According to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady — already the oldest position player in the NFL at 39, and he won’t play another game until he’s 40 — isn’t planning on walking away from the game until he’s closer to 50 than 40.
“As recently as 2-3 days ago, he assured me he’d be willing to play six to seven more years and at the level he performed,” Kraft said Monday at the NFL’s annual meeting, per ESPN.com. “There’s no one that would be happier than I, and our fan base.”
That’s cool and all, but is it realistic?
Well, six more years would mean Brady would have to play effectively through his age-45 season. This is a list of players who have thrown at least one NFL pass after turning 45…
1. George Blanda
Blanda was no longer a regular quarterback when he threw 15 passes as a 45-year-old in 1972. It’s funny, 11 of those 15 came on Sept. 17 — his 45th birthday. A full-time kicker at that point, he threw four passes in relief later that year and seven more over the course of the next three seasons. But Blanda’s last start as a signal caller came four years earlier in 1968, when he was “just” 41.
The oldest quarterback ever to start an NFL game was Steve DeBerg, who was still three months short of his 45th birthday when he filled in for Chris Chandler for a single game in 1998. Vinny Testaverde made three starts soon after turning 44 in 2007, and Warren Moon made one start a week after his 44th birthday in 2000.
Nobody else has thrown a single pass at or beyond the age of 44, which Brady will arrive at in just four years.
Heck, only three others — Doug Flutie, Earl Morrall and Lou Groza — ever threw passes at or beyond the age of 42. Even Brett Favre and Mark Brunell were done at 41.
Brady will be 40 before he plays another game.
QBs who have started at least 1 game after turning…
45: 0 https://t.co/NeIIzvXA0m
— Brad Gagnon (@Brad_Gagnon) March 28, 2017
So no, it’s probably not realistic. But nor is it realistic for a 199th overall pick who looks like this to become the most decorated player in the history of professional football. I think we’ve all learned not to bet against that dude.