The reigning Super Bowl champions will kick off the NFL season in Thursday night's primetime slot on September 8, as the Los Angeles Rams host this season's Super Bowl favourites, the Buffalo Bills.

There will be plenty of the Rams in this season's marquee timeslots as the full 2022-23 schedule was released on Thursday, including a Monday night fixture against the Green Bay Packers in week 15, and a Christmas Day game against Russell Wilson's Denver Broncos six days later.

The Broncos will not have to wait long for their first eyebrow-raising matchup, travelling to take on Wilson's former team, the Seattle Seahawks, in the first Monday night fixture of the season.

Week one's third primetime game sees Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading to 'Jerry World' to take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Patrick Mahomes – the man with the richest contract in the sport – will get his first primetime appearance of the season in week two's Thursday night showdown, as his Kansas City Chiefs host arguably Mahomes' only competition for best young quarterback, taking on Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.

Four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers gets the Sunday night fixture in week two against the Packers' long-time rivals as the Chicago Bears come to town, and his week three matchup against Brady's Bucs will be must-see TV.

The Rams have the toughest strength-of-schedule based on their opponents' 2021-22 records (164-125, .567 winning percentage), while the Cowboys and the Washington Commanders are tied for the easiest schedule (133-155-1, .462 winning percentage).

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions will be the only team in NFL this season to not have a primetime game.

The complete week one schedule features:

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams (Thursday night)

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday afternoon)

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions 

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders

San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans 

New York Giants at Tennessee Titans (Sunday late-afternoon)

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers 

Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday night)

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (Monday night)

Tom Brady will join FOX Sports as an NFL analyst when he brings an end to his legendary career, but he first has "a lot of unfinished business" with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

It appeared as though the 2021 season would be Brady's last when he announced his retirement after seven Super Bowl wins.

But the quarterback backtracked on that decision, returning to Tampa, where he has one year remaining on his contract.

While it is unclear whether Brady will again call time on his career in 2023, he has at least confirmed post-career plans.

"We are pleased to announce that immediately following his playing career, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady will be joining us at FOX Sports as our lead analyst," said FOX executive chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

"Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives.

"We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the FOX team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season."

Brady reacted to the news on his Twitter page, posting: "Excited, but a lot of unfinished business on the field with the @Buccaneers."

Tom Brady has agreed to restructure his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Brady announced his retirement earlier this year, yet performed a U-turn on that decision last month to re-sign with the Bucs, who he led to a Super Bowl success at the end of the 2020 season.

There had been rumours that the Bucs were set to hold discussions with the 44-year-old, seven-time Super Bowl champion over potentially tying him down beyond the 2022 season, though general manager Jason Licht quashed that speculation.

Tampa have, however, managed to restructure Brady's existing deal to create over $9million of salary cap space ahead of next week's NFL Draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news on Friday, citing league sources.

However, Brady is still set to become a free agent at the end of the season despite the restructuring.

Brady passed for more yards (5,316) than any other quarterback in the NFL across the 2021 regular season, registering a league-high 43 touchdown passes. His completion percentage of 67.5 ranked ninth.

Tampa reached the postseason, but lost to eventual Super Bowl winners the Los Angeles Rams.

Tom Brady knows he cannot play forever but feels for now there is "still a place for me on the field".

Legendary NFL quarterback Brady is returning for another year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite announcing his retirement earlier in the offseason.

The seven-time Super Bowl champion has a single season remaining on his contract in Tampa.

Brady is 44 and will be 45 by the time the 2022 season starts. Only two quarterbacks have played in the NFL at a greater age, and Brady will surpass Steve DeBerg (44 years and 342 days) when he next takes to the field.

George Blanda's record (48 years and 95 days) remains some way ahead, however, especially as Brady acknowledges the end of his extraordinary 318-game career is nearing.

"I knew my body, physically, could still do what it could do and obviously I have a love for the game," Brady told ESPN, explaining his return. "I think I'll always have a love for the game.

"I do think physically I'll be able to do it. I just felt like there was still a place for me on the field.

"At the end of the day, I just love the competition on the field, and last year was a very bitter ending to a season and we've got to make a lot of corrections to try to improve and put ourselves in a better position to succeed moving forward.

