OPINION: Brady once again beats Father Time

Tanner+headshot

Tanner headshot

Tanner Castora

At the age of 16 you can finally drive, no more begging the rents to take you over Johnny’s house. At 18, you can vote and help decide the next president of the United States. At 21, you can discover the sweet taste of a cold, crisp Natural Light. At 24, you’ve moved away from home, figuring out how to pay your bills and live on your own. At 30, you’re starting your own family, finding a new place to call home. At 35, your professional career is beginning to hit stride. 

But at 40… you’re just old.

Forty is the milestone in life no one wants to embrace, especially if you’re an athlete. Your playing days are behind you, the awards and championships seeming more and more like distant memories. The grey hairs are beginning to appear, as the prime of your life seems to be fading away; only film and fable of what you once were.

Unless, that is, you’re Tom Brady. According to the NFL Players association, the average career length of an NFL player is just over three years long. Brady is currently playing in his 19th NFL season. The average NFL player is 26-years-old, Brady is 41. Just last year he was named  MVP, and this season he threw for over 4300 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns in the regular season.

This shouldn’t be happening.

Over his 19-year career, Brady has only played for one team, the New England Patriots. During this span, the Patriots have appeared in eight Super Bowls, winning five of them. The first one came in 2002, with the most recent one coming in 2017. They’ve had 16 straight seasons of 10+ wins.

But last week it looked as if New England’s streak of seven straight AFC Championship appearances seemed to be in jeopardy. For the first time in years, the Patriots seemed human. They seemed flawed; almost beatable.

The LA Chargers were in town last Sunday. Although they came in boasting a 12-4 record, the Chargers entered the playoffs as a wild card team, earning a trip to New England after knocking off the Baltimore Ravens on the road. Phillip Rivers was in the midst of one of his best years behind center, and had no shortage of playmakers to spread the ball to. Surely, we were in for a tight ball game. Could this be the end of Tom Brady and the Patriots as we knew them?

Please?

The answer was an emphatic no. Hell no. Not a chance. By halftime the Patriots led 31-7. They went on to cruise to a 13-point victory. Tom Brady threw for 343 yards and a touchdown. Same book, different chapter. Just another day at the office.

This Sunday, Brady and the Pats played in their eighth straight AFC Championship game, beating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime with Brady putting together a vintage overtime drive. 

I don’t like the England Patriots and I don’t like Tom Brady, but what he’s doing is astonishing. Brady has been the driving force behind the likes of a dynasty that was never thought to be possible in today’s NFL, a dynasty that has now spanned well over two decades. Of all the dominate, heroic and memorable wins in Brady’s career, none are more impressive than his destruction of father time.

Maybe age is just an idea… maybe 40 isn’t so bad after all.

 Tanner Castora is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]