Next week doesn’t just mark the continuation of the Patriots’ preseason. It will also mark the day Tom Brady celebrates his 34th birthday.
Brady doesn’t age like the average human being. After all, he won the MVP last season — and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it again. Still, though, age has a way of creeping up on players.
So how did some Hall of Fame QBs fare in their age 34 seasons? We gathered up some season totals, and used a stat called passer rating index, or “Rate+,” where 100 represents the league average for that particular season and higher is better.
The verdict??Thirty-four is definitely not too old.
Nobody draws more Montana comparisons than Brady. At 34, Montana led the 49ers to a 14-1 record, throwing for 3,944 yards while ending up with a 118 Rate+. He was knocked out of the NFC Championship game, missed the next two seasons with injuries and was eventually replaced by Steve Young.
Montana later had a pair of above-average seasons in Kansas City.
Young completed a league-high 67 percent of his pass attempts for 291 yards per game at 34. He threw 20 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and ended the season with a Rate+ of 120. Young was a top QB through the age of 37.
Unitas had his last solid season at age 34, throwing for 3,428 yards and 20 touchdowns.
His Rate+ that year was 116 — it was his last time above 100 as a consistent starter. He did, however, win a Super Bowl at the age of 37.
Aikman’s career didn’t make it past 34. He threw seven TDs and 14 interceptions in 11 games, and his Rate+ sagged to 81 from 104 the previous year.