Tom Brady retires from the NFL: Ranking his record seven career Super Bowl titles – CBSSports.com

While many thought that we may never see the day, Tom Brady’s time in the NFL has come to an end. The legendary quarterback officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday after a 22-year career that is unmatched in the game’s history. Brady fades off into the sunset holding every meaningful record, which includes seven Super Bowl titles. Not only does Brady have more Super Bowls than any other player in league history, but that seventh title he won with the Buccaneers during the 2020 season also surpasses the Pittsburgh Steelers and his former New England Patriots for the most Super Bowls won by any FRANCHISE. As we put the final notes in of what was a once-in-a-generation type of career, it is worth wondering where all of these championships stacks up against the rest. With his playing days in the books, now seems like as good of a time as ever to collect up all seven of TB12’s rings and rank them on importance. 7. Super Bowl XXXVIIIDate: February 1, 2004Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 32, Panthers 29Tom Brady’s stats: 32-of-48 passing, 354 yards, three touchdowns, one interception Even as Super Bowl XXXVIII stands at the bottom of this list, it was an extremely important title for Brady and the Patriots. This showed the rest of the NFL that they were not just a one-off club that caught lightning in a bottle two years prior en route to that Super Bowl XXXVI championship. New England rebounded nicely from a disappointing 2002 campaign where it went 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs as defending champs and were able to get right back in the Super Bowl to defeat the Panthers. Similar to Super Bowl XXXVI, Brady again flashed his generational clutch gene by leading New England down the field with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter to set up a championship-winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri. Brady’s 32 completions in that game were the most in Super Bowl history and his 48 pass attempts were the most by a winning quarterback (both records he has since broken). 6. Super Bowl LIIIDate: February 3, 2019Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 13, Rams 3Tom Brady’s stats: 21-of-35 passing, 262 yards, one interception Brady’s last Super Bowl title with the Patriots was an embarrassment of riches, really. By this point, he had already established himself as the greatest ever and was simply running up the score by giving New England its third title in five years. This was also Brady and the Patriots franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title, which moved them in a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most all-time by one team.  This Super Bowl moved Brady ahead of Pro Football Hall of Famer Charles Haley for the most Super Bowl titles won by a single player in NFL history. With that win over the Rams, Brady had now officially gone where no other player had before, which, again, only adds to his growing mythical status. It wasn’t the flashiest performance by Brady — only Super Bowl where he didn’t throw for a touchdown — but where this continued to elevate him in NFL history is why he gets the edge above his second championship. 5. Super Bowl XXXIXDate: February 6, 2005Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 24, Eagles 21Tom Brady’s stats: 23-of-33 passing, 236 yards, two touchdowns The dynasty was officially born. Brady and the Patriots were able to win their third Super Bowl title in four years by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. New England became the first team to accomplish that feat since the Dallas Cowboys in 1992-95. Brady completed 23 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the win and posted the second-highest passer rating (110.2) of his career in a Super Bowl in which he won. This title not only proved that New England was a historical powerhouse on par with previous runs made by the 49ers, Cowboys, and Steelers, but began elevating Brady to all-time status. By age 27, he already had three Super Bowl rings and essentially had a Hall of Fame career already locked up. 4. Super Bowl XXXVIDate: February 3, 2002Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 20, Rams 17Tom Brady’s stats: 16-of-27 passing, 145 yards, one touchdownI almost feel like this is too low but it was hard to make a strong case to drive this one any higher. On sentimental value, you can make a great argument that the 20-17 victory over the Rams is right at the top. In terms of importance, it’s massive, but for Brady’s legacy, it was merely the starting point to the greatest career we’ve ever seen. He had already established himself as the starter over Drew Bledsoe going forward just by getting New England into the Super Bowl, and winning it was the Lombardi-sized cherry on top.  