Advertisement

QBs for the ages: How does Tom Brady compare to Brett Favre

A weekly feature charting Brady in his mid-40s versus the final three seasons of history’s greatest quarterbacks.
Published Nov. 27, 2022|Updated Nov. 28, 2022

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

Brett Favre celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Andre Rison during the Packers' victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 31 in New Orleans.
Brett Favre celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Andre Rison during the Packers' victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl 31 in New Orleans. [ DOUG MILLS | AP ]

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.

Favre

The Vikings were 4-7 in 2010 when a shoulder injury in early December essentially ended Brett Favre's career.
The Vikings were 4-7 in 2010 when a shoulder injury in early December essentially ended Brett Favre's career. [ WINSLOW TOWNSON | AP ]

Years: 2008-10

Ages: 39-41

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.

Brady

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin in the first quarter.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates after throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin in the first quarter. [ DAVID RICHARD | AP ]
Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Stay updated on the Buccaneers

Subscribe to our free Bucs RedZone newsletter

We’ll deliver a roundup of news and commentary on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

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.

Years: 2020-22

Ages: 43-45

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.

• • •

Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.