GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — One of the main topics in sports right now is “has Tom Brady played his last football game?”
While we wait for a definite answer, we can take a look back at some of the most notable games of his career, and why he is deemed the greatest quarterback of all time.
2003 – Week 9: Patriots 30, Broncos 26 (20-35, 350 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception)
Brady had already begun his legendary 2003 season, but when the Patriots went to Denver for a Monday Night showdown, it started to slow down. The Patriots had missed the playoffs the year before and even with a 6-2 record, they hadn’t noted a defining win yet. But, with the Patriots down 24-23 and their backs against the wall on fourth down with 2:49 remaining, coach Bill Belichick decided on a safety. He decided this because he trusted putting the ball in Brady’s hands with the game on the line. The defense held and when Brady got his chance, he came through. In an environment he didn’t necessarily strive in, Brady needed to drive just far enough for a field goal. Not only did he do that, but he also did better – going 58 yards and hitting David Givens with a perfect pass for the lead and the win within 30 seconds left.
2003 – Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots 32, Panthers, 29 (32-48, 354 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception)
This was possibly the game that defined Brady – in every way. On the big stage, Brady carried his team by setting a then Super Bowl record for completions (he broke that with 43 completions in Super Bowl LI). He kept New England in what eventually became a shootout, throwing a touchdown to Mike Vrabel. However, Jake Delhomme led the Panthers back on top. On the final play, Brady on 3rd-and-3 from the Carolina 40, threw a 17-yard pass to Deion Branch to set up the field goal for Adan Vinatieiri’s field goal. Brady was named Super Bowl MVP.
2007 – Week 7: Patriots 49, Dolphins 28 (21-25, 354 yards, 6 touchdowns)
Brady has come up with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 twice in his career, but the most notable one came against Miami during the Patriots’ perfect regular season in 2007. Brady completed his first 11 passes for 220 yards and four touchdowns, tearing up the Dolphins’ secondary. In the first half alone, he had five passing touchdowns, one of these being a 50-yard bomb to Randy Moss on a third-and-18 play.
2007 – Week 14: Patriots 34, Steelers 13 (32-46, 399 yards, 4 touchdowns)
From the start of the game, Brady had the gas pedal pushed to the floor. He found Moss for a four-yard touchdown pass on the Patriots’ second drive, giving them an early 7-3 lead. On the very next drive, he found Moss again behind the Steeler defense for a 63-yard touchdown. Later in the game, Brady made what was possibly the best throw of his career, completing a flea-flicker resulting in a 56-yard touchdown bomb to Jabar Gaffney. Before the game, Pittsburgh had said they would end New England’s perfect season, and Brady clearly took this to heart giving one of his most dominant performances of the season.
2009 – Week 1: Patriots 25, Bills 24 (39-53, 378 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception)
After tearing his ACL in the 2008 season, Brady and his fans were eager to see if he was the same player he was before the injury. He proved that he was, if not better. The Patriots’ offense had been lethargic all game, facing a 24-13 deficit with 5:32 remaining. What was ahead of them was nothing short of something miraculous. Brady went 9-for-11 with an 81-yard drive, followed by an 18-yard touchdown pass to Ben Watson with 2:06 remaining. After a fumbled kickoff return by the Bills, Brady went back to work, needing only three plays to go 31 yards and finish it off with a 16-yard scoring strike to Watson for the win.
2009 – Week 6: Patriots 59, Titans 0 (29-34, 380 yards, 6 touchdowns, 0 interceptions)
A weird weather pattern came through New England, causing snow and sleet to hit earlier than usual, just in time for Brady and the Patriots to take on the Titans. Even though to some, these conditions seemed awful for sports, Brady disagreed and said it was perfect football weather. He proved his thoughts to be true, throwing the ball better than he did all year. He hit Randy Moss for two deep touchdowns, while also connecting with Wes Welker for another two touchdowns and Kevin Faulk for one. He took care of business quickly, clearing out five touchdown passes before halftime. Brady set numerous NFL records in this game, with his potency in the passing offense.
2011 – Week 1: Patriots 38, Dolphins 24 (32-48, 517 yards, 4 touchdowns)
Brady normally struggled in Miami’s stadium, holding a record of 7-10. Despite this, he has delivered two of his best career games in Miami. On the Monday Night Football opener in 2011, Brady torched the division-rival Dolphins. He threw for his career-best 517 yards, including four touchdowns to three different receivers. The moment that stands out the most came with the Patriots lined up on their own one-yard line. Brady hit Wes Welker down the seams and Welker ran 99 yards to the house.
2014 – AFC Divisional Round: Patriots 35, Ravens 31 (33-50, 367 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception)
This season, the Patriots locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. In their first postseason game that eventually led to their Super Bowl title run, the Patriots found themselves trailing by 14. The Patriots won on the back of Brady, who completed 66% of his passes, converting one rushing score, and only throwing one interception. On top of this, he fired the game-winning 23-yard touchdown to Brandon LaFell with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.
2015 – Super Bowl XLIX: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24 (37-50, 328 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions)
In Super Bowl XLIX, The Patriots took on the Seahawks’ No. 1 ranked defense, named the “Legion of Boom.” Brady delivered an iconic fourth quarter that would lead the Patriots to the win. Facing a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, a comeback seemed unlikely, even for Brady. The Seahawks’ relentless defense had already intercepted him twice earlier in the game. But Brady stunned Seattle in the final quarter, completing 14 of 16 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Brady threw late touchdown passes to Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman to give the Patriots a 28-24 advantage. Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception sealed the deal, and the Patriots gained the Super Bowl title, along with Brady earning Super Bowl MVP honors (who’s shocked?)
2017 – Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34, Falcons 28 (43-62, 466 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception)
In Super Bowl LI, Brady and his crew were facing a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter. Playing into this was Brady throwing a pick-six in the first half. Keeping this in mind, Brady led the Patriots to the greatest comeback to date in Super Bowl history. The 25-point turnover will forever be one of the most unfathomable comebacks to ever occur in sports all around. Brady played tremendously in the second half and in overtime. Brady stayed firm in the pocket, even considering the five sacks he took from Atlanta’s defense, and led his team to another Super Bowl victory. With this win, Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls and was named Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time in his career, also an NFL record.