Opinion: Following the Retirement of Tom Brady, Who Takes Over as the Face of the NFL?

Following the departure of the greatest quarterback of all time, many NFL fans are left questioning if there will ever be another Tom Brady.


Graphic by Zainab Imam

Paul Flicek, Staff Writer

After 22 incredible seasons, Tom Brady announced his retirement via Instagram on Febr. 1. 

“I’ve done a lot of reflecting the past week and have asked myself difficult questions,” Brady wrote. “And I am so proud of what we have achieved. My teammates, coaches, fellow competitors, and fans deserve 100% of me, but right now, it’s best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes.” 

Throughout his career, Brady has stacked up countless accomplishments including ranking first in Superbowl wins (7), super bowl appearances (10), passing yards (84,520), and passing touchdowns (624). 

The 2022-23 season will be the first without Brady since 1999. His departure has many fans questioning who will take his place as the face of the NFL. If you ask me, there are three clear candidates.

Patrick Mahomes – Quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes is the most likely candidate to take the spot considering his impressive, four-straight conference championship appearances in his first four seasons as the starting quarterback. Last year, Mahomes signed a 10-year $450 million contract extension with the Chiefs, the largest contract in NFL history. At the age of 26, Mahomes already has a Super Bowl MVP under his belt and a career win percentage of 79.4%. With the talent the Chiefs have on the roster, it is hard to think anyone else will have more success in the NFL over the next decade. 

Justin Herbert – Quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers 

Aside from Mahomes, Justin Herbert may be the most talented quarterback drafted in the past five years. Standing at 6’6” and weighing in at 236 pounds, Herbert is easily one of the largest starting quarterbacks the NFL has seen in recent years. The average NFL quarterback stands at 6’3”. At 23 years old, Justin Herbert completed his second NFL season ranking second in passing yards (5,014) and third in passing touchdowns (38). It is undeniable Herbert has the physical attributes to be great, but he will need a great team built around him as well. After hiring Brandon Staley to his first head coaching position in January 2021, the Chargers missed the playoffs with a record of 9-8. Herbert will be looking to lead the Chargers back to the playoffs next season.

Joe Burrow – Quarterback, Cincinnati Bengals 

After suffering a season-ending ACL injury in 2020, Joe Burrow has come back with a chip on his shoulder. Despite being the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, many coaches, players and fans had their doubts that Burrow could lead a team to a Super Bowl. Burrow responded by throwing over 4,600 yards and 34 touchdowns while leading the Cincinnati Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1988. Joe Burrow became the first quarterback to be picked first overall and bring his team to the Super Bowl within his first two seasons. Brady won a superbowl in his second season, but was picked in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft. Despite the difference in their draft picks, Burrow has the same underdog mentality Brady was praised for early in his career.. If the Bengals continue to build around Burrow, there is no doubt he will dominate for years to come. 

Tom Brady came into the NFL with one goal in mind — becoming the greatest player to ever step on the field. In his 22 years, Brady has brought a great deal of joy to the fans lucky enough to watch him play. The question on everyone’s mind now: Who’s next?