"I know I don't have a lot left, I really do. I know I'm at the end of my career. I wish you could go forever, but it's just not [possible] and football comes at too high of a cost now. My kids are getting older and it's just getting harder and harder to miss these things.

"But I wanted to give myself and my team-mates and our organisation another incredible opportunity to accomplish something that we'd all be very proud of."

The Match will return in 2022 and this time it will pit two of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks of all time against two well on their way to assuming the same title.

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady were on opposing teams in The Match IV last year, Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau beating Brady and Phil Mickelson, but the two future Hall of Famers will team up this time around.

Indeed, Brady and Rodgers will face off against two quarterbacks who are rapidly developing a compelling rivalry of their own on the field in Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.

Mahomes and Allen faced off in one of the best playoff games in NFL history last season as the Chiefs fought back to beat the Bills in the AFC Divisional Round 42-36 in overtime, Kansas City having led a game-tying field goal drive in just 13 seconds to force the extra period.

There is no doubt they are the future of the NFL, but the June 1 meeting in Las Vegas with Brady and Rodgers will mark the first time their golf game will be on show for a worldwide audience.

Announcing the matchup on Twitter, Brady made it clear he and Rodgers are ready to strike a blow for the NFL's old guard.

He wrote: "We tried to make this a tag team cage match but the lawyers said our contracts wouldn't allow it… #CapitalOnesTheMatch is back, June 1st. Let's kick their a**."

The $518,000 sale of Tom Brady's 'last' touchdown pass football has been mutually voided after the greatest quarterback in NFL history reneged on retirement.

In what seemed like an unbelievable stroke of misfortune for the buyer, Brady spectacularly announced his return to the game less than 24 hours after the purchase was finalised, although money was yet to exchange hands.

Brady's decision not to retire came 40 days after initially announcing his playing career was over in late-January, causing chaos in the sports collectible world.

But the anonymous buyer has been spared the devastating blow as Lelands Auctions – who facilitated the sale – announced on Thursday that the purchase had been voided by a mutual agreement.

"We wanted to do the right thing here," Mike Heffner, president and partner at Lelands, said.

"It's the most unique situation that we'll probably ever encounter in our lifetimes – at least when it comes to sports memorabilia. We're still not to the end of the book yet; we've written a chapter."

While the ball may not be Brady's last ever touchdown pass, it is for the time being, and Heffner said the owner still plans on selling it privately through Lelands.

"All parties were waiting to see how it played out," he said.

"Tom Brady, let's face it, is kind of unpredictable these days. Until he throws that first touchdown pass in September, this ball is still the record."

Rob Gronkowski is not yet certain if he will return for the 2022 season, saying he is "not ready to commit to the game of football right now".

Gronkowski previously retired in 2018 and sat out the 2019 season before joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to link up with former New England Patriots team-mate Tom Brady.

The tight end helped Tampa to a Super Bowl triumph in the 2020 campaign and a playoff run last season, but his deal has run out and he is currently a free agent.

Brady sensationally reversed his decision to retire last month, agreeing to return to Tampa for another season.

Gronkowski, a four-time All Pro, has not yet made a similar decision, however.

"Right now, I'm not ready to get back out on that field," Gronkowski told TMZ Sports.

"I'm not ready to commit to the game of football right now."

Brady's retirement and subsequent decision to return came as a surprise to many, though not long-time team-mate Gronkowski.

"I knew he was going to come back, but I didn't think he was going to come back this year, to tell you the truth," he added.

"I thought he was going to come back in a year, spend some time with his family.

"He's not done, man... The guy's 44 and, let me tell you, he doesn't look a day over 23 when he's throwing the football around."

While Gronkowski remains uncertain on his own future, the 32-year-old is attempting to stay clear of making a rushed decision.

That even resulted in him refusing to catch passes in a recent charity event, instead electing to take on the role of quarterback.

"I knew if I started catching some passes that my head would have started turning, like, 'Oh, crap, I got to get back out on the field,'" he said.

"Even in your 30s, I mean, you just can't just slack it and just be 50 per cent all-in, then you're going to get caught off with the game and it's going to just spit you right out.

"You've got to be fully dedicated. I'm not ready to do that yet, I'm not going to sign a contract if I'm not fully ready."

