As another NFL season bites the dust, there’s more evidence than ever that New England Patriots star Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time. Brady was instrumental in the Patriots’ astonishing 34-28 comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51, but at the age of 39, Tom Brady is no spring chicken, and you could forgive one of the most decorated quarterbacks in NFL history if he was considering hanging up his boots.
Unfortunately for rival teams in the NFL, Tom Brady could be dominating the field for a few years yet; Brady has already outlined his desire to play on, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft says Tom Brady could be throwing touchdowns well into his 40s.
“As recently as two to three days ago, [Tom Brady] assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed. There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”
During Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots, he’s lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy five times. No other quarterback can boast that many championship rings, and following Brady’s intervention against the Falcons, his teammate, defensive lineman Chris Long said he was in no doubt that Tom Brady is the greatest player to play American football.
“If it’s possible to be humble and be the greatest of all time, he does it He’s the GOAT. He’s the king of the petting zoo. There are other GOATs and other farm animals, but he’s like the biggest GOAT. The GOAT that runs the whole petting zoo.”
As for the man himself? Tom Brady is never one to talk himself up, and when the question of whether he was the greatest of all time was posed to him, Brady responded with the careful thought and magnanimity we all know and love him for.
“I don’t think anything about a personal legacy. I mean, those words would never come out of my mouth unless I just repeated them. Those things have never been important to me.”
The only thing that’s as impressive as Tom Brady’s throwing stats is the Californian-born quarterback’s longevity. Since being drafted by the Patriots in round six of the 2000 NFL Draft, Tom Brady has played in the last 17 NFL seasons (15 of those as a starter), and his passer rating for last season, 112.2, is the second-highest in his NFL career.
This is in part due to Brady’s strict lifestyle; Brady has admitted in the past he goes to sleep at 8:30 just to stay youthful, and his personal chef claimed that the 39-year-old no longer consumes sugar, dairy or caffeine, and has even limited tomatoes to the point he now only has one a month. Robert Kraft admitted that Brady’s diet has helped him to stay at the top for so long. Recalling the aftermath of the Patriots’ first Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks in 2002, Kraft hailed his dedication to the game.
“I remember after our first Super Bowl in ‘01 [the 2001/02 season], going down in the training room in the old Foxboro Stadium, three days after we won, he’s in there with the music blaring working out. He’s really dedicated. The thing that’s amazing about him, to this day he hasn’t changed as a human being in how he relates to people, but also how he works out. The only thing that’s probably changed 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.”
If Tom Brady ended up playing for another seven years, he wouldn’t be the first quarterback to be playing American football on the wrong side of 40. Vinny Testaverde played for the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns in his career, and played until he was 44 years old.
George Blanda is one of only two players to play in four different decades, and he was 48 when he decided to hang up his boots (though his latter years were spent primarily as a kicker). One thing that’s for certain, though; Tom Brady is already considered to be one of the best quarterbacks to play the game, and if he continues to add to his trophy haul in the next seven years, there can be no doubt that he’s the greatest of all time.