Robert Kraft relaying Tom Brady’s intention to play another six or seven years was . . . alarming. Brady is 39 and will be 40 when next season begins. Six more years would make him 45. Seven more years would make him 46. Math life.
But back to the “alarming” thing. As you’ve probably heard by now, quarterbacks don’t usually play to their mid-40s, and they certainly don’t play at a high level into their mid-40s. As such, it’s easy to laugh off the idea that Brady could do it.
(No it isn’t. This is Boston and a lot of people would probably bet their lives that Brady could win a Super Bowl at like 65.)
At any rate, the problem with writing off Brady’s six (or seven)-year plan is that the cases against it aren’t entirely relevant.
The list of the oldest quarterbacks in NFL history is not impressive. The top eight is led by a guy who was pretty much a kicker who played to 48 and rounded out by a hobbled Brett Favre at 41.
So in that respect, nobody has played great into their mid-40s. But it’s also worth noting that nobody great has really attempted it.
Of that list, which also includes such names as Vinny Testaverde, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie and Mark Brunell, only Favre was a starter in his final season. Steve DeBerg was retired for four-plus years and came back for one more season as a backup at 44. Pro-Bowlers like Moon and Brunell had seen their stars fade years earlier.
Basically, the super old quarterbacks sucked and good quarterbacks didn’t last until they were super old. By even reaching what he’s done now, Brady has proven to be an outlier.
The gawd Michael Hurley illustrated Brady’s prowess last season compared to other Hall of Famers (or eventual Hall-of-Famers) at age 39. Brady had the highest completion percentage (67.4) and a staggering 112.2 passer rating; the next-highest passer rating was by Moon, who posted a 91.5 mark.
The other guys? Peyton Manning sucked (9 touchdowns, 17 picks -- but one Super Bowl, nerd!) and Favre was all over the place (28 touchdowns, 15 picks), while Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen and Johnny Unitas all played eight games or fewer.
Conclusion: Even great quarterbacks can’t do what Tom Brady has done. He is one of a kind, so comparing lesser players to him when determining whether he can do something might not be the most foolproof (it’s foolproof, not full-proof; look it up) strategy .
Additionally, as Tom E. Curran pointed out Tuesday on "Quick Slants," Brady’s preparations to play into his mid-40s are over a decade in the making, dating back to what Curran estimates to be his early days with Alex Guerrero around 2005 or 2006. Curran noted that as being the time that Brady went from more traditional training and nutrition to being the pliability and hydration-obsessed freak he is today.
Do you think 2010 Brett Favre was in anywhere near the shape Brady is? Of course not. Do you think Peyton Manning had even half a right arm in the 2015 season? Of course not. Comparing Brady to old quarterbacks past is obviously a stretch from a performance standpoint, but it also is from a physical standpoint.
So yes, Brady playing at a high level until 45 or 46 would be unprecedented, but then again doing what he’s doing now is already unprecedented. We’re comparing the best to ever do it to a bunch of mortals.