While many NFL fans believe Tom Brady will continue throwing touchdowns forever, the seven-time Super Bowl champion already has an eye on the future – and the future is now.
The 44-year-old Tom Brady opened his 22nd season in pro football by throwing four TD passes and leading his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a nail-biting 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Thursday night's kickoff. Brady recorded the highest grade of all quarterbacks in Week 1, despite his two interceptions.
While Tom Brady is performing like an ageless wonder, he is clearly beginning to pay attention to the league's rising stars – all five first-round rookie passers made touchdown plays in Week 1 – and the GOAT can see an NFL when he is a footnote in history.
"I don't remember this many rookies playing," Tom Brady said on SiriusXM's NFL Radio show 'Let's Go', as reported by the Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud.
He later added: "I'll be forgotten here soon. I'll move on and they'll be onto someone else but that's just the way football goes, as does life."
Which young quarterbacks did Tom Brady namecheck?
Tom Brady called out eight young playmakers that caught his eye in Week 1 in the radio interview. The Bucs signal-caller is clearly paying attention to the next generation and not just the rookies.
"Even the second-year guys," Tom Brady added. "Tua [Tagovailoa], [Justin] Herbert, [Joe] Burrow, Trevor Lawrence, [Justin] Fields played a little bit. Trey Lance played a little bit. Zach Wilson is playing. Mac Jones is playing."
"That's a lot of young quarterbacks. Gone are the days of Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning. You know, these are the guys I'm used to hearing about."
Second-year QBs Tagovailoa, Herbert and Burrow led their respective Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals teams to Week 1 wins, while rookies Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Mac Jones all made their first NFL starts and threw their first touchdowns. Trey Lance and Justin Fields also came off the bench to each add a touchdown.
Tom Brady has put together a glittering Hall of Fame career and outlasted all his peers from his earlier NFL days, but he knows the current crop of young passers will be around long after he hangs up his cleats for the final time.
They will be the ones carrying the torch for the NFL, and it seems Tom Brady feels the NFL is in good hands.