With Tom Brady announcing his retirement from pro football “for good” on Wednesday morning, the NFL community is paying tribute to his unprecedented accomplishments.
Among those honoring the most accomplished player in NFL history were two of his long-time companions, Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick. The owner and head coach of the New England Patriots, respectively, Kraft and Belichick spent 20 years alongside Brady and led the organization to six Super Bowl wins along the way.
“I am so proud of Tommy,” said Kraft’s statement. “He has accomplished everything there is to achieve in this game, and so much more. No player in NFL history has done it as well for as long as Tom Brady. He is the fiercest competitor I have ever known and the ultimate champion. He led the Patriots to two decades of unprecedented dominance. He is truly the greatest of all time.
“Words cannot adequately express the gratitude my family, the New England Patriots and our fans have for everything he has done. It’s been a blessing for me to watch him grow, first as a young professional on the field, but most importantly, as a person off it. He is one of the most loving, caring and passionate players I have ever known and I will always consider him a part of our family.”
Buying the Patriots in 1994, Kraft started his tenure with a 62-59 record. Brady being elevated to the starting spot early in 2001, however, changed the organization’s fortunes: over the next two decades, the team established itself as the NFL’s most successful franchise — winning 17 division titles and those six Super Bowls.
As for Brady and Belichick, they spent 326 games together, including a record 41 playoff contests. Their 219 victories alongside one another are the most by any head coach/quarterback duo in the history of the NFL.
“Tom Brady was the ultimate winner,” Belichick’s statement read. “He entered the NFL with little to no fanfare and leaves as the most successful player in league history. His relentless pursuit of excellence drove him on a daily basis. His work ethic and desire to win were both motivational and inspirational to teammates and coaches alike. Tom was a true professional who carried himself with class and integrity throughout his career.
“I thank Tom for the positive impact he had on me and on the Patriots and congratulate him on his amazing career.”