When Tom Brady shockingly announced that he was coming out of retirement on March 13, there was a small group of people who weren't so shocked by the news and that's because Brady had actually tipped them off beforehand.
That group includes his social media team at a company called Shadow Lion, along with two key Buccaneers teammates.
Brady sent shockwaves through the NFL less than two weeks ago when he sent out a tweet at 7:13 p.m. that declared that he would be returning to football.
These past two months I’ve realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands. That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible. I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business LFG pic.twitter.com/U0yhRKVKVm— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 13, 2022
Although that tweet is barely 50 words long, a lot of work went into making it and there wasn't a lot of time for that work to be done. Brady contacted the guys at Shadow Lions at roughly 6:45 p.m. ET and told them he wanted something ready ASAP.
"I told them, '30 minutes?'" Brady said in an email to Fox Sports. "So we went back and forth on the language, chose a couple photos and, well … let's play some football!"
They only had 30 minutes to create something that ended up being retweeted more than 200,000 times.
Although there was speculation for weeks that Brady might return, it appears he didn't actually settle on his decision to come back until the day he announced it.
"Once I made the decision [to return], I knew I just wanted to get it out and move on to get ready for the season," Brady wrote in the email. "So, I FaceTimed the guys to let them know I was coming back, and we discussed how best to put it out there."
Before officially announcing his return, Brady must have been a a busy guy, because not only did he contact the guys at Shadow Lion, but he also got in touch with two teammates.
During an interview this week, Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin revealed that he got a text from Brady on March 13 that stunned him.
"Yo...just letting y'all know...I'm coming back and I'm excited for another year,'" the text said, according to Godwin, via ESPN.com.
The text hit Godwin's phone about 30 minutes before the quarterback announced his return to the rest of the world. Brady is on a text thread with both Godwin and Mike Evans and he had sent the message to both players. The text was so out of the blue that Evans and Godwin were both shocked to see it.
"Me and Mike were so gassed up, like, 'Yo, what are you talking about? You just retired?!" Godwin said.
At least one sports book in Las Vegas believes that the news of Brady's return leaked out in the week leading up to his announcement. However, listening to Brady tell it, it sounds like he genuinely didn't know what he was going to do until March 13 and only a small circle of people knew that the announcement was coming before the QB actually made it.