By: Russ Goldman
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady turned thirty five years old on Friday, and it didn’t take long for the media to talk about how much longer Brady could play at an elite level. Brady has mentioned in interviews several times that he wants to play into his forties. Already I have heard media members doubting his ability to be one of the best in the game at forty years old. Well, my question is, why can’t Tom Brady be an elite quarterback at forty years old?
Let me first say that the odds are against him as not many have been able to play at an elite level even getting close to this age. I will give you two quarterbacks that did very well late in their thirties.
At the rate Tom Brady is going, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him playing well into his 40’s. (FILE:USPresswire)
1) Kurt Warner: Warner had a very productive ending to his career in the NFL and played until he was thirty eight years old. In his last season with the Cardinals, he had a passer rating of 93.2, and a 66.1 completion percentage. The year before his last, he brought the Cardinals to their only Super Bowl.
2) Brett Favre: Favre played until he was 40 years old, but his last season honestly was not very productive. However, at age 39 years old, he had an elite season with a passer rating of 107.2 and completed 68.4% of his passes with the Vikings.
In regards to Brady, the odds have been stacked up against him before he entered the NFL as a sixth round draft pick. For a future hall of fame quarterback, I would not rule out that he could be the exception to the rule with being able to play at an elite level at forty years old.
Here is what Brady has working in his favor in regards to his ability at forty years old. First, he is not a quarterback that has leaned on his athletic ability with playing the position. He is not a running quarterback, but has the unique ability to successfully slide in the pocket and evade rushers. He does not have this rocket arm, but can make all the throws very accurately. He gets the most out of his athletic ability, and that might not diminish as some think as he gets very late in his career.
Second, Brady’s biggest strength could be his decision making in the pocket, and using his mind to make the best decisions quickly. This should not change much as he gets older, and this is a major reason, I see him having a chance to be elite at forty years old.
Third, you could argue that his arm is the age of a thirty four year old as he lost a full season of football in 2008, because of torn ACL. Brady might have some extra tread on his tire.
Fourth, with the rules of the games protecting quarterbacks even more, his elite career could be extended if he stays fairly healthy. The game is very different than even 15 years ago when John Elway was winning Super Bowls late into his thirties.
Lastly, Brady’s work ethic is a huge plus that needs to be mentioned. He might not be in Foxboro constantly during the off-season now, but that doesn’t change the fact that when he is at Gillette Stadium, he is working extremely hard at his craft. I see it now in Training Camp with how he demands the best out of every play.
I am sure some will read this, and tell me I am going to be wrong. These fans could be right because not many have been able to play at an extremely high level even getting close to forty years old.
However, if there is one quarterback that could prove everyone wrong, it would have to be Brady. I wouldn’t bet against him.