Video screenshot by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper/CNET
We originally published a version of this story exactly one year ago, when Tom Brady retired for the first time, after 22 years in the NFL. Ha! Psyche!a month later.
Now, however, Brady, 45, claims he’s gone for good, after 23 seasons, nine Super Bowls (six victories) and numerous NFL records.
“I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady said on Twitter. “I’m retiring for good. I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first.”
Truly grateful on this day. Thank you 🙏🏻❤️ pic.twitter.com/j2s2sezvSS
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 1, 2023
In addition to all of Brady’s football records, he’s some kind of meme champ. When he did anything odd (that happened a lot), creative followers would turn him into a meme on social media. You can debate whether or not he’s football’s greatest quarterback of all time, but he was definitely the most meme-able.
Naturally, it happened again with his second retirement.
“I don’t believe you,” one Twitter user declared.
— Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) February 1, 2023
Some mocked the very Florida location of his retirement video. “Imagine randomly walking your dog on the beach and Tom Brady is retiring over by the dunes,” one person wrote.
Imagine randomly walking your dog on the beach and Tom Brady is retiring over by the dunes.
— Conor Orr (@ConorOrr) February 1, 2023
The New England Patriots, the team Brady played with for most of his career, recycled their farewell from when he first retired.
The Patriots recycling their Tom Brady tribute is just spectacular pic.twitter.com/lDMNFXmOZV
— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) February 1, 2023
And not everyone is convinced Brady won’t be back. After all, he fooled us all once.
“So far, Tom Brady’s retirements have lasted as long as George Santos’ committee assignments,” cracked one Twitter user.
So far, Tom Brady’s retirements have lasted as long as George Santos’s committee assignments.
— Tim O’Brien (@TimOBrien) February 1, 2023
Tom Brady today: “I’m retiring, this time for good.”
Tom Brady in August, when the 49ers have 0 healthy QBs on their roster: pic.twitter.com/ORE20PvaVW
— NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) February 1, 2023
Of course, some people commented on how Brady’s marriage to model Gisele Bundchen ended after he returned to the league.
Tom Brady coming home to no football and no Gisele pic.twitter.com/w8xZrXWxgi
— Blake Garman (@FrostedBlakes34) February 1, 2023
tom brady exactly one month from now after his plan to get gisele back doesn’t work pic.twitter.com/OelCAwpscK
— kam 🤍 (@KamKizar) February 1, 2023
Gisele when she checks her Ring doorbell and sees Tom Brady walking up to try and get her back: pic.twitter.com/aZuwBZx8wm
— Brandon Anderson (@THBBrandon) February 1, 2023
But let’s look back — not on Brady’s NFL career, but on his meme stardom. My absolute favorite Tom Brady meme was thehe wore to the 2017 AFC Championship game. Meme-makers grabbed the photos and ran them into the end zone, using editing software to inflate the already huge coat even more.
When you mistakenly put the dryer on high heat pic.twitter.com/myoM55EYtv
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) January 23, 2017
I understand playoff tickets are expensive, but Tom Brady is a millionaire, he shouldn’t be sneaking people in under his coat. pic.twitter.com/zeOec8YYVm
— Jason Mustian (@jasonmustian) January 23, 2017
— SB Nation (@SBNation) January 23, 2017
Brady’salso earned him a place in the meme world.
Noting to see her…just litTle avoCado tequila https://t.co/vew2otBw5T
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) February 10, 2021
Tom getting off the boat pic.twitter.com/M4iFNQoMxY
— Radric Davis, J.D. (@PrinceAppiah13) February 10, 2021
Tom after the boat parade. pic.twitter.com/QaXVFPH0Dk
— Jimmie Greens 🦠 (@JimmieGreens) February 10, 2021
Hison the sidelines in December, and the showing Brady making a ton of perfect passes, also gained meme status.
Brady’s first retirement created plenty of memes back in 2022, as with this tweet declaring, “Tom Brady has won 12.7 percent of all Super Bowls in history.”
Tom Brady has won 12.7% of all Super Bowls in history. pic.twitter.com/EaXP9R4neG
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 29, 2022
Football without Brady for the rest of my life? pic.twitter.com/gbsUHGz3HY
— ShayK (@HitmanSK47) January 28, 2022
When ppl ask me how I feel about my boy Tom Brady retiring #TomBrady pic.twitter.com/i8MWT9aONN
— Odell (@Obknylife) January 29, 2022
NFL players that retired way too early pic.twitter.com/1lfRR8KSJ4
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) February 1, 2022
Others imagined what the rest of the NFL was thinking when Brady hung up his cleats (spoiler: relief). One featured a very insincere Squidward tellinghe’d miss him, and “good luck somewhere else!”
NFL teams to Tom Brady after seeing the news that he’s retiring pic.twitter.com/V9MfXMFnzM
— NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) January 29, 2022
The Jets after Tom Brady announced his retirement 😂 pic.twitter.com/Z7tiWGXBkd
— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2022
NFL Teams after Tom Brady announced his retirement:
— “RESPECTFULLY” (@WilliamRichJr) January 29, 2022
The other 31 NFL teams after reports come out saying Tom Brady may not retire pic.twitter.com/VU7114GGO1
— Oz the Cheesemeister 🧀 27-14-4 💛💙 (@CheesemeisterOz) January 29, 2022
Many jokes centered on the sheer length of Brady’s career. Wrote one person, “If only Brady had better longevity… We’ll always wonder how great he could have been.”
If only Brady had better longevity…
We’ll always wonder how great he could have been
— Greg (@tweetsbyGregA) February 1, 2022
I said this in 2002 and I was criticized at the time and the haters will refuse to apologize: the Jackass film franchise will outlast Tom Brady’s NFL career.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) February 1, 2022
Speak for yourselves but I certainly won’t be congratulating Tom Brady for quitting on his team. Despicable.
— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) February 1, 2022
Maybe this is a sign that COVID will be going away soon too 😂 pic.twitter.com/OrWQaFkXXv
— DJ Sapien (@DJ_Sapien) January 29, 2022
Brady to focus full-time on developing word puzzles to sell to media companies
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 1, 2022
There was a bit of a different reaction in places that don’t play American football.
Wrote one person, “You won’t find a single arena that plays his game in the whole World! .. nothing!”
I’m told this is American Football’s greatest player in history? ..but outside of the USA he is completely unknown like the sport itself! You won’t find a single arena that plays his game in the whole World! .. nothing!
— del kenya (@delkenya1) February 1, 2022
Brady beat my teams more times than I’d like to think about, but one thing is for sure: I’ll still kind of miss laughing at that puffy coat.
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