On the day the Patriots drafted Tom Brady in 2000, if you asked any Patriots fan whether they thought Brady would be the team’s quarterback in 20 years, you’d hear the same response: “Who’s Tom Brady?”
Brady has defied both expectations and logic by becoming one of the all-time greatest quarterbacks despite the odds being firmly against him. Almost as impressive as Brady’s greatness, however, is the fact that he’s still playing.
The 42-year-old is well past the point when most players retire. He gets a lot of questions about this and was recently asked about whether this annoyed him. His answer? Surprisingly, no. Let’s look at why it doesn’t bother him.
Tom Brady’s longevity
Brady is currently 42 years old and in his 20th season. If you remove his rookie year when he played sparingly and the 2008 season when he missed most of the season due to an injury, he essentially has 18 seasons where he’s played most of the year. The QB has consistently stayed in the lineup.
While his play hasn’t been optimal this season, he’s playing at a very high level for someone his age. A big part of Brady’s longevity is his diet and fitness regimen. Brady has an almost unconscionable diet that most normal people could quite simply not keep up with.
His approach to fitness and nutrition created the foundation for his “TB12” lifestyle business, which promotes a specific type of healthy eating and conditioning. Whether you agree with his approach to wellness or not, it’s hard to argue with his specific results.
The Patriots’ recent struggles
While Brady is regarded by many as the greatest quarterback to ever play the game, his team has had its fair share of issues this season. Despite a 10-3 record, the Patriots are succeeding largely due to their defense.
Over the first eight games, the Patriots’ offensive futility wasn’t as noticeable because the team kept winning. But according to USA Today, this changed from weeks 9-14:
“Over the first half of this NFL season, the Patriots led the league is scoring with 250 points, averaging 31.3 points per game. The team was 8-0. However, after the midway point, the team isn’t nearly as efficient.
Since Week 9, the Patriots rank 30 of 32 NFL teams in scoring with 88 points. Over the last five games, this offense is averaging 17.6 points per game. In that span, the Pats are 2-3.”
With Brady as the leader of the team and offense, questions about his performance — and advanced age — will naturally mount as they struggle to score points.
Why Tom Brady doesn’t get annoyed when people talk about his age
In an NBC interview, Brady was asked whether he found it annoying to discuss his age. He said it is a great privilege to play as long as he has. Brady’s perspective is interesting. Few NFL players have made it to the other side of 40, with the average career lasting a handful of years at best.
While Brady’s long success is in no way due only to luck — there’s preparation, conditioning, and overall physical fitness that factor into it — he certainly has been lucky as well. Brady has had only one major injury, staying healthy for most of his career.
Brady also played behind a tremendous offensive line that protects him well. Couple that with the NFL’s increasingly protective stance on when and how defenders can hit quarterbacks, and he’s been extremely fortunate. It’s part of the reason why Brady approaches the age question with so much humility and grace.