This past weekend, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King sat down with Tom Brady somewhere in the depths of Montana to talk about the Super Bowl, what’s next, etc. Brady talked about everything from how great he’s feeling, to his family and even when he’ll start pondering retirement. Here are excerpts from the story regarding his retirement:
"I’d like to play until my mid-forties. Then I’ll make a decision. If I’m still feeling like I’m feeling today, who knows? Now those things can always change. You do need long-term goals too...I know next year is not going to be my last year...I have the answers to the test now. You can’t surprise me on defense. I’ve seen it all. Now I really know what to do, I don’t want to stop. This is when it’s really enjoyable to go out.
"I don't ever want to play for another coach. I don't want to play for another owner...But this is professional sports. I've seen some of the best players I've ever played with on other teams. You never know. That's why I want to keep taking care of what I need to take care of."
The other 31 teams almost certainly crapped themselves upon reading that. Mid forties? Brady did say that a couple of years ago, but that was before he, somehow, got even better. No football player, especially a quarterback of all positions, is supposed to play until they’re 45. That’s not how the sport works. From the weekly and frequent beatings that football players take, the excruciating number of hours of preparation, the constant pressure that they’re under to succeed and the hate and criticism that they receive, nobody is supposed to enjoy all of that for nearly twenty years. Brady’s different. Despite all of the shit that he’s been through over the last several years, he remains as motivated and determined as ever to keep on playing, and winning.
Any player who is sabotaged by the league commissioner and media outlets in such a way, who is so universally hated and despised, who has been through hell and back both on and off the field, who has been wrongfully accused of so much throughout their career, isn’t supposed to have that drive to continue to perform. No regular person’s mind, body and soul works that way, but Tom Brady isn’t a normal person, as we all now officially know.
Brady is easily the greatest quarterback of all time, and anyone who argues against that is either ignorant, biased, plain stupid or a combination of all three. He still isn’t satisfied with all that he’s accomplished in his illustrious professional career. That’s why I firmly believe his word when he says that he’s nowhere near finished. He’s won five Super Bowls, and four Super Bowl MVPs. He set an NFL record with a 28 touchdown-2 interception ratio in 2016. He is ranked third in career passer rating, and is fourth on the list of career passing completions, passing yards and passing touchdowns. He’s won 183 regular season games, and has 25 postseason victories in 34 games under his belt. He’s led a total of 50 game-winning drives in his career, and 10 in the postseason, just to name a few of his attainments. Brady has that burning desire in him to be even better, if that’s even possible.
The best thing about all of this? Brady says he wants to play until his mid-40s, but even moreso he’s trying to play past that point. Will that happen? Who knows. Injuries can happen at any second; bodies work in weird ways. There’s always a possibility that something gets in the way of it all. But, if there are no roadblocks along the way, I see no reason as to why he can’t keep going for as long as his body allows him to. Even if he plays half as good as he’s currently playing, he’s still better than 50-60% of current NFL quarterbacks and can still win you football games. If you’re wondering whether or not New England should and/or will trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo, there’s your answer.
Aging quarterbacks have a reputation of playing like hot garbage, as you’d probably guess. Guys like Peyton Manning and Brett Favre had great careers before they turned 40. Rightfully so, people start frequently questioning great athletes’ ability once their clock strikes forty. Rarely do you see an athlete in any sport play at an incredibly high level, performing in such a way at such an old age. As the years go by, Brady literally gets better. He’s the sports equivalent of Benjamin Button, if you will. I can’t picture a scenario where Brady goes from playing the best football of his career one year, setting and breaking countless records along the way, to turning into a crippling senior citizen in full pads on a football field.
Brady has taken such good care of his body in recent years, he’s pretty much built himself to last until his mid-40s. That’s incredible. We can joke about his avocado ice cream and his strange trainers like there’s no tomorrow, but whatever he does on a day-to-day basis during the football and off season, it’s working wonders. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen someone so dedicated and determined like this guy is. People began questioning whether or not he was done for back when he tore his ACL in 2008, and now look where we are nearly a decade later. The dude is a god among peasants.
Whether you like him or not, there’s no denying that Brady is defying any and all previous laws of the human body and life. He’s not slowing down, and it’s time for people to face the facts and start accepting that. Bash him all you want to try and bring him down (*cough* Roger Goodell *cough*), but at the end of the day, you’re only pouring fuel onto his already raging motivation wildfire. So many people have doubted him for so long, and now they’re facing the consequences. Sit back, relax and watch Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. make the most insane of history in the coming years.