QBs for the ages: How does Tom Brady compare to Bart Starr?

·2 min read

Yes, Tom Brady is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. And touchdowns. And almost every other passing statistic. But what is remarkable — what sets him apart from most athletes in most sports — is that he is still playing at 45 and still performing at an elite level.

To put that in perspective, we’ve come up with a list of history’s greatest quarterbacks as a comparison. Each week, we’ll look at the final three seasons of a different quarterback versus what Brady has done with the Bucs in, presumably, his final three seasons.

It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, because there are differences in eras and most quarterbacks are retired long before 45. But it does give you an idea of how rare it is to see a player still dominating while holding off middle age.

Brady vs. Starr

The set-up: Before Brady, before Joe Montana, before Terry Bradshaw, there was Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers. He does not have the cumulative stats of a lot of great quarterbacks, but Starr was a beast in big games. He went 9-1 in the postseason, winning five NFL championships and posting a 104.8 passer rating.

The end: Like Brady and Bill Belichick, Starr will forever be linked with Vince Lombardi. Unlike Brady, he never won on his own. After going 77-25-5 as a starter under Lombardi, Starr was 14-17 without his Hall of Fame coach from 1968-71. Starr led the NFL in passer rating as a 35-year-old, but his career was finished by the time he was 37.

Starr

Years: 1969-71

Ages: 35-37

Completed 256 of 448 passes with 17 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for 3,092 yards and a 70.6 passer rating. Was 14-17 as a starter.

Brady

Brady in Week 2: Like the week before against Dallas, this was not a classic Brady performance. To be fair, he had to play a fair amount of the game without his top three receivers. And there were a handful of drops by Scotty Miller and Ko Kieft. When the moment was right, Brady threw a beautiful touch pass to Breshad Perriman in the back of the end zone for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

Years: 2020-22

Ages: 43-45

Has completed 922 of 1,390 passes with 85 touchdowns and 25 interceptions for 10,351 yards and a 101.3 passer rating. Is 26-9 as a starter.

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