In general, professional sports are a young person’s world; by the time an athlete hits their late 30s, they’re usually counting down the days until retirement. Drew Brees and Tom Brady, however, play by their own rules. Both quarterbacks are still going strong, even though their 40th birthday is already in the rearview mirror.
In the NFC Divisional round, Drew Brees and Tom Brady will face off in what’s joking been referred to as a ‘History Channel’ matchup. With that billing in mind, which one of the quarterbacks is actually older?
Tom Brady entered the NFL in 2000 and never looked back
These days, Tom Brady has earned a reputation as arguably the greatest quarterback that pro football has ever seen. At one point, though, he didn’t even seem like a legitimate starter.
After playing his college ball at Michigan, Brady entered the 2000 NFL draft; when the sixth round rolled around, the Patriots decided to take a flyer on the quarterback. While no one expected much—Robert Kraft remembered the rookie as a “skinny beanpole,” and Drew Bledsoe thought he’d be a career backup—Brady had other plans.
During the Patriots’ second game of the 2001 campaign, Bledsoe left the game after absorbing a heavy hit from Mo Lewis; that put Brady in charge of the offense. He started the team’s next game and, from there, the rest is history.
While he’s obviously changed teams since then, Brady is still going strong in his 21st NFL season. Along the way, he’s won more than 200 regular-season games and, of course, six Super Bowl titles. The quarterback has also taken home three NFL MVP awards, been named to 14 Pro Bowls, and earned just about every honor imaginable.
Drew Brees has proved the doubters wrong during his 20 NFL campaigns
Tom Brady isn’t the only quarterback who overcame plenty of questions to become an NFL star. Drew Brees had a similar experience.
Coming out of high school, Brees didn’t receive much attention from big-name NCAA programs; he ended up taking his talents to Purdue, where he posted eye-popping offensive numbers. When it came time to turn pro, however, NFL scouts were still skeptical if a short quarterback who thrived in the spread offense could cut it in the NFL.
Brees eventually joined the San Diego Chargers as a second-round draft pick and took over the starting job during his sophomore campaign. His issues weren’t over yet, though. In 2004, the Chargers acquired Philip Rivers; while Brees retained the top job, he suffered a career-threatening torn labrum the following year.
After that injury, it didn’t look like much of a market for Brees; he didn’t accept the Chargers incentive-based offer and ended up joining the New Orleans Saints in free agency. That move ended up making all the difference.
Brees and head coach Sean Payton ended up forming quite the partnership, and the Saints grew into the class of the NFC South. While he hasn’t quite found the same level of postseason success as Tom Brady, he’s still had quite the carer; the Saints quarterback has piled up more than 570 passing touchdowns, won a Super Bowl title, and earned a place in 13 Pro Bowls.
Tom Brady is slightly older than Drew Brees
By professional sports standards, both Tom Brady and Drew Brees are both pretty old. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, however, still holds seniority among the two men.
Brees was born on January 15, 1979, meaning he just turned 42-years old. Brady was born on August 3, 1977, making him a little more than a year older than his fellow quarterback. The latter signal-caller also entered the NFL one year earlier, giving him the edge in years of service.
As the cliche says, though, age is only a number. During the NFC Divisional round, both Tom Brady and Drew Brees will prove that to be true.
Stats courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference