BY KALLE SORBO
The preseason is finally over. The next time you’ll be sitting down to watch an NFL game it will be part of the regular season. Amidst all the drama of the preseason including injuries, quarterback competitions, potential Zeke suspensions, and more, there is still one thing on every football fan’s mind: The Tom Brady Question. Can he really do it again?
The Patriots had a highly aggressive offseason for a reigning super bowl champion. Tom Brady is going into this season with arguably the most impressive roster he has had to work with since the Pat’s near perfect run in 2007-08. They went out and acquired Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints, adding to the already stacked offense that won a Super Bowl without the most dangerous red zone target in the league, Rob Gronkowski.
Tom Brady is coming off of one of his best seasons statistically at the age of 39. He set a record for touchdown to interception ratio, throwing 28 touchdowns and only two interceptions throughout the regular season. He also stacked up 3,554 passing yards in only 12 games and boasted a beastly 112.2 quarterback rating for the season.
That doesn’t even mention the greatest Super Bowl comeback in history. If Brady hadn’t missed four games at the beginning of the season serving out his suspension for “deflategate,” he most likely would have been league MVP.
So can he do it again? The short answer is yes. Tom Brady is in incredible shape and shows no signs of slowing down. But Father Time is undefeated, and we have watched too many “Mount Rushmore” quarterbacks fall off cliffs in their last season to not have the question in the back of our heads.
Peyton Manning ended on a Super Bowl win but was a shell of his former self, and he was carried by a defense that will be remembered as one of the best. Brett Favre statistically fell off at the age of 39 as well, and John Elway retired before he even gave time the chance to tarnish his legacy.
Tom Brady has publicly stated that he thinks he can play until he is at least 45, and there isn’t much reason to not believe him. He has stayed relatively healthy his entire career and hasn’t been plagued by injuries. He is paired with the greatest coach the game has ever seen and is still protected by one of the best offensive lines in football.
That being said, Tom Brady is not invincible. He has shown signs of aging. He did not play well in the Patriots’ playoff victory against Houston last year. He also played sub-par in the first half of the Super Bowl last year. He turned around and led the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history … but the signs of age are there.
All signs are pointing to this being Brady’s swan song. For the entirety of Brady’s career, Bill Belichick has hoarded draft picks like they were the keys to life itself. Now all of a sudden this offseason he started trading them all away for proven veteran players.
Belichick seems to be trying to build a team that can win now and not thinking of the future too much. It almost feels like they are giving Tom Brady a parting gift. They know he doesn’t have too many years of his career left, and perhaps Belichick doesn’t want to coach for any other quarterback. Maybe they think they’ll load up and win two of the next few Super Bowls and ride off into the sunset a la John Elway, ‘98.
History has not been kind to quarterbacks who have played over the age of 40. But there is no reason to expect Tom Brady to not be the exception, especially when his entire career has been exactly that. Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play, and he was a 6th round pick, who theoretically shouldn’t have ever even gotten the chance to start.
You can see Tom Brady lace them up again this Thursday, Sept. 7 in the regular season opener in Foxborough at Gillette Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:30 PM ET. The NFL is back. Let’s see if the old guy has still got some more greatness in his tank.