Tom Brady: NFL Now 'A Little More of a Skills Competition' Than a Football Game

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady takes the field before an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The NFL is filled with elite young quarterbacks, but Tom Brady believes rule changes have made the game easier for the new generation of passers.

"I think the game's changed a little bit from when I started," Brady told Erin Andrews on Fox NFL Sunday. "I think it's a little more of a skills competition than necessarily a football game."

Though the New England Patriots quarterback clarified the sport is "still hard-hitting and hard-nosed," he argued that defensive penalties help reward bad offensive play.

"For a quarterback, I should be responsible for protecting my receivers. I shouldn't throw the ball in certain placed if I know they're going to get hit," he said. "I think a lot of quarterbacks now, they just throw it."

The league inserted a rule in 2018 that lowering a helmet to initiate contact is a penalty, which was called 16 times all of 2018. So far in 2019, it's already been called 24 times per Pro Football Reference. Offenses can benefit from an illegal hit by the defense with a first down that extends drives even if it was a poor pass or decision by the quarterback.

Defensive holding has also been called at a historic rate this season (1.01 per game).

Of course, Brady has also taken advantage by continuing to play at a high level. He had three Super Bowl wins and four Pro Bowl selections in his first nine years in the league but also three Super Bowl titles and 10 Pro Bowl selections in his last 10.

While younger quarterbacks have put up huge numbers, Brady has remained among the best in the league each year of his career.

The challenge is staying ahead of the competition when rule changes have made things easier for everyone.