Tom Brady inducted into Patriots Hall of Fame, No. 12 retired

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a sold-out ceremony in front of more than 60,000 fans at Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, with owner Robert Kraft announcing that his No. 12 jersey will never be worn again in New England.

In addition, Kraft said a statue of Brady measuring 12 feet tall will be unveiled during the 2024 season, something the franchise has never done before.

"Our goal was to create a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony for a one-in-a-kind player. I hope we accomplished that goal with a few firsts," Kraft said.

Brady capped off the three-hour program with a rousing speech that was at times fiery, emotional, inspirational and humorous. He called it a "monumental moment" in his life, expressed his thanks to Kraft and concluded by saying: "I am eternally grateful. I am Tom Brady. And I am a Patriot."

Brady's 20 years with the franchise from 2000 to 2019 produced six Super Bowl championships and 17 AFC East titles before he finished his career playing three seasons for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, winning another Super Bowl.

More than 100 of his teammates and former coaches attended the Hall of Fame ceremony, including Bill Belichick, which marked the first time Belichick was back at Gillette Stadium since he and the Patriots parted ways in January after 24 seasons.

Brady noted the presence of Belichick, who was one of the night's featured speakers and received a thunderous ovation.

"Thank you for your tireless commitment to develop and push me to be my very best. It wasn't me, it wasn't you, it was us," Brady said. "Let me make this crystal clear -- there is no coach in the world I would rather play for than Bill Belichick."

Belichick had concluded his remarks with a similar message for Brady.

"Thank you for all that you've done for us. Thank you for all you've done for me. And thank you for the example and model that you've been for all of us, on a daily basis, for 20 years," Belichick said. "You're unbelievable."

The night included a few surprises for Brady, including the presence of his longtime rival Peyton Manning, who insisted that he deliver his remarks in person after noting that Brady was there for him at his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction in 2021.

Singer Kenny Chesney was on hand to perform a live version of his song "The Boys of Fall" and rapper Jay-Z sang "Public Service Announcement" -- the song that played when Brady took the field during the second half of his Patriots career.

Brady's parents, sisters and extended family were all in attendance, and Brady often showed his emotions when mentioning them throughout the night.

"It is so difficult to put into words what this night means to me and our entire family," he said.