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 age 45 and still performing at an elite level.
To put that in perspective, we’ve been comparing Brady each week of the 2022 season with a list of history’s greatest quarterbacks.
It was never meant to be a perfect apples-to-apples comparison because of the differences in eras. Not to mention, almost every QB we mentioned had retired long before turning 45. But it was meant to give you an idea of how rare it was to see a player still dominating while holding off middle age.
For today’s final installment, we’ll ponder what Brady has accomplished in 23 seasons, including three years in Tampa Bay, versus the entire universe of quarterbacks in their latter seasons in the NFL.
Quarterbacks in their 40s
A short list: Counting the postseason, Brady has started 110 games since turning 40, according to Pro Football Reference. To put that in perspective, that’s more games than Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Kurt Warner and Dan Fouts started in their 30s.
Most starts by QBs in their 40s, including the postseason
1. Tom Brady, 110
2. Drew Brees, 27
3. Brett Favre, 27
4. Warren Moon, 25
5. Vinny Testaverde, 25
No rocking chairs here
Checking the numbers: Not only is Brady’s longevity unmatched, his skill set has remained elite. Counting Sunday’s 432-yard passing effort against the Panthers, Brady has a 97.1 passer rating in his 40s. That’s better than his rating (88.4) in his 20s. The only quarterback who can top Brady’s 40-plus rating is Drew Brees at 106.6, and he threw about 3,300 fewer passes than Brady in his 40s.
Passer rating for quarterbacks in their 40s
1. Drew Brees, 106.6
2. Tom Brady, 97.1
3. Brett Favre, 90.8
4. Len Dawson, 90.0
5. Sonny Jurgensen, 86.0
(Minimum 100 passes)
Old guys and the playoffs
The bottom line: Six seasons in his 40s, six trips to the playoffs for Brady. He clinched another postseason bid on Sunday with his fourth fourth-quarter comeback of the season in the 30-24 win against Carolina. Brady has already made three trips to the Super Bowl in his 40s, winning twice. No other quarterback has started a Super Bowl in his 40s. Peyton Manning was 39 when he won a Super Bowl in his final season in Denver, and John Elway was 38 when he did the same.
Brady, so far, with the Bucs
Has completed 1,363 of 2,045 with 107 touchdowns and 33 interceptions for 14,559 yards and a 97.5 passer rating. Is 32-17 as a starter.
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