NFL

How Realistic is Tom Brady’s Goal of Playing Football After 45?

Football is one of the toughest pro sports leagues when it comes to player longevity; the average career length is about 3.3 years. Most NFL players are lucky just to make it into their thirties. Yet over the course of NFL history, a surprising number of players have made it into the 40-and-over club, including Jerry Rice, Adam Vinatieri, and George Blanda.

Former Patriot and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is also a member of that club, at 42 years old. Recently, Brady has openly expressed his intent to continue playing football until after the age of 45. Let’s look at Brady’s intense discipline and focus. Is his goal realistic?

Brady’s competitive nature

NFL player Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on during a practice round
NFL player Tom Brady plays golf | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images for The Match

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Brady easily ranks among the most talented quarterbacks to ever hit the field, with most analysts concurring that at this point he has more than claimed the GOAT status. Yet a player can’t rely on talent alone to propel them into the 40s. To overcome the difficulties of aging, a player has to be especially competitive and driven. Brady is exactly that kind of player.

Over the course of his time in the league, Brady has exhibited that competitiveness on countless occasions. A slew of former teammates have publicly stated expressed their awe for Brady’s desire to win, with Darrelle Revis even going so far as to call it a “sickness.” Brady’s competitive streak extends well beyond just football to seemingly innocent pastimes like tennis and backgammon, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Apparently, on one occasion Brady’s teammates even convinced him to participate in a beer-chugging competition, which he naturally won. He later replicated the feat in an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Brady’s insane discipline

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Like talent, competitive drive alone isn’t enough to hold back the hands of Father Time. As the body ages, a player must put more and more effort into their fitness and health regimens. In other words, only through extreme discipline can extreme drive continue to survive in the ultra-competitive world of the NFL.

Once again, Brady has proved himself more than up to the challenge. Brady has an intense and well-documented workout regimen to help keep his body strong and limber. He also dedicates a portion of each day to doing brain exercises designed to improve visual perception and fast-twitch reflexes.

Brady also has one of the strictest diets in all of pro sports — one he sticks to with religious zeal. Brady’s diet consists of 80% percent vegetables while keeping sugar to an absolute minimum. Portions are strictly controlled. Furthermore, Brady is careful not to eat certain food types at the same time, for instance always consuming proteins and carbs separately.

Can Brady play until after 45?

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Extreme fitness and diet routines are an absolute necessity for a player of Brady’s advanced age. Simply put, he has leveraged every bit of scientific research about health and nutrition to the utmost advantage. Even so, it’s only a matter of time before Brady eventually reaches his body’s point of no return. But when exactly will that time come?

Nobody has been as optimistic as Brady himself. Initially, he had projected 45 as a realistic goal. As recently as last November, however, Brady himself was reported as having talked about making it to 46 or 47. On the one hand, it’s hard to argue against a man who’s won six Super Bowls. But it’s also becoming increasingly hard to imagine what else Brady hopes to accomplish with his career.

Many speculate that he has his sights on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees‘s all-time record for most passing yards. If Brady can squeeze out another four or five seasons without his athleticism dropping off too much, he has a real chance to end up passing Brees and cementing his legacy as the greatest quarterback of all time.