Could this be the final NFL season that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady plays? That’s the belief of at least one analyst and probably the hope of many “anti-Patriots” football fans of the world. At 40-years-old, Brady is no spring chicken, but he has still shown his ability to make big plays and even lead big comebacks. After the team’s comeback from down 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons in the most recent Super Bowl, it has led many to believe Brady is far from done. However, one Fox Sports analyst believes he’s closer to done than most Patriots fans want to believe.
On a recent episode of FS1’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Rob Parker stopped by to give his thoughts on the New England Patriots. During his time on the show, Parker brought up several of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victories and how he feels they were more “luck-based” rather than a reflection of Brady’s greatness. Among the examples he gives is the Seattle Seahawks’ failