If you were born a Colts fan in the 2000s, the number 12 was a symbol for one person. Every game was important to you, but if this specific number 12 was on Indianapolis’s schedule, you marked it on the calendar.
Of course, I am talking about arguably the greatest quarterback of all time: Tom Brady. Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback announced his retirement. But that was short-lived as he returned to the Buccaneers a month later.
But today, February 1, one year after his first “retirement,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion has called it a career, for real this time.
Growing up a Colts fan was awesome and I felt I was kind of lucky. Quarterback Peyton Manning was one of the best to ever play the game and we were able to experience that. But Brady was always number one.
When the two football phenoms were on the opposite sidelines, it was must-see television. One of the greatest memories for Colts fans was the 2006 AFC Championship game. Brady vs Manning in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, what could be better?
The captivating game was a Patriots clinic for the start of the game. A few minutes into the second quarter, the visitors were up 21-3. But Manning and the rest of the Horseshoe would not go down as they routed a comeback and took the lead with a minute left in the game.
But for most Colts fans, there was one thought left in their mind. We are up three, and the generational quarterback on the other side of the field of all time has a minute to drive down the field and tie or win the game. Of course, Brady would start driving right away. But then he made a decision that gave Indy their first Super Bowl appearance since arriving in 1984.
Brady’s pass was intercepted by cornerback Marlon Jackson. The AFC Championship victory led to Manning receiving his first Super Bowl ring, head coach Tony Dungy becoming the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl and the city’s first major professional sports championship in its history
But Brady did not let one game define him. In his career against Indianapolis, he is 16-4 in the regular season and playoffs. So yes, you could say that he owned Indianapolis. But let’s be honest, the man owned every team.
If you include playoffs, Brady has a winning record against every NFL team. He leaves the league as their all-time passing yards leader (89,214) and touchdown leader (649).
Even as a Colts fan, seeing Brady walk away is sad. The quarterbacks of my childhood are gone. Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, the Manning brothers and now Brady are ghosts of the past.
But outside Peyton, Brady’s retirement is the only one that is really different. I have never known an NFL season without him. To me, he is the Jordan of my generation and it will be interesting to see how the league continues without him.
So, congratulations to the greatest of all time on a heck of a career. The Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is waiting for you in 2028.
Contact Zach Carter with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter@ZachCarter85.