Tom Brady described Bruce Arians as "smart, tough and loyal" after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach stepped down on Wednesday.

The franchise confirmed Arians will no longer lead the team, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles set to take over.

Arians will not be leaving the Bucs, however, instead taking on a new role of senior football consultant.

The decision comes just over a year after Arians and Brady led Tampa Bay to their second Super Bowl triumph, and the former New England Patriots quarterback wrote a message of gratitude to the 69-year-old, who had spent three years in charge.

"Thank you, BA for all that you have done for me and our team," Brady wrote on Instagram. "You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. 

"Smart, tough, and loyal are a few of the words to describe your style. I will always remember the conversations we had when you recruited me two years ago and all of the things we discussed came true.

"We all benefited from your leadership and guidance and I'm so proud of everything we accomplished. You were a huge part of the decision to join the Bucs and I'm forever grateful.

"I'm so happy you will spend the much-deserved time with your loving and supportive family that has given so much to our communities. Congratulations on an amazing coaching career but more importantly, how you positively impacted me and everyone else in the game of football."

Brady announced his retirement from the game in February, before sensationally changing his mind the following month, re-signing with the Bucs for the 2022 season.

Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler is returning to the New England Patriots on a two-year deal worth up to $9million.

Butler, 32, famously intercepted would-be go-ahead touchdown pass at the goal-line to give the Patriots a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Two years after his Super Bowl heroics, Butler signed a big-money, five-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, who released the cornerback after three seasons.

His unsuccessful stint with the Titans was followed by a brief stay on the Arizona Cardinals' roster, with Butler retiring in August citing "personal reasons" before playing a regular-season game.

He was released by the Cardinals in February, and will now attempt to revive his career under the stewardship of Bill Belichick once again.

Leonard Fournette has become the latest player to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to reports.

After Tom Brady made a sensational U-turn on his decision to retire, Chris Godwin also agreed to a three-year deal worth $60million with the Bucs after being franchise tagged by the team who won Super Bowl LV at the end of the 2020 season.

Fournette is understood to be signing a new three-year deal in Tampa Bay worth $21million, potentially rising to $24m.

The 27-year-old running back reportedly visited the New England Patriots, who had also shown interest in him when he left the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020, on Monday.

However, like then, Fournette looks to have decided on the Bucs, where he enjoyed a productive 2021 season.

His 1,266 total yards from scrimmage ranked sixth in the NFL, as he rushed for 812 yards, caught 69 passes for 454 yards and scored a total of 10 touchdowns.

Fournette's 4.5 yards per carry average last season was a career-high.

His best game of the season came in the 38-31 win at the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12, scoring four TDs, making eight first downs and racking up a total of 131 yards from 24 touches.

Fournette was placed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring issue following Week 15, but returned for the divisional round defeat to eventual Super Bowl LVI winners, the Los Angeles Rams.

The man nicknamed "Lombardi Lenny", or "Playoff Lenny", had previously put in a 135-yard performance as the Bucs won Super Bowl LV, beating the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chris Godwin has revealed his uncertainty over his Tampa Bay Buccaneers future before a message from Tom Brady helped him decide to re-commit to the side.

Godwin recently agreed to a three-year deal worth $60million with the Bucs after being franchise tagged with the Super Bowl LV champions.

Had the Buccaneers failed to agree a long-term deal with the wide receiver before the July 15 deadline, he would have played under a one-year, $19.18m franchise tender.

Godwin, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury in Week 15 of the 2021-22 season, agreed to the deal after superstar quarterback Brady confirmed he would come out of retirement to keep playing with the Bucs.

"It was a definitely a whirlwind of emotions," Godwin told reporters. "It was a lot of uncertainty at different points and sometimes it leaves you questioning just like why things happen.

"But you can't control what happens to you. You can just control your personal response to it and how you choose to go about it."

He added: "This last week has been a whirlwind for a lot of people. I think it just restores faith in the Bucs' fan base. 'We're back, man, and we're not laying down for nobody. We're coming back to try to make it to the top of the mountain, and you need great players and great people to do that, and obviously Tom coming back was a huge piece."

The 26-year-old wide receiver admitted his decision on his future was crystallised once Brady declared his intentions to come out of retirement and revealed their text exchange in a group chat with the QB and teammate Mike Evans.

