An anonymous NFL player left another chip in Tom Brady’s right shoulder.
“It was always a joke to think that Brady can play that long,” the anonymous player said. “It’s impossible.”
“One of Brady’s division rivals” also was quoted in the piece.
“Tom is the greatest player I’ve ever seen,” he said. “But when I got concussions in my 20s, it took me weeks to recover. If you get one at 43 or 45, I don’t think your brain would ever be the same again.”
That’s good and fine for those anonymous players to believe that, but Brady wouldn’t be the first NFL quarterback to play into his 40s.
Brett Favre, Earl Morrall, Warren Moon, Vinny Testaverde, Steve DeBerg, George Blanda, Vince Evans and Doug Flutie all started games at quarterback in their 40s. And none of those signal-callers came close to playing as well as Brady did at age 39, when he had the second-highest passer rating of his career in 2016.
So, it’s safe to say Brady is an anomaly based not only on his talent but also on the era in which he’s playing.
Quarterbacks are protected more than ever before. NFL equipment has improved, and head injuries are taken far more seriously than they were in the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s or ’90s when those players listed above were in their primes.
If any NFL player is going to continue to play well into his 40s, it would be a quarterback, kicker or punter, since they take the least amount of punishment. So while comparing Brady to athletes like Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, Roger Clemens, Gaylord Perry, Carlton Fisk, Jaromir Jagr, Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Randy Couture, Chris Chelios, George Foreman, Phil Niekro, Jamie Moyer, Bernard Hopkins, Gordie Howe or Satchel Paige, all of whom competed into their mid-40s, might not exactly be apples to apples, it’s at least apples to pears, not oranges. It’s not as if we’re talking about a running back here.
If Foreman and Hopkins can win boxing championships in their 40s and 50s, then it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Brady can continue playing quarterback at a high level into his mid-40s.
Counting out Brady has made many pundits look dumb in the past. This non-anonymous writer believes Brady can do it, “Madden” curse be damned.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images