Tom Brady’s 40th Birthday: Is He Set For Future Success At His Age?
The Patriot’s against-all-odds comeback victory on Super Bowl Sunday rocked the sports world and got people talking. No other team in 50 years of Super Bowls had ever come back from a deficit of more than 10 points. During the Super Bowl itself, when Brady directed his passes to rookie players like newcomer Malcolm Mitchell, a wide receiver who had 7 catches and 70 yards against the Falcons, helping tip the odds back in the Patriots’ favor. As far as stellar performances from players other than Brady, we can look to none other than running back James White, who ended up scoring 20 of the Patriots’ 34 points on Super Bowl night, setting the record for most points scored by a single individual in the Super Bowl. White gave the team a pivotal two-point conversion and three touchdowns, one of which included the Patriots’ game-winning touchdown in the final play.
The man himself, Tom Brady, has a pretty impressive track record that shows a successful history as a Patriots QB. Brady has a 63.8% average completion rate, 61,582 yards, and 456 touchdowns accumulated over his career. But Sunday’s game shattered records and put Brady into the stratosphere of sports moguls. After the Patriots’ victory, Brady broke the record for most Super Bowl rings by a quarterback, at 5. The game saw the most pass attempts and completed passes (62 and 43 respectively), and the most passing yards at 466. Brady beat Joe Montana’s record when he was awarded Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time. Brady also has the all-time highest number of game-winning drives in the postseason, with 10. Finally, Sunday’s amazing comeback was nothing unfamiliar to Brady, as he is the only QB with now threeSuper Bowl fourth-quarter comebacks.
There’s been a lot of publicity surrounding the Patriots in recent years. The Deflategate in 2015, the infamous allegation of the Patriots using deliberately underinflated footballs to gain an unfair advantage in-game, a move which saw NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspending Brady for four games. In a more political context, the fairly well-known longstanding friendship between the current controversial president Donald Trump and Brady (as well as Belichick) has cast some negative light on the Patriots as a whole, and made some Patriots fans who don’t support Trump uncomfortable.
The victory marks the fifth Super Bowl that Brady has won during his 17-year stint as quarterback for the Patriots. Brady, 39, is no spring chicken, and while the four-time MVP winner has seemingly defied Father Time even until now, all good things must come to an end. This most recent victory has so many asking: should Brady keep playing or end his career on a high note? Can he keep this winning streak going?
The question should be: why not?
Brady shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon; his Sunday performance proved he can still keep up with his younger counterparts and run circles around his competition. The unparalleled synergy between Brady and Belichick has propelled the team to massive success and made the Patriots a powerhouse of a team and formidable opponent. NFL reporter Ian Rapaport tweeted that the Patriots, who currently have Brady signed to be on the team until the 2019 season, are looking to extend Brady next offseason, and believe he could play three to five additional years. Brady stated in 2015 that he wished to play until he was 45, which, if he gets the additional play time, could see him becoming the oldest quarterback in the NFL’s history.
But what roadblocks could he face? The most obvious issue would be the health and injury risks that come with age. Brady, who will be starting the 2017-2018 season on the wrong side of 40, won’t be able to play at such a high level indefinitely, and his diet and workout habits must be optimized to make the most of his remaining years with the Patriots. Diminishing health played a major part in Peyton Manning’s 2016 retirement at the age of 39; it’s imperative that Brady and Patriots consider this and plan accordingly. Brady has also been troubled lately with his mother’s health, addressing concerns about her 18-month battle with serious illness. Staying mentally in the game while also worrying about what his family is going through will also undoubtedly bring its own set of challenges.
So could Tom Brady win another trophy for New England? Anything could happen, but it’s highly likely. Brady, while facing a new set of challenges, is still such an asset to the team; if they play their cards right, another Brady-era Patriots Super Bowl victory could be waiting right around the corner.