Tom Brady has announced he will be leaving the New England Patriots, a franchise he has been synonymous with over the past two decades, as they experienced significant and sustained success. We look at his five best moments as a Patriot.

First Ring and MVP

Brady was initially a backup for the Patriots in his first season and started the 2001 campaign as second-string. Two games into the season, starting QB Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury, and it was Brady’s time to shine. He led the Pats to an 11-5 record and a first-round bye. After overcoming the Raiders in the ‘Tuck Rule’ game and beating the Steelers at Heinz Field, the Patriots faced a dominant Rams team, dubbed ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ in the Super Bowl.

The Rams entered Super Bowl 36 as 14 point favourites. Whilst it wasn’t Brady’s finest game on the stats sheet, completing just 16 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown, his poise on the game-winning drive let everyone in the league know he could be something special. The Patriots won 20-17.

The game marked the start of the Patriots’ dynasty and was also Brady’s first Super Bowl MVP. He leaves New England with four.

28-3

Midway through the third quarter, this game couldn’t have been going worse for Brady and Co, with commentators and fans alike starting to wonder if the dynasty had ended. 15 years on from the first Super Bowl win, with four Vince Lombardi trophies won, it seemed like this would be the curtain call. Brady had other ideas.

The Pats scored 25 unanswered points, won the Super Bowl 34-28 in overtime, and both sides ended up breaking over 30 records in the game.

Brady himself threw for 466 yards with 43 completions as the Pats became the first team to win a Super Bowl despite not leading for a single second in regulation.

Peyton Manning

Brady and Peyton Manning were two of the defining quarterbacks of their era and indeed NFL history.

The two built a healthy rivalry over their long careers, playing each other 17 times, with Brady leading the head-to-head 11-6. With five postseason matchups, every occasion was special.

From the five playoff matchups, the winner would go on to lift the Vince Lombardi trophy. While the final moment between the two didn’t go in Brady’s favour – a 20-18 loss in the AFC Championship Game – the final whistle brought an end to an era of for a magnificent battle that both will be remembered for throughout their careers.

18-1 

One of the most dominant teams in football, who fell just short at immortality thanks to some fantastic plays and a very lucky helmet catch. The 2007 New England Patriots were dominant in nearly every facet of the game.

They completed a perfect regular season, going 16-0, before losing in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. The Pats had nine All-Pros, Brady threw for 50 touchdowns, Randy Moss caught 23 of them, and No.12 was MVP with 49/50 votes. Very nearly the perfect season, but one that will go down in memory as one of THE dominant US sports teams.

The final one

Brady’s final Super Bowl win for New England was a classic tale of resilience from the northeast corner of the United States. The Pats recorded their first back-to-back double-digit losses for the first time since 2002 in weeks two and three, lost five games for the first time in almost a decade, before putting a combined 79 points on the Chargers and Chiefs in the playoffs.

While everyone expected an offensive shootout, similar to Super Bowl win no.1, the Patriots executed a defensive masterclass against a high-powered Rams offence, as they ran out 13-3 winners in Super Bowl 53. While not his finest display at the helm of the offence, he became the oldest winning quarterback and capped a remarkable era as the Patriots lifted their sixth Super Bowl in just 18 years, all with TB12 under centre.

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