The combination of Tom Brady’s championship pedigree (seven Super Bowl titles) and longevity (22 seasons) will leave behind a legacy few can ever hope to match.
That’s not even accounting for the fact that he is retiring — he made his announcement Tuesday — after leading the NFL in passing yards and touchdowns at 44 years old, going out as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL long after most would even still be playing.
Along the way, he also captured just about every (good) major record tied to throwing a football for a living as well as redefining standards for postseason success.
Assuming the NFL keeps its 17-game format going forward, some of those records might become more vulnerable to the likes of Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, in particular, if he continues on his current trajectory for about 18 more seasons.
But no matter what ends up happening in the future, Brady’s accomplishments are truly unparalleled at this moment as he reportedly hangs up his cleats for good. Here are five stats that may never be touched.
35 postseason wins and 7 Super Bowl titles
Comparing Brady to other quarterbacks probably isn’t fair. He has more than twice as many postseason wins as Joe Montana (16), who’s second on the all-time list.
Brady by himself has won more playoff games as a starting quarterback than 28 of the NFL’s 32 franchises. (His 35 wins tie him with the Dallas Cowboys.)
Even crazier: His playoff winning percentage of 74.5 percent would place him first among all current NFL teams. Only three quarterbacks with higher winning percentages in the playoffs (Bart Starr, Jim Plunkett, and Mahomes) have started at least 10 games. (They all have 10 starts.)
Consider this: Brady played in three or more postseason games 11 times in his career, with his 2021 championship with the Buccaneers marking the first time he played in four.
Mahomes, who has eight playoff wins, will at the very least threaten the total wins record, if not break it, if he has a lengthy career. But it wouldn’t be surprising if he had to play until age 44 to do it.
The Super Bowls, though? That’s going to be tough.
Funny story about that: Brady has more Super Bowl wins (seven) than every NFL franchise thanks to his lone win with the Buccaneers and more title game appearances than all teams except the Patriots (11).
97,569 total passing yards
Brady took over the top spot on the regular-season passing yards list during his win over the Patriots in Week 4. He retires with 84,520 yards in the regular season.
Tack on his 13,049 postseason yards, and he has Drew Brees’s 85,724 yards — the second-highest — beat by a long shot.
The wildest part of that stat: Brady has nearly double the amount of postseason passing yards Peyton Manning put up (7,339) in his Hall-of-Fame career.
Adding an extra game to the schedule will certainly put the regular-season record in some jeopardy down the line from a player like Mahomes or the Chargers’ Justin Herbert. But unless the NFL tacks an extra postseason game onto the slate, that playoff passing mark is going to be hard to catch.
22,938 yards after age 40
Brady would be one of the top 100 passers of all time if you only counted his statistics from 2017 (his age-40 season) and on. Those 22,938 yards would slot him above Marc Bulger for 91st in NFL history.
He and Brett Favre are the only quarterbacks to top 4,000 yards after turning 40. But Favre only did it once. Brady did it five times. With two different teams.
710 total TD passes
For starters, no one else in NFL history has topped 600 touchdown passes, which he did earlier this season. (And don’t forget: He threw 43 touchdown passes ... at 44 years old!)
His 86 postseason touchdowns put him in another stratosphere entirely. No else has more than 45 (Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers).
Put it all together, and Brees, who has the second-highest touchdown total (608), falls behind Brady’s overall tally by more than 100. That’s almost three whole seasons worth of touchdowns.
Oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl — twice
Brady’s been at the top of this list on three separate occasions.
First, he tied Peyton Manning as the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl when the Patriots beat the Falcons in the “28-3″ Super Bowl in 2017.
Then, he beat that record at age 41 when New England knocked off the Rams in 2019.
Two years later, he did again with the Buccaneers, making him the oldest quarterback and oldest player, period, to hoist a Lombardi trophy. (Jeff Feagles, 41, and Mike Horan, 40, both won Super Bowls as punters.)
Brady is the only non-kicker or punter age 40 or older to be on a Super Bowl-winning team. If the Rams win a title this year, Los Angeles left tackle Andrew Whitworth (40) would become the second.
There might eventually be others who win a title after age 40. But leading a team to a Super Bowl at 43, not to mention being named Super Bowl MVP? That one might never happen again.
Read more about Tom Brady’s retirement
- Tom Brady announces retirement from the NFL after 22 seasons
- Chad Finn: One Tom Brady prediction that never came true
- Tom Brady wrote 962 words and didn’t mention the Patriots. Read his retirement announcement.
- Timeline: Looking back at the highlights from Tom Brady’s 22-year NFL career
- Photos: Looking back at Tom Brady’s 22-year NFL career