 3 NFL MVP awards
- 2 AP Offensive Player of the Year awards
- 7 Super Bowl championships
- 5 Super Bowl MVP awards
- 2009 AP Comeback Player of the Year
- 485 competions in 2021 set single-season NFL record
Whether he leaves the game now, a year from now, or when he’s pushing 60 and having grandchildren, his CV is unmatched — and certainly more impressive than the resume he assembled as a senior at Michigan on the hunt for a corporate job in the chance that his NFL dreams got dashed.
Brady in the Boardroom
Outside the painted lines, Brady assembled a laundry list of endorsements and investments, expanding his legacy outside of football. In recent years, he’s amassed a lengthy portfolio of investments Brady while also building three concurrent brands.
- Key Endorsements: Under Armour, FTX, Molecule Mattresses, Upper Deck, IWC watches
- Notable ventures: BRADY Brand, Autograph, TB12 Sports
Brady is a documented cryptocurrency enthusiast. As part of his partnership with FTX, Brady has gone on record about his appreciation for Bitcoin, even gifting one lucky Tampa Bay fan with a Bitcoin in exchange for the 600th TD ball he tossed to Mike Evans. (Naturally, he’ll retires as the league’s all-time leader in touchdown passes.)
Most recently, TB12 has dedicated much of his time to two major pursuits: the development of his private apparel and fashion label BRADY Brand and the NFT platform Autograph. In the early days of 2022, each company has posted big wins.
BRADY Brand launched in Nordstrom retail locations and online on Jan 12, featuring a slate of 10 athlete ambassadors, including nine college athletes.
For its part, Autograph completed a $170 million Series B co-led by a16z and Kleiner Perkins. Through its first year, the digital collectibles platform has partnered with an all-star list of athletes, including Simone Biles, Derek Jeter, Naomi Osaka, Tony Hawk, and many more. The drops have sold out quickly and become a favorite of crypto collectors — and with the new funding , the company is positioned to continue to expand its content partnership and expand the experiences offered through the platform.
Brady’s career was not without controversy. But even his most staunch critics cannot ignore what the California kid achieved in the NFL.
With his legacy locked whether or not he’s truly calling it quits here and now, the next stop in his NFL journey after Tampa will be the hallowed halls of Canton.