With Tom Brady receiving yet another Super Bowl ring it appears that at 43 years of age, the NFL legend is still at the top of his game.
Many fans, experts, and analysts are anxiously awaiting the moment that “Father Time” has finally approached the doorstep of Brady.
When we discuss the greats of the game, most are enamored at the rise and the fall of the games’ superstars. Most Superstars have their time in the limelight for a handful of seasons and then age, injuries, and/or a change of scenery takes an inevitable toll.
Every athlete has their own story, for Brady and his NFL career, there wasn’t really a rise to greatness. He was thrown in the fire unexpectedly when he took over for former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe and in only his 18th pro start, led the Patriots to an upset of the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams for his first Super Bowl title.
The popular question for the better part of the last seven years: Is this the year Brady shows the NFL world that he no longer has “it”?
With virtually no gradual rise to greatness and no semblance of a dropoff, the question that should be brought to the table is: Does Tom Brady have a prime to his career?
Let’s break down some of Brady’s best years as an NFL Quarterback:
Ok, this one’s obvious. When most people think of Brady at his best, they think of the 16-0 perfect regular season that the Brady-led Patriots achieved, tossing 50 touchdowns and setting the single-season passing TD record for the time being. Brady took home the league MVP award but the Patriots wound up with an 18-1 record, falling one game shy of a perfect season.
So is 2007 the year we saw Brady at his absolute best?
An argument can be made for sure.
However wouldn’t it seem odd that Brady’s best was a year where the seven-time super bowl champion didn’t win?
Boasting a 14-2 record the Patriots secured their seemingly annual first-round bye heading into the postseason. Brady led the Patriots to what has often been called the greatest comeback in NFL history to win his 5th Super Bowl title.
The verdict on 2016?
Brady was arguably the most efficient we have ever seen from the future first-ballot Hall of Famer, posting the second-best quarterback rating of his career. He also showed resilience with his back against the wall, reminding the football world to never count him out. However the superstar numbers remained absent from this equation, and unlike 2007, Brady did not earn the league’s most valuable player award.
In his first season with a new team in his NFL career: Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an 11-5 record and their first playoff berth in over 12 years. Brady threw 40 touchdown passes and secured the Bucs record for most passing TDs in a single season.
He also led the Bucs to their first playoff victory in over 18 years and brought home his seventh Super Bowl title.
Doing so with an abbreviated training camp and no preseason, Brady had to learn a new playbook, adapt to a new offensive system, and become familiar with his new coaching staff and player personnel. Oh, and it should be mentioned, all on a fully torn MCL.
So… 2020 right?
Brady continues to defy the odds at 43 years of age. Taking on a new challenge and joining a team with virtually zero playoff experience. Brady’s impact went beyond the football field and into the locker room, changing the culture of a struggling franchise and elevating the whole team around him.
It wasn’t the Patriot way. It wasn’t about the stat sheet. It was about the next ring.
Ultimately there is no prime with Tom Brady.
He hasn’t “fallen off a cliff” or “doesn’t have it anymore.” He entered the game-winning. He’s still winning.