Truth or dare.
Truth: Tom Brady has five Super Bowl rings on his resume.
Truth: Tom Brady was the MVP in four of those Super Bowls, and owns two regular-season MVP awards as well.
Truth: Tom Brady holds the records for most playoff games started by a quarterback, most Super Bowl appearances, and the most wins ever by a quarterback.
Dare: I dare you to bet against Tom Brady.
All the haters will do it. Everyone wanting to be “the first” to predict the GOAT’s demise will blindly take the dare.
They’ll say it’s not possible to play into your 40’s. Father Time always wins. Not this time, not against the man who drinks electrolyte juice on the sidelines and eats avocado ice cream at home. Not the guy who claims his favorite ring is the next one.
According to owner Robert Kraft, Brady recently made a statement that he wants to play into his mid-40’s. Kraft, and anyone in Patriots Nation, is not complaining.
“As recently as 2-3 days ago, he assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft told media members at the NFL’s annual meeting on Monday. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”
Just looking at the numbers, Brady is actually on a statistical tear over the last four years. He has actually increased his performance in touchdowns, interceptions, completion percentage and passer rating each year since 2013.
- 2016: 28 TD, 2 INT, 67.4%, 112.2
- 2015: 36 TD, 7 INT, 64.4%, 102.2
- 2014: 33 TD, 9 INT, 64.1%, 97.4
- 2013: 25 TD, 11 INT, 60.5%, 87.3
Due to the Deflategate scandal, Brady missed the first four games last season, but for the sake of the argument, I extrapolated his numbers for touchdowns and interceptions for the full 16-game season, and he was on pace for 37 touchdowns compared with only about three interceptions.
The passing yard totals are all over the place, but the only times he has thrown for under 3,500 yards in a season are 2000, 2001, and 2008. The year 2000 was his rookie year, and he missed 2008 because of a knee injury in the first game of the season.
Brett Favre was an interception machine late in his career, and eventually retired at 41. Peyton Manning was statistically great for virtually his entire career, but his body failed him while Brady’s hasn’t shown any signs of doing so.
Unless you count his almost-weekly presence on Coach Belichick’s injury report, which would also simply say “Probable” because of “Toe,” referencing Wednesday’s incident of accidentally stubbing one’s toe on the locker room bench.
The Patriots’ roster is loaded with players to help Brady extend his career. James White, the beast of Super Bowl LI, and Dion Lewis can both catch out of the backfield and take pressure off of the passing game when needed. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are masters in the slot, finding open holes for Brady to release the ball within a couple of seconds. And don’t forget about Brady’s favorite target, Rob Gronkowski, who’s open even when he isn’t open.
The whole offense is predicated on short passes anyway, and in fact, that’s how they thwarted even the best of defenses in the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
But beyond the numbers and the X’s and O’s, I look for one thing when I evaluate talent and players who I admire. Work ethic reigns supreme as the factor that determines how talent will translate to the big leagues, or how long talent will last there.
Are you willing to change your style of play to prolong your career? Are you willing to change your diet and training regimen to strengthen yourself for the longer recovery time in old age? Are you willing to study your opponent for the smallest of flaws that might give you the advantage that will offset your age from your opponent’s youth?
Work ethic answers those questions. Tom Brady answers those questions with a resounding “yes.”
Brady’s 40th birthday comes in August, right before the beginning of the 2017-18 season. Only three quarterbacks have reached age 44 in the NFL. Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde are the oldest quarterbacks to appear on an NFL roster.
Brady would destroy that record too if he completes his latest goal.
There’s not a cell in my body that could object to Brady doing exactly that. Ever since I heard the story of him telling Kraft he would be the “best decision (the Patriots) organization has ever made, before he even made his first career start, I was sold on Brady’s word.
Don’t bet on Father Time here. Bet on Brady Time instead.
All statistics according to http://www.pro-football-reference.com.