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Tom Brady: Ranking the 10 Best Seasons of His Career

Tom Brady, Super Bowl LV

With seven Super Bowl rings to Brady's name, it's a pretty high bar for a season to make this list

So it seems that Tom Brady isn't retiring after all. Less than 45 days after announcing on Feb. 1 that he was stepping away from the game, Brady declared on March 13 that he was coming back for a 23rd season, citing "unfinished business." That may seem like an odd statement considering the surefire Hall of Famer just completed one of the best seasons of his career, at 44 years old. But I guess the greatest quarterback in the history of the game isn't ready to call it quits just yet.

Related: Tom Brady's 10 Best Passing Seasons

But until we see him back on the field, here are what I think are Brady's top 10 seasons across his already legendary career.

10. 2011

(13-3, AFC East champs, lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI)

Brady had the first and only 5,000-yard passing season of his career. His 5,235 yards are good for third in a single season in NFL history.

9. 2017

(13-3, AFC East champs, lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII)

In the offseason, the 40-year-old Brady became the oldest player to grace the cover of Madden, but he did not succumb to its “curse.” Instead, he also became the oldest player to lead the league in passing yardage and was named MVP for the third time in his career.

8. 2021

(13-4, NFC South Champions, lost to Los Angeles Rams in Divisional Round)

Brady finished this season as the NFL’s all-time leader in wins, completions, passing yards, and touchdowns and as the first quarterback in NFL history with 5,000 passing yards in a season twice. If not for a razor-thin loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round, this season would rank higher.

7. 2018

(11-5, AFC East champs, beat Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII)

TB12 has always been a little cagey about his injuries, but it became clear in the postseason that he had been playing hurt for part of the 2018 campaign. But while his numbers dropped off during the regular season, his play in the postseason was as stellar as ever and culminated in his sixth Super Bowl ring.

6. 2014

(12-4, AFC East champs, beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX)

The “Deflategate” scandal overshadowed an otherwise great season where Brady threw for 4,109 yards and 33 touchdowns and was named Super Bowl MVP for the third time.

5. 2020

(11-5, NFC Wild Card, beat Kansas City in Super Bowl LV)

Brady signed on to a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that had gone 7-9 the year before. At 43, he threw for more than 4,600 yards and 40 touchdowns as Tampa Bay earned a No. 5 seed in the playoffs. In the postseason, Brady and the Bucs played their best ball, winning four straight games and the Lombardi Trophy and earning him his seventh Super Bowl ring.

4. 2007

(16-0, AFC East champs, lost to New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII)

New England acquired Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Donte Stallworth in the offseason and Brady showed what he could do with a top-flight receiving corps. He became the first quarterback to throw 50 touchdowns in a year, leading the Patriots to the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history. Only an unbelievable catch by Giants receiver David Tyree kept Brady and New England from realizing perfection, but passing-wise, this season is his best.

3. 2003

(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII)

After a 2-2 start, Brady led the Patriots to 15 straight wins and won a shootout with Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme. As he did against the Rams two years earlier, Brady led a drive in the final seconds that culminated with a game-winning Adam Vinatieri field goal.

2. 2004

(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Philadelphia in Super Bowl XXXIX)

The winning streak from 2003 extended to an NFL record 21 consecutive games as the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years. Along the way, Brady threw for 3,692 yards and 28 touchdowns.

1. 2016

(14-2, AFC East champs, beat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI)

After serving a four-game suspension because of the “Deflategate” scandal, Brady rejoined the team and had one of the finest seasons of his career. He threw 28 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions and posted a passer rating of 111 or higher for the third time in his career. Oh, and he also led the greatest comeback in NFL history to beat the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI to earn his fifth ring.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.