Brady wrote: "Yo...just letting y'all know...I'm coming back and I'm excited for another year."

Godwin said: "Me and Mike were so gassed up, like, 'Yo, what are you talking about? You just retired?! It's hard to walk away from the game when you're as dedicated as Tom is."

Though his 2021 campaign was ended prematurely by his ACL injury, Godwin still finished the year with 98 receptions for 1,103 yards - both career highs - and five touchdowns.

According to Stats Perform data, Godwin registered a burn, which is when a receiver wins his matchup with a defender on a play where he is targeted, on 70.4 per cent of his targets.

That ratio was third-best in the NFL among wideouts with at least 100 targets behind team-mate Mike Evans (72.7) and Tyreek Hill (70.8). 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht says they will "reload" their roster for another championship run following Tom Brady's decision to return from retirement.

The 44-year-old quarterback announced on Sunday that he had made a remarkable U-turn and will play on with the Bucs only 41 days after declaring his retirement from the NFL after 22 seasons.

The Bucs, who won Super Bowl LV, bowed out in the 2021-22 divisional playoffs to eventual champions the Los Angeles Rams.

Licht said he and head coach Bruce Arians had spoken with Brady and felt a return was a "realistic chance" with the Bucs, who used their franchise tag on Chris Godwin last week, ready to chase another Super Bowl title.

"We are thrilled that Tom has decided to come back this season," Licht said. "We said we would leave all options open for him should he reconsider his retirement and today's announcement is something we have been preparing for in recent days.

"Bruce and I have had plenty of conversations with Tom recently that led us to believe there was a realistic chance he would want to come back.

"Tom is the greatest quarterback of all time who is still playing at an elite level. With this decision now made, we will continue to move forward with our offseason plans to reload this roster for another championship run."

Arians reaffirmed Licht's comments around the Bucs being in championship contention and welcomed Brady's decision.

"Tom Brady loves to play football as much as anyone I have ever been around," Arians said. "As Tom said, his place right now is on the football field.

"He is still playing at a championship level and was as productive as anyone in the league last season. We are ecstatic that he decided to continue playing and working toward winning another championship."

Across his career, Brady holds the NFL record for most career quarterback wins (243), passing touchdowns (624) and passing yards (84,520).

Brady is the only player to have won seven Super Bowl titles and will go for an eighth with the Bucs next season.

Several of Brady's Bucs teammates took to social media to celebrate the QB's return, including Nick Leverett, Tristan Werfs and Mike Evans.

Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has sensationally reversed his decision to retire and will play on for a 23rd season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The legendary quarterback, who will turn 45 in August, had announced his retirement in early February after a decorated career that included five Super Bowl MVP awards.

But Brady announced the shock decision to change his mind on Twitter on Sunday, stating: "These past two months I've realised my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it's not now.

"I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG."

When Brady announced he was quitting on February 1, it seemed final.

He declared that day, in a long and emotional statement, that he was not prepared to "make that competitive commitment anymore", pointing to the daily "physical, mental, and emotional challenge" of his sporting life.

He wrote then: "I have loved my NFL career, and now it is time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."

There had been reports by that point that Brady was toying with the idea of retirement, albeit having previously expressed a desire to play to the age of 45, and being open to the idea of going on until 50.

Brady was present at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium on Saturday to see Cristiano Ronaldo score a Premier League hat-trick against Tottenham at the age of 37, and doubtless he would have admired the Portuguese striker's longevity.

It reflects his own sustained success in American football, with both men having been figures at the highest level since the early part of the century.

Unquestionably the greatest quarterback of all time, Brady ended his career in Tampa Bay but is most closely tied to the New England Patriots, with whom he won his first six Super Bowls.

He was with the Patriots from 2000 until the 2019 season, before switching allegiance.

Across his career, Brady has led the NFL in passing touchdowns five times and in passing yards on four occasions.

He holds the NFL record for most career quarterback wins (243), passing touchdowns (624) and passing yards (84,520).

He is the only player to have won seven Super Bowl titles and his 35 playoff wins are 19 more than his nearest challenger among quarterbacks, Brady's boyhood idol Joe Montana.

Now, after a jaw-dropping change of heart, Brady will go for an eighth Super Bowl.

Tom Brady had seemingly played his last Super Bowl.

