Tom Brady: Answering the Questions You Didn’t Know You Had

You may have heard some Tom Brady news, straight from the quarterback’s mouth. But beyond the mere fact of his announcement Wednesday that he is retiring from the N.F.L., there is a lot more to know.

Who is Tom Brady?

Wait, seriously? You don’t know Tom Brady, the superstar N.F.L. quarterback who has won seven Super Bowls?

Just kidding, I know who Brady is. But could you briefly review his career for me anyway?

Brady grew up in Northern California and played college football at Michigan. But he was unheralded enough to be drafted only in the sixth round by the New England Patriots in 2000, a slight he has used as motivation throughout his career.

The pick was a steal, as Brady led the Patriots to six Super Bowl victories. He moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent and won a seventh Super Bowl, the most by any player. He was named M.V.P. in five of those Super Bowls.

He finished with gaudy regular season stats: 7,753 complete passes, 89,214 passing yards and 649 passing touchdowns, all records, over 23 seasons.

In the playoffs, he has another 1,200 completions, 13,400 yards and 88 touchdowns. Again, those are all records.

Did you say 23 seasons? How old is this guy?

He’s 45 (and turns 46 on Aug. 3). He was the oldest player ever to play in the N.F.L. besides a few kickers.

Didn’t he retire once before?

Yes, about a year ago. “I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore,” he wrote. Forty days later he made that competitive commitment again and decided to come back for the 2022 season.

Brady during his first season as a starter for the New England Patriots in 2001.Credit…Barton Silverman

Has he made a lot of money?

He was paid $30 million for his most recent season and has earned more than $300 million over his career.

In 2022, he was rated the ninth highest paid athlete in the world by Forbes, which estimated he made an additional $50 million above and beyond his salary in that year alone.

The extra cash comes from endorsements of cars, clothes and mobile service providers, among many other products.

Brady also endorsed FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that collapsed last year. Many of the millions of people who lost money in the failure declared some animus toward Brady and other celebrity endorsers. Brady himself was a major shareholder in FTX, according to a court document, and his stake went from tens of millions of dollars to virtually worthless.

Wasn’t he involved in some bizarre ball controversy?

Sadly, this answer could probably be book length. In short, Brady was accused of arranging to deliberately deflate the footballs used in a playoff game in January 2015 to gain a competitive advantage, a bizarre scandal that came to be known as Deflategate. After numerous claims of skulduggery and court appeals — yes this reached federal court in a moment that yielded this illustration — Brady finally agreed to accept a four-game suspension for being “generally aware” of the plot. He served the suspension during the 2016 season.

What’s next for him?

Before this season, Brady agreed to serve as a commentator for Fox Sports upon his eventual retirement. While his salary for that job is not public, various reports have put it at $20 million, $25 million or even $30 million a year. (The New York Post said it was worth $375 million over 10 years.)

No doubt his on-field prowess and off-field fame will continue to get him endorsement deals as well.

What about Brady’s personal life?

Brady has a son with the actress Bridget Moynahan. He married the model Gisele Bündchen, and they have a son and a daughter. The couple announced in October that they were divorcing after 12 years of marriage.

Brady is a longtime friend of the former president Donald J. Trump, but has mostly tried to stay cagey in public about his politics. Before Trump was elected in 2016, Brady had a “Make America Great Again” cap in his locker in 2015 and mused about a Trump administration (“There’d be a putting green on the White House lawn,” he predicted).

Brady founded the health and wellness company TB12 Sports with his longtime trainer Alex Guerrero. He also has Religion of Sports, which is a media company, and the Brady Brand clothing line.

What’s this I hear about a movie?

Fortuitously, or not, a movie called “80 for Brady” is opening on Friday. Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Lily Tomlin play Patriots fans of a certain age who travel to the Super Bowl to see their hero. Brady appears in the film as himself, along with some of his old Patriots teammates. He is also credited as a producer.

By all accounts, Tom Brady is not going to be vanishing from sight anytime soon.

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