Robert Kraft eased the fears of Boston sports fans this week when he said he thinks Tom Brady will play another six or seven years. Brady will be 40 when the 2017 NFL season kicks off, which means if he plays as long as the Patriots owner thinks he will – he’ll be 46 or 47 by the time he hangs ’em up. What Brady is already doing is superhuman – winning Super Bowls despite being born three years before Ronald Reagan took office. If he’s still decent and playing by the time he’s 46, then he truly will be a GOAT in shoulder pads – grey and hobbled.
“As recently as 2-3 days ago, [Brady] assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said this week at the NFL owners meetings. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.
“I think Tommy’s sustained excellence is just unbelievable. It’s a lifestyle. He’s in training now, it’s not like he’s stopped … The only thing that’s probably changed [over the years] is how he eats and his diet. I’m not sure avocado ice cream is right for me, but if I could look like him and perform half as well, I guess I’d do it.”
Brady became the second oldest quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with the Pats’ overtime victory over the Falcons last month (Peyton Manning was 39 years and 320 days when he won the year prior). It’s the level that Brady is playing at that’s unprecedented for this age already. He threw an unreal 28 touchdown passes with just two interceptions this past season while posting his best season passer rating since 2007.
As crazy as it sounds, Brady could very well record career high numbers this coming season – especially given that he will now get to play with the best young receiver he has ever played with in Brandin Cooks.
“Other than playing football,” Brady explained to The MMQB’s Peter King last month, “the other thing I love to do is prepare to play football. I’ve worked hard to get a system in place that really works for me and I know I could work for everybody else if they just did it. That enables me to play 99 plays [in Super Bowl 51, a career high for one game] as a 39-year-old in the last game of the season. Football to me is more than just a sport. It has become my life. Every choice that I make – what I have for breakfast, how I work out, all of those things. I love the game. I love playing.”
Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde and Steve DeBerg were all on NFL rosters at the age of 44 but all were a shell of their former selves. George Blanda is the oldest man to play in the NFL at the age of 48, but he was mainly a kicker by that point.
One could easily make the case that Brady is already the best “old QB” in league history, and there’s no sign that he’s slowing down.