Nearly one year ago on February 7, 2021, we witnessed one of the legendary quarterback matchups of all-time face off in the Super Bowl. Although the end result didn’t go the Kansas City Chiefs’ way, everyone knew there was a chance we’d never see a championship game of that status ever again.
The GOAT — Tom Brady — versus the face of the new era in Patrick Mahomes. The stage was set for a football performance of the ages, but fate had other plans. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up breezing to a 31-9 victory on the backs of Brady and their defense.
Heading into the divisional round of the 2021-22 playoffs, many had a rematch at the forefront of their minds. Again, fate intervened as Brady fell short against the Los Angeles Rams. One week later, Mahomes suffered the same result against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Now on February 1, 2022, it’s official. The GOAT announced he is indeed retiring, meaning we’ll never get that Brady-Mahomes Super Bowl rematch that the NFL world had dreamt up.
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Brady Leaves NFL to ‘Next Generation’
After many NFL insiders reported this might be happening last week, Brady finally confirmed the news officially over his Instagram account.
“I have always believed the sport of football is an ‘all-in’ proposition,” the future Hall of Fame QB began, “if a 100% competitive commitment isn’t there, you won’t succeed, and success is what I love so much about our game. There is a physical, mental, and emotional challenge EVERY single day that has allowed me to maximize my highest potential. And I have tried my very best these past 22 years. There are no shortcuts to success on the field or in life.”
He continued: “I am not going to make that competitive commitment anymore. I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention… My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.”
The entire speech was eight slides long and the legendary figure ended it with: “I know for sure I want to spend a lot of time giving to others and trying to enrich other people’s lives, just as so many have done for me.”
Brady didn’t name anyone but we all know who that “next generation” includes. Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, Jalen Hurts, Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields and many others rising through the ranks.
The headliner is still Mahomes, however, at least for the moment. Informally, his retirement passes the NFL’s keys to the Chiefs franchise quarterback.
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Mahomes Displayed Maturity & Growth in 2021
During his press conference on January 31, Andy Reid talked about how Mahomes developed as a player this season.
He stated: “I thought he was way more patient this year. Only because he had to be with the different looks we were seeing. I think this was a great year for him career-wise. I think he worked his way through maybe some obstacles and turned them into good football. We’re lucky to have him so everybody gets in a critical state when you go through a game like this which is understandable. When you’re backed up a little bit and you realize what you need to take care of and that you’re fortunate to have certain things. That’s human nature. We’re very lucky to have Patrick and I’m glad he and Joe Burrow are like a couple [of] months difference in age. We don’t think of it that way because Joe is new in the league and Patrick’s been in for a while, but they’re very close in age. We’re lucky to have him here.”
Reid added later that his takeaway from Mahomes’ season would be that “he was one half away from going to his third Super Bowl in a row, and that’s pretty impressive.”
The veteran HC put the AFC championship loss on himself and the entire team as a whole, rather than the offense or his quarterback.
As for this new golden age of QB play that appears to be at its dawn, Reid noted: “I’ve said it every week here that I think that it’s great for the National Football League. It’s great for the AFC because we’ve got a lot of these guys in the AFC and it creates great competition, and that’s why we’re in this.”