Tom Brady continues to drop hints about delaying retirement for the foreseeable future. Now in his 22nd year, the 44-year-old quarterback is hinting that he could play until he touches 50. In a conversation with Rob Gronkowski for the Bucs' social media outlets, Brady said that he believes he can keep going till he's 50 years old.
Ageless Tom Brady still playing at an elite level
For most normal human beings, contemplating playing in the NFL at 50 is laughable. But Brady is no mere mortal.
All veteran quarterbacks eventually hit a decline. Drew Brees didn't throw a pass over 30 yards in 2020. Peyton Manning's decline was visible as the Broncos carried him to a Super Bowl title in February 2016.
After some understandably teething problems early in his Tampa Bay career, Brady is now shining in Bruce Arians' offense. The former Patriots star led the league last season in big-time throws, per PFF. He made five big-time throws against the Cowboys in Week 1 and his intended air yards number is higher now than it was in 2019.
No one should (or can) question Brady's arm. He is slinging the ball around with more velocity in 2021 than he did in 2019. Those numbers show no signs of regression or decline. If anything, they display that Brady is arguably getting better at age 44.
Brady is now a big-time thrower. He is on the same level as Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, as far as the deep ball is concerned. However, it is more than the velocity that's dictating Brady's upward trend.
The NFL's most storied QB is still learning new tricks. Peyton Manning famously disliked the use of pre-snap motion when he joined the Broncos. Because of the NFL's new fetish for pre-snap motion, some felt it might not mesh with Brady's style of offense. Brady, though, is comfortable using pre-snap movement to give himself a decisive edge.
Brady was always a cerebral quarterback. He's developed that side of the game even more in Tampa. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is providing Brady with more tools to utilize in games.
Pair all of that alongside inherent traits such as accuracy, timing, and a quick-release, and you get a perfect recipe to conquer the league. Brady is arguably a more rounded quarterback at 44. Indeed, he is a better quarterback now than he was ten years ago.
The 44-year-old version of Tom Brady might be the best version we've ever seen. His arm velocity is still there. He's adapting to modern NFL offensive concepts, and his brain is two steps ahead of everyone else. No wonder Brady thinks he can play at 50.