The quarterback extraordinaire confirmed on February 1 that he had decided to retire after completing a second year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But less than six weeks later he has made a stunning U-turn, announcing in a tweet that the 44-year-old is coming back for a 23rd season in the NFL.

It means he could yet go on to extend his record for the most Super Bowls to eight, with the NFL great apparently unwilling to declare on seven.

Brady could have walked away after capturing a sixth Lombardi Trophy with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII three years ago with his legacy as the greatest of all time secured.

But whether it was down to a desire to outstrip Michael Jordan's six NBA titles, win a Super Bowl without Bill Belichick or simply because of his love of competing and winning, Brady felt the need to keep going further into his 40s in search of a seventh.

That came in emphatic fashion in his first season since leaving Belichick and the Patriots, as the Buccaneers routed the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at Raymond James Stadium 12 months ago.

The man who entered the NFL as a skinny sixth-round pick in 2000 proved yet again that it is foolish to doubt him, and now he has gone about surprising everyone yet again by deciding that, actually, his time isn't up.

With Brady back for more, Stats Perform ranks his seven wins on the grandest stage.

7. Super Bowl LIII

Brady's last triumph with the Patriots was probably his least impressive, at least in the vacuum of the game itself.

An uninspiring defensive struggle with the Los Angeles Rams unsurprisingly fell in Belichick's favour as he outcoached Sean McVay in a 13-3 win. Brady did, however, connect with Rob Gronkowski for the telling blow, a 29-yard pass that set up Sony Michel for the game's only touchdown. 

Boosting Brady here is the fact he led the Patriots to victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, but that's not enough to move it off the bottom of the list.

6. Super Bowl XXXIX

The 2021 Super Bowl was the second in which Brady dealt a defeat to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, but the 39th edition of the Greatest Show on Earth was a much tighter affair as Brady guided the Patriots to back-to-back Lombardi trophies.

However, Reid, who in this February 2005 game was coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, perhaps bore as much responsibility for the Patriots' victory as Brady. Reid was significantly criticised in the aftermath of the Eagles' 24-21 loss for a lack of time management, their final scoring drive taking up nearly four minutes and making New England's task in closing out the game much easier.

Reid's shortcomings in that regard do not take away from Brady's performance or the achievement in winning successive Super Bowls, one that has not since been repeated. But, in terms of memorable performances, this is not one that ranks highly.

5. Super Bowl XXXVIII

Brady's second Super Bowl win is one that deserves more recognition than it gets as the Patriots held off an underdog Carolina Panthers team that refused to lie down. 

After the Panthers overturned a 21-10 deficit to lead in the fourth quarter, Brady led an 11-play drive to restore the Patriots' advantage and, after Carolina responded in kind, orchestrated a game-winning field goal in the final 58 seconds of regulation to secure a 32-29 triumph.

It was a perfect encapsulation of Brady's ability to deliver when the moment is the biggest, one which he has demonstrated time and again with all the marbles on the line.

4. Super Bowl LV

Brady's first Super Bowl win outside of New England may have been one of the most unexpected, but it doesn't quite crack the top three.

There is so much Brady deserves credit for. From taking the chance to leave his familiar surroundings and successfully adapting to a new offense to the manner in which he dissected the Chiefs defense in the first half.

But the Buccaneers' victory was a team performance built as much on a swarming defense that continually had Mahomes running for his life as it was on Brady's prowess leading the offense.

Brady was a deserved winner of the Super Bowl MVP but, without the Bucs' pass rush, this would have been a very different game, one in which the Chiefs' offense may have been able to change the outcome.

3. Super Bowl XXXVI

Brady was not close to being the quarterback he would become, and that is what makes his first Super Bowl still so incredible.

In his second season in the NFL, Brady came in and successfully filled the void after starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe suffered a chest injury in Week 2 of the 2001 season and led them to an 11-5 record, but he was not expected to go blow for blow with the vaunted St. Louis Rams offense.

As it happened, he received significant help from an excellent defensive display by New England, but the defining moment came in the final 90 seconds, with legendary commentator John Madden calling for the Patriots to play for overtime. Belichick had the faith in Brady to go the opposite route.

He promptly delivered a nine-play, 53-yard drive that began the legend, setting up Adam Vinatieri for a 48-yard field goal that clinched a 20-17 win for the Patriots and their first title. For a player of his relative inexperience to deliver in a situation of that magnitude, it remains one of Brady's most remarkable achievements.

2. Super Bowl XLIX

It gets lost with the fact that Brady and the Patriots would have lost this game to the Seattle Seahawks if not for Malcolm Butler's goal-line interception, but his fourth quarter in a 28-24 classic was one of the finest periods produced by any quarterback in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots trailed by 10 points midway through the fourth quarter, but Brady fearlessly and precisely led them on two touchdown drives against one of the best defenses in NFL history to turn the tide in their favour.

Of course, this game will always be remembered for the Seahawks' inexplicable decision to attempt a pass on the one-yard line with victory in their grasp, but the game never gets to that point without what was at the time Brady's greatest comeback effort in the Super Bowl.

1. Super Bowl LI

It was always unlikely Brady would ever top this performance, his Super Bowl piece de resistance.

All seemed lost for Brady when the Patriots trailed 28-3 to the Atlanta Falcons in the third quarter, but what followed was an accumulation of all the clutch moments he has produced in his unparalleled career.

The Falcons were reduced to near helpless spectators as Brady masterfully instigated the biggest fightback in Super Bowl history.

When the Patriots won the coin toss to start overtime, their 34-28 triumph was inevitable. Everyone knew what was about to happen, with the Falcons as powerless to stop it as the Chiefs were last year.

It was a revival that added immeasurably to Brady's aura, his desire to collect Super Bowl rings unsurpassed in the sport's history.

Could another be on the way?

Just two months after his announcement that he would retire from the NFL after 22 seasons, Tom Brady has decided to return for next season.

It means Brady's final game in the sport will not be the dramatic Divisional Round loss to the Los Angeles Rams, in which he had led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a remarkable late comeback.

That display, at the end of a season in which Brady led the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdown passes (43), had elements of everything that made him the greatest of all time.

Brady's decision to return also means there is even less prospect of any other QB coming close in the near future, however, as Stats Perform examines the stunning numbers behind his record-breaking career.

THE BREES BATTLE

Brady's seven Super Bowls counted for more than any other statistic ever could, but there was still intrigue around his battle with Drew Brees for a number of all-time passing marks.

Brees was drafted by the San Diego Chargers the year after Brady was selected by the New England Patriots, forever pitting the pair against one another.

But the long-time New Orleans Saints QB did not quite have Brady's longevity, retiring a year earlier, and allowed the gap between the two men's achievements to widen in 2021.

Brady leads the NFL with 84,520 passing yards, ahead of the second-placed Brees and his 80,358.

In terms of touchdown passes, it is a similar story. Brady's 624 top the charts, with Brees his nearest challenger on 571.

Brees also ranks second for seasons with 20 touchdown passes (17) and team points per game among quarterbacks with at least 100 starts (27.4). Brady (19 and 28.3) is the main man in both categories.

WINS, WINS, WINS

There is an enduring debate over whether wins are a quarterback statistic, but one would have a hard time arguing otherwise in Brady's case. Even after benefiting from Bill Belichick's coaching for 20 years, the veteran headed to Tampa and won right away.

Brady finished with 243 QB wins, meaning an incredible margin to second-placed pair Peyton Manning and Brett Favre on 186.

In fact, Brady has 69 wins in the month of December alone. In terms of a single month, Favre is next, with 52 wins also in December.

It should come as no surprise then that Brady has the best record among QBs with at least 100 starts, his .769 again comfortably ahead of the next-best performance, Roger Staubach's .746.

Of course, Brady has kept winning as each season has extended into the postseason.

He has 35 playoff wins, too many to compare to one rival QB alone. Among all NFL teams excluding Brady's Pats and Bucs, the Baltimore Ravens have won the most playoff games since 2000. They are on 16.

STILL GOING STRONG

Brady's 2021 performance made his decision to quit something of a shock. Even in his mid-40s, there had been no signs of slowing.

Last season was Brady's 19th different season with 3,000 passing yards – clear of Favre's 18 – and his fifth 4,000-yard season just since he turned 40.

Hall of Famers Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, Ken Stabler, Staubach and Steve Young combined for three seasons with 4,000 passing yards for their careers.

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