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Masterful performances in cold weather games helped shape Tom Brady's NFL legacy

By Mark Puleo, Accuweather.com
Masterful performances in cold weather games helped shape Tom Brady's NFL legacy
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady calls out the defense during the third quarter of a game against the Chicago Bears in the snow at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., on December 12, 2010. File Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 2 -- Tom Brady announced his retirement Tuesday, bringing an end to the most remarkable playing career the National Football League has ever seen. After 22 seasons during which Brady racked up five Super Bowl wins, three MVP awards, 15 Pro Bowl selections and a slew of career records that may never be broken, the legendary quarterback's resume and accomplishments speak for themselves.

But beyond the numbers, his unparalleled flair for late-game heroics and overcoming impossible obstacles also produced countless unforgettable memories. Many of those seemingly impossible obstacles weren't just built by an opposing defense or a dwindling game clock, but by Mother Nature.

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Here are just a few of Tom Brady's most memorable weather moments.

Fans celebrate the Patriots' victory over the Oakland Raiders at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., during an NFL playoff game on January 19, 2002. File Photo by Steven Frischlin/UPI

The legend of Brady's playoff heroics began during his very first playoff game. In the very last game ever played at Foxboro Stadium in 2002, heavy snowfall blanketed the field and all but shrouded any view of the field. After the Patriots' offense struggled to move the ball in the first half, Brady orchestrated two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to dig New England out of a 13-3 deficit and tie the game with 27 seconds left. While Patriots' kicker Adam Vinatieri had to kick away the snow to find a patch of grass for his kick, TV viewers at home couldn't even see the ball go through the uprights because the snow was falling so heavily.

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In overtime, Brady led the offense on a masterful eight-minute drive that concluded with another clutch Vinatieri game-winning field goal. And, oh yeah, and there was also that Tuck Rule controversy.

In another wintry AFC Divisional Playoff game, the Patriots hosted the Tennessee Titans in the coldest game ever played at Gillette Stadium in 2009. Along with temperatures topping out at 4 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff, a persistently frigid wind sent AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures below zero. The first 10,000 fans in attendance were given free hand-warmers while the stadium played a video of a roaring fire on the scoreboard in a bid to create some virtual warmth.

But on the field, Brady didn't seem to notice the cold. Maybe it was because he had ice in his veins.

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He completed 21 passes for more than 200 yards to go with a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, he once again marched the offense down the field to set up a game-winning Vinatieri field goal, propelling New England toward yet another Super Bowl.

The Tom Brady-Peyton Manning matchup was one of the NFL's most classic rivalries. The two marquee quarterbacks were considered the best at their craft and seemingly couldn't avoid encountering one another in the playoffs.

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In the midst of what became one of the snowiest months in New England history in 2005, the Indianapolis Colts traveled to Foxboro for an AFC Divisional Playoff game. Afterward, Manning left both dejected and muddy. While the Colts' star QB struggled to complete passes in the steadily falling snow, Brady played it safe and completed two-thirds of his passes without throwing a pick. His third-quarter touchdown pass put the game away for good en route to the Patriots' third Super Bowl in four years.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is surrounded by the Indianapolis Colts defense during the fourth quarter of the AFC Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on January 16, 2005. File Photo by Steven E. Frischling/UPI

While the wintry mess usually impacts playoff games played in January, an October snowstorm in 2009 set the scene for one of Brady's best performances ever. According to the Patriots, the week six matchup against the Titans was the earliest snow game in the team's history at Foxborough.

Brady, as usual, excelled anyway. He tossed five touchdowns in the second quarter alone and drove the offense toward franchise records for single-game points and total yards. His six touchdowns for the day matched the most he ever threw in a single game, and his 85.3 completion percentage was his third-highest ever.

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After the game, Brady told reporters that he was initially angry when he looked at the weather forecast because it indicated heavy rain. However, he was thrilled when it turned to snow.

"You know, some days out there when it's snowy like that, it's actually an advantage for the offense," Brady said at the time, according to ESPN. "Today was one of those days because we had good footing and it's just fun to be a part of it. I was saying, when you see the weather forecast on Thursday, you're kind of [angry] and then once the day of the game comes around, everyone is excited because you're out there and you're like, 'This is football. This is how it should be.'"

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws in the first quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., on October 18, 2009. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI

As the Patriots marched toward a sixth Super Bowl win in 2019, the team had to trudge through a couple of frozen playoff games. The run began at Foxboro when the Patriots hosted the warm-weather Los Angeles Chargers on Jan. 13 in the AFC Divisional round. With temperatures topping out at 26 degrees Fahrenheit, Brady was dominant, passing for 343 yards and a touchdown without throwing an interception in his 28th career game in freezing cold conditions.

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The next week, Patriots players found themselves in the unfamiliar role of underdog against the Kansas City Chiefs, but taking the field in the very familiar setting of freezing cold weather. Playing as visitors at Arrowhead Stadium, Brady looked right at home.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with teammates after the AFC Championship at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on January 20, 2019. The Patriots defeated the Chiefs 37-31 in overtime to advance to Super Bowl LIII. File Photo by Kyle Rivas/UPI

The thermometer at kickoff read 19 Fahrenheit, and the temperature only got lower as the game progressed. After tossing a pair of interceptions, Brady's play got hot at the perfect time to bring the Patriots back from multiple fourth-quarter deficits. After the Chiefs forced the game into overtime, Brady and the Patriots got the ball first and never handed it back -- giving Brady his 25th career win in games played under 32 degrees.

After spending 20 years playing in the New England tundra, Brady relocated to sunny Tampa Bay for the final two years of his career. In a 2021 admission to Peyton and Eli Manning during a Monday Night Football broadcast, Brady said that despite his career-long reputation, he greatly enjoyed the warm weather of his new home.

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