Tom Brady reveals what could have made him retire years ago
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady Max Gersh/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Most people felt that Tom Brady had nothing left to prove about three or four championships ago, but the star quarterback continues to find ways to stay motivated. Had the 2007 New England Patriots completed their perfect season, that might not have been the case.

Episode 4 of the ESPN+ documentary “Man in the Arena,” which will air next week but was previewed by NESN’s Zack Cox, covers the 2007 Patriots. In the episode, Brady makes a surprising revelation about how New England’s loss in Super Bowl XLII shaped his career. Had the Patriots won and completed their 19-0 season, Brady says he may have retired a lot sooner.

“Had we won that game — I don’t know, I’m not a big hypothetical guy — but maybe the desire is a little bit different, if you’re looking at a silver lining,” Brady said. “Maybe the desire to reach that point, maybe I would have been fulfilled — not to stop playing at that time, but I don’t know. Maybe I’d play another seven or eight years, and maybe I’m fulfilled. Maybe not.”

Brady has won seven Super Bowls. His legacy is secure. Even if he wins an eighth or ninth or 10th, his career will still be viewed the same. He doesn’t need an undefeated season to be considered the greatest quarterback of all time, but it obviously bothers him that he came so close and fell four points short of completing it.

We tend to think Brady would have found other ways to stay driven and kept playing regardless of what happened in 2007. That said, Brady made a comment earlier this year that proved how much the loss in Super Bowl XLII stung him. No matter how many games or championships he wins, he clearly will never get over that one shortcoming.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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