That said, this was — as John Madden famously noted — a goosebump-inducing performance by a 24-year-old Brady, who came in under duress after Bledsoe suffered a nasty injury in the early portions of the regular season. The sixth-rounder from the year prior took that opportunity and ran with it all the way to Super Bowl XXXVI. While Brady didn’t light up the stat sheet — 145 yards passing and one touchdown — he gave us a good glimpse of the career that was to come on that final drive. With the score knotted at 17, Brady and the offense got the ball back at their own 17-yard line with no timeouts. The young quarterback was able to surgically march down the field to the Rams’ 31-yard line before spiking the ball to stop the clock and allow Vinatieri to boot the 48-yard Super Bowl winner. This was the first Super Bowl title in Patriots history and helped put Brady on the fast track to superstardom. 3. Super Bowl LIDate: February 5, 2017Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 34, Falcons 28Tom Brady’s stats: 43-of-62 passing, 466 yards, two touchdowns, one interception 28-3. That is how much Brady and the Patriots trailed the Atlanta Falcons by in the third quarter of Super Bowl LI. At that time, it was looked at as an insurmountable lead and New England was going to fall short of a fifth title. However, Brady and the Patriots were able to stun the entire sports world by overcoming that 25-point deficit, force overtime, and quickly drive down the field to snatch the Lombardi Trophy out of Atlanta’s hands. This performance put Brady in superhuman status. No lead would ever look too arduous again and Brady officially solidified himself as the greatest quarterback of all time. By overcoming this lead and beating the Falcons, Brady earned his fifth Super Bowl title, which now gave him one more than 49ers legend Joe Montana. The fact that he did it in such a dramatic fashion only helped push him over the top against his boyhood idol as the NFL’s new GOAT. 2. Super Bowl LV Date: February 7, 2021Team: Tampa Bay BuccaneersScore: Buccaneers 31, Chiefs 9Tom Brady’s stats: 21-of-29 passing, 201 yards, three touchdowns Yes, we’re extremely accustomed to seeing his face in the winner’s circle at the end of Super Bowls, but his final Lombardi run was truly remarkable for his legacy. On the way to Super Bowl LV, Brady was able to defeat all-time quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, who also won the MVP this season. When he got to the big game, the quarterback that many folks think can eventually overtake Brady as “The GOAT” in Patrick Mahomes was waiting for him along with the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs. Piece of cake. Brady completed 21 of 29 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns while also recording the highest passer rating of his Super Bowl career (125.8). That win over Mahomes to keep him at one Super Bowl title, compared to Brady’s seven, essentially slams the door shut on any chance the Chiefs quarterback has of becoming the greatest player in league history, especially thanks to the head-to-head victory in Super Bowl LV. Of course, there’s also the post-Patriots element to this. In his first season with the Bucs, Brady proved that he can still win Super Bowls outside of New England’s dynasty and apart from Belichick. What Brady proved with this win is that he was not a product of the NFL’s greatest dynasty. He was and remains to be the system. A reminder … Brady accomplished this at age 43. 1. Super Bowl XLIX Date: February 1, 2015Team: New England PatriotsScore: Patriots 29, Seahawks 24Tom Brady’s stats: 27-of-50 passing, 328 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptionsIn my eyes, this is not only the greatest Super Bowl of all time but the most important Super Bowl to Brady’s legacy. After winning three in four years at the start of his career, Brady went on a decade-long title drought. He was able to put up prolific stats, win league MVPs, go undefeated during a regular season, and even reach two Super Bowls, but Brady was never to get over that hurdle. When he and the Patriots reached Super Bowl XLIX, the stakes couldn’t have been any higher from a legacy standpoint. Entering this game, Brady was 3-2 in Super Bowls, and had he fell to .500, it’d be next to impossible for him to chase down Montana as “The GOAT.” While it seems silly to think about now given where this game springboarded them, it also could have sped up the end to his tenure in New England with the club drafting Jimmy Garoppolo the offseason prior and Belichick famously noting Brady’s age and contract situation. Another Super Bowl loss may have opened the door for the Patriots to take a hard look at where they are.  With all that on the line, Brady was masterful, particularly in the second half. He was able to overcome a 10-point deficit against the Seahawks and their “Legion of Boom” defense. In the fourth quarter, Brady completed 13 of 15 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns, which I would argue was the absolute peak of his career. Of course, we all remember this game as the Malcolm Butler interception, but Brady’s performance here was TB12 at his absolute best and this championship was massive from a legacy standpoint. It gave him his first title in a decade, tied him with Montana and helped spark this second run of championships for New England. It’s simply the best of the best.

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