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 come up with a list of history’s greatest quarterbacks as a comparison. Each week, we’ll look at the final three seasons of a different quarterback versus what Brady has done with the Bucs in, presumably, his final three seasons.
It’s not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, because there are differences in eras and most quarterbacks are retired long before 45. But it does give you an idea of how rare it is to see a player still dominating while holding off middle age.
Brady vs. Favre
The set-up: His off-field reputation has taken a beating in the past year, but at the time of his retirement Brett Favre stood favorably among the best quarterbacks in history. He won three consecutive MVP awards from 1995-97 and passed Dan Marino on the all-time passing-yardage list. He was, in some ways, the antithesis of Brady. While Brady managed the game as well as any quarterback, Favre was a more creative and daring passer. That explains why his career interception rate is nearly twice as high as Brady’s.
The end: There was a time when Favre was considered the greatest over-40 quarterback the NFL had ever known. He had a one-off season with the Jets in 2008 before taking the Vikings within three points of the Super Bowl the following season. Favre threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions and finished fourth in MVP voting at age 40 in 2009. By 2010, the wheels had fallen off. The Vikings were 4-7 when a shoulder injury in early December essentially ended his career.
Completed 923 of 1,411 passes with 66 touchdowns and 48 interceptions for 10,183 yards and a 88.1 passer rating. Was 26-19 as a starter.
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Brady in Week 12: Brady’s allure has always been the scoreboard more than the stat sheet. In that sense, he failed miserably against the Browns in a 23-17 overtime loss on Sunday. While he threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, he was lacking in the clutch. After taking a 17-10 lead, the offense failed to score on seven consecutive drives with Brady missing deep passes and showing poor clock management.
Has completed 1,197 of 1,799 passes with 97 touchdowns and 26 interceptions for 13,000 yards and a 99.6. passer rating. Is 29-15 as a starter.
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