According to the NFL Players Association, the average NFL career is approximately 3.5 years. Tom Brady is entering his 15th season in the NFL.
On May 8, the New England Patriots drafted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. This was the earliest the Patriots have selected a quarterback since 1993, when the team drafted Patriots Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick.
With Tom Brady’s age, the new young quarterback and the fact that this season marks the 10-year anniversary since the Patriots' last Super Bowl victory, you would think that signs are pointing toward the end of the Brady era in New England.
Not so fast. We saw a similar situation play out just three years ago.
The Patriots drafted Ryan Mallet early in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft. People began to wonder if the Patriots were planning for Brady’s departure. Shortly after, however, Kurt Warner was quoted by NBC Sports having said, “I did text Tom Brady after this pick and he wanted me to know for sure that he was planning on playing 10 more years.”
Now, of course, we are talking three years later, and the NFL average retirement age is certainly here for Brady. But do not dismiss his love for the game. As long as Brady can help a team win, he will play.
Remember Brett Favre? Let’s hope Tom Brady’s road is not as rocky, but Favre played until he was 41 years old, which gives hope for another four seasons from Brady. Former quarterbacks Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde all played in the NFL until they were 44.
Former Oakland Raiders quarterback George Blanda holds the NFL record for seasons played with 26. If Brady is shooting for that mark, we would be watching him for another 12 seasons. OK, maybe that is a bit unrealistic, but it is not far-fetched to think that Brady could stay in the game another five years.
“It’s hard to explain this to people, but the commitment I make, in terms of keeping my body in shape and my nutrition right, should make me healthy,” Brady said to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King. “I feel better today than when I was 25, and I know that’s hard for people to believe, but I do.”
Not only should we believe that he feels better, but he IS better. Brady played five full seasons in his 20s and six while in his 30s. In his 20s, Brady averaged 11.8 wins, a 61.58 completion percentage, 3,743 yards, 25.8 touchdowns and 13.2 interceptions per season. In his 30s so far, Brady has averaged 12.8 wins, a 64.93 completion percentage, 4,585 yards, 35.3 touchdowns and 9.3 interceptions per season. He has statistically improved in every category mentioned.
There’s nothing that can wake me up at 5 o’clock in the morning on a Thursday in May like getting ready for a day of football. I want to play a long time. There’s nothing I like doing that’s close to football. What’ll I do when I’m done playing? I don’t know, but I know it won’t be nearly as fun.
Bringing in another young quarterback to backup Tom Brady is never a bad move, but without an injury to Brady, just do not expect to see that young quarterback take the football field for quite some time.