What Does the GOAT’s Retirement Mean for the Vikings and NFC?

The GOAT's Retirement Casts More Mystery over the NFC QB Picture
Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up before a a wild card game against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday morning, Tom Brady announced via social media that he officially would be retiring from the NFL after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 8-9 in 2022 and were eliminated in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The GOAT’s retirement means, firstly, that he won’t be the Vikings quarterback in 2023 despite some rumors, but secondly, it continues to cast some mystery over what is trending towards being a fascinating offseason at the quarterback position.

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Jan 8, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the first quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

As of now, after Brady’s retirement, there are arguably seven teams in the NFC (eight if you want to throw in the Vikings) that could have a different starting QB in 2023, or at least a player that didn’t start more than eight games for the team in 2022. This includes every team in the NFC South. Those teams, in my mind, are as follows:

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Green Bay Packers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady’s retirement ensures that the Buccaneers are added to that list, and it takes away the option that he’d go somewhere else such as his hometown San Francisco 49ers. Adding a question while also taking away a solution.

Jan 21, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass to running back James White (28) as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Now, of course, Brady has retired before. Following the 2021 season where Tampa Bay was eliminated in the Divisional round by the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. Less than two months later, Brady was back for his age-45 season.

This time around feels different, though. Even if you ignore everything that is going on off the field in Brady’s life, from a football aspect, it just doesn’t make sense for him to try to come back, especially in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers got into the playoffs this season only because every other team in the NFC South was slightly worse than them, with all three teams behind the 8-9 Bucs finishing 7-10.

When he played this season, it appeared Brady had no interest in standing in the pocket and taking hits. Who could blame him? He’s 45 going on 46 and has done everything anyone could possibly do in this league.

Aug 27, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) runs onto the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

A lack of desire to take hits didn’t stop him from getting hit, though. Brady was hit 55 times this season, a jump from 31 during the 2021 season. As those hits piled up without the wins to dull the aches and pains, retirement probably slowly crept back into his mind, and now, we get to where we are today.

Overall, Brady goes down as the undisputed greatest to ever play this game. Seven Super Bowl championships and remaining in constant contention for 22 years, regardless of what team he played for, is incredible, and we probably won’t see anything like it ever again.

Now that he’s gone, though, the NFC has a lot of questions to answer at the QB position, but they don’t have many solutions. We’ll see how the teams in the conference go about filling their QB1 spots.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.