NEW YORK – Legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady announced Tuesday morning on social media that he is leaving the New England Patriots after 20 seasons.
The 42-year-old Brady led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017, 2019), thereby setting the record for championships won by a single player at any position.
He also was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player a record four times during his tenure with that franchise based in Foxborough, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston.
Brady won three NFL Most Valuable Player Awards and played in a total of 41 playoff games and nine Super Bowls with the Patriots.
One of his three losses in the championship game came against the New York Giants in 2008, when New England nearly became only the second team in NFL history (after the 1972-1973 Miami Dolphins) to go undefeated throughout the entire regular season and playoffs.
“To all my teammates, coaches, executives, (Head) Coach Bill (Belichick), (owner Robert Kraft) and the Kraft family and the entire organization. I want to say thank you for the past twenty years of my life and the daily commitment to winning and creating a winning culture built on great values. I am grateful for all you have taught me – I have learned from everyone,” Brady said on Instagram.
“Although my football journey will take place elsewhere, I appreciate everything we have achieved and am grateful for our incredible TEAM accomplishments.”
Brady went on to thank New England’s fans, saying “Pats Nation will always be a part of me. I don’t know what my future holds but it is time for me to open a new stage for my life and career.”
Pundits have speculated over the past few weeks where Brady will suit up next season, given that the quarterback has said he plans to continue playing until age 45 and that he and the Patriots did not agree on a contract extension.
Brady will officially become a free agent on Wednesday, although teams were allowed to start negotiating deals with players on Monday.
Although the Patriots made the playoffs last season, they lost their opening post-season contest to the Tennessee Titans and Brady was at times visibly frustrated with the lack of offensive weapons at his disposal.
It is therefore expected that his new team will be one with both a talented group of receivers and a strong offensive line that can protect him.
Some of the NFL teams mentioned as possible landing spots for Brady have been the Los Angeles Chargers, the newly relocated Las Vegas Raiders, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers, the team he cheered for as a youth in San Mateo, California and which lost in last season’s Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs.
No matter where Brady ends up, he will playing under a head coach other than Belichick for the first time in his NFL career.
Those two men, however, will remain inextricably linked in the minds of NFL fans, having formed arguably the most successful duo in the sport’s history.
Belichick, who has been head coach of the Patriots since 2000, released a statement after Brady’s announcement.
“Tom was not just a player who bought into our program. He was one of its original creators. Tom lived and perpetuated our culture,” Belichick said. “Nothing about the end of Tom’s Patriots career changes how unfathomably spectacular it was. With his relentless competitiveness and longevity, he earned everyone’s adoration and will be celebrated forever. It has been a privilege to coach Tom Brady for 20 years.”