Tom Brady has set the bar to new heights in almost every quarterbacking category if just playing 23 years in the NFL wasn't enough.
With his post Wednesday on social media, Brady officially ends a career – well, probably Michael Jordan retired three times – that includes seven Super Bowl wins in 10 attempts and five Super Bowl MVPs. He's won three regular-season MVP awards and received 15 Pro Bowl nods.
He ranks first all-time in passing yards (89,214) and passing touchdowns (649) and likely will for many years. Closest active quarterbacks: Matt Ryan, 7th in passing yards (62,792) and Aaron Rodgers, 5th in passing touchdowns (475), according to Pro Football Reference.
In the 2021-22 season, Brady led the league in passing yards, touchdowns and completions. He led the league, again, this season in attempts (733) and completions (490).
As the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, begins preparing a spot for him, here's a look back at 12 of TB12's most remarkable achievements:
1. Super Bowl starts
Brady has played in 10 Super Bowls in his career and won seven of them.
Context: No other player has appeared in more than six Super Bowls, and only one other quarterback (John Elway) has started five.
2. New management
Brady's first season in Tampa Bay (2020) concluded with the Bucs becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl in their own stadium. Along the way, Brady became the first quarterback in club annals to win 11 regular-season games in one season. Then, he won 13 games in his second season in Tampa Bay. He set completion and TD pass records for the franchise in his first year, then outdid himself in 2021 and 2022: his 485 completions in 2021 and 490 in 2022 and 43 TD passes in 2021 are single-season team records.
Context: We are talking Buccaneers history here ... so let's not pretend the bar was all that high.
3. League MVPs
Brady won the regular-season award as NFL MVP three times in 2007, 2010 and 2017. Ironically, the Patriots failed to win the Super Bowl in any of those seasons.
Context: Peyton Manning owns the record with five MVP awards. Aaron Rodgers joined Brady and Brett Favre last season as the only players to win it three times during the Super Bowl era.
4. Super Bowl MVPs
The best player on the NFL's grandest stage? That's been Brady five times, including the epic comeback he led against the Falcons in Super Bowl 51, the only time the game has gone into overtime.
Context: Joe Montana was Super Bowl MVP three times. Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning have been so honored twice.
5. Pro Bowls
Brady was selected to the NFL's version of the all-star team a record 15 times ... even though he rarely bothered to show up for the game – and recently wasn't able given the Pro Bowl is now in direct conflict with teams preparing for the Super Bowl.
Context: Only five players in NFL history have had at least 14 Pro Bowl nods. Peyton Manning is the only other quarterback on this very short list.
6. Conference title games
Impressive as Brady's Super Bowl accomplishments are, they overshadow a championship game résumé that's nearly as impressive. He started in 16 conference title games on his way to those 10 Super Sundays.
Context: Montana's seven championship game starts are less than half of Brady's but rank second all time.
Brady has the most Super Bowl wins by a player. He has three more than the next closest ring holder: Hall of Fame pass rusher Charles Haley.
Context: Hall of Fame QBs Bradshaw and Montana, who both won four Super Bowls – though their supporters will also note neither man ever lost on Super Sunday. The Brady truthers, meanwhile, celebrate that TB12 surpassed his championship tie with Michael Jordan.
Though he was already a three-time Super Bowl champion, '07 was TB12's coming-out party in certain respects. He became the first player to throw for 50 TDs, 23 going to WR Randy Moss – a receiving record that still stands. Prior to that outburst, Brady, named MVP for the first time in 2007, had never thrown more than 28 TD passes. The Patriots became the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, but they were ultimately upset by the Giants in Super Bowl 42.
Context: Peyton Manning threw 55 TDs in 2013, but it remains the only time Brady's mark has been surpassed. No other team has managed to go 16-0 since the regular season expanded in 1978.
9. 'The Patriot Way'
Brady is the only on-field common denominator for the New England juggernaut that spanned nearly two decades. He was essentially part of two mini-dynasties, the Patriots winning their first three titles between 2001 and 2004 and their next three between 2014 and 2018. His accomplishments were always tied with head coach Bill Belichick, Brady seemingly the only part that wasn't interchangeable for a franchise that became known for its ruthless approach to winning.
Context: The Patriots' string of success is unparalleled in NFL history, even more of an outlier in the age of a salary cap designed to keep every club on an even playing field. However, Brady's Super Bowl 55 win created a stark line of demarcation between Brady and Belichick.
10. The records
Brady's 649 regular-season TD passes and 89,214 passing yards are the most ever. But Brady's playoff marks are way out there – 1,200 completions on 1,921 attempts for 13,400 yards and 88 TDs – and his Super Bowl records more so (277 completions, 421 passes, 3,039 yards and 21 TDs). Brady also owns the top two passing games in Super Bowl history with 505 yards in Super Bowl 52 and 466 the previous year.
Context: Kurt Warner (414) is the only other passer to throw for more than 400 yards in a Super Bowl, and his 1,156 Super Sunday yards rank second. Montana is next on the Super Bowl career TD list with 11 and in the playoffs overall with 45. Peyton Manning is No. 2 in playoff passing yards with 7,339.
Brady has 251 regular-season wins and 35 more in the playoffs.
Context: Favre and Peyton Manning are tied for second with 186 regular-season victories. In postseason, Montana ranks second (16), followed by Bradshaw, Elway and Manning with 14 apiece.
Brady is a global icon and has earned more than $333 million, according to Spotrac. He's pretty much wrested the "G.O.A.T." moniker that rose to prominence with Jerry Rice. Brady won.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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