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The only records left for Tom Brady to break are his own

The Bucs quarterback is lapping the field when it comes to playoff victories for quarterbacks who have passed their 40th birthday.
The Bucs' Tom Brady (12) on Sunday became the oldest starting quarterback to win a playoff game, breaking his own record. Yet again.
The Bucs' Tom Brady (12) on Sunday became the oldest starting quarterback to win a playoff game, breaking his own record. Yet again. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jan. 16|Updated Jan. 17

TAMPA — The milestones keep looming larger. And grayer.

When the Bucs beat the Eagles 31-15 on Sunday, Tom Brady became the oldest starting quarterback to win a playoff game. He broke the record he set last season. And in 2020.

In fact, there have been only 12 playoff games won by a starting quarterback past the age of 40, and Brady is now responsible for 10 of them. In honor of his unique sense of middle age, we’re taking a look at every quarterback who has thrown a pass in a playoff game over the age of 40. Statistics are based on Pro Football Reference research.

Charlie Conerly

It was bad news for the Giants when Conerly became the first 40-year-old quarterback to appear in an NFL playoff game in 1961. Starting quarterback Y.A. Tittle had been intercepted four times by the Packers in the NFL Championship Game when Conerly was thrown to the wolves. He completed 4 of 8 passes for 54 yards in the 37-0 loss. It was the final game of Conerly’s career.

George Blanda

George Blanda, 43, was a substitue quarterback and kicking specialist for the Raiders late in his career.
George Blanda, 43, was a substitue quarterback and kicking specialist for the Raiders late in his career. [ Associated Press (1971) ]

A one-time NFL passing champion, Blanda was mostly a placekicker by the time the Raiders played the Colts in the 1970 season AFC title game. He was pressed into service as a quarterback when Daryle Lamonica was crushed by Bubba Smith in the second quarter.

Blanda, who was 43 at the time, nearly outdueled Johnny Unitas in the second half. He was 17 of 32 for 271 yards and two touchdowns but also threw three interceptions in the 27-17 loss. Blanda came in relief four times in his 40s in the playoffs and had six interceptions in 45 pass attempts.

Sonny Jurgensen

Sonny Jurgensen's final season was 1974.
Sonny Jurgensen's final season was 1974. [ Associated Press (1974) ]

The Hall of Famer relieved Billy Kilmer in the second half of a playoff game against the Rams in 1974 but did not fare well. The 40-year-old was 6 of 12 for 78 yards and three interceptions in Washington’s 19-10 loss. It was the final game of Jurgensen’s career.

Brett Favre

Brett Favre (4) reacts after throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice against the Cowboys.
Brett Favre (4) reacts after throwing a 45-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice against the Cowboys. [ HANNAH FOSLIEN | Associated Press (2010) ]

He had arguably the most efficient playoff game ever for a 40-plus quarterback in the 2009 season. Favre was 15 of 24 for 234 yards and four touchdowns when the Vikings beat the Cowboys 34-3. His 134.4 passer rating is the highest ever for a 40-year-old in the postseason. A week later, he was 28 of 46 for 310 yards and two interceptions in a 31-28 loss to New Orleans.

Josh McCown

Eagles quarterback Josh McCown looks to pass against the Seahawks during a wild-card playoff game in Philadelphia.
Eagles quarterback Josh McCown looks to pass against the Seahawks during a wild-card playoff game in Philadelphia. [ JULIO CORTEZ | Associated Press (2020) ]

Seventeen years after being drafted, McCown made his playoff debut at age 40 after Carson Wentz suffered a concussion in the first quarter against Seattle in the 2019 season. McCown was 18 of 24 for 174 yards in Philadelphia’s 17-9 loss. It was the final game of McCown’s career.

Drew Brees

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and Saints quarterback Drew Brees chat after Tampa Bay knocked New Orleans out of the playoffs last season.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and Saints quarterback Drew Brees chat after Tampa Bay knocked New Orleans out of the playoffs last season. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

He was five days shy of 42 when the Saints beat the Bears 21-9 last season for his only victory in four starts in the playoffs in his 40s. Brees was 28 of 39 for 265 yards and two touchdowns. A week later, he was 19 of 34 with three interceptions in a 30-20 loss to the Bucs. It was the final game of Brees’ career.

Tom Brady

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) prepares to throw a pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) pressures during the first quarter of Sunday's game.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) prepares to throw a pass as Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) pressures during the first quarter of Sunday's game. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

How much distance is there between Brady and every other 40-something quarterback in NFL playoff history? Well, Brady has averaged 302.1 passing yards in his 12 postseason starts since turning 40. The only other quarterback to top 300 yards in a game is Favre. And he did it once. Brady isn’t just the standard in the number of games (12), wins (10), touchdown passes (22) and yards (3,626), he’s lapped the field in all of those categories.

John Romano can be reached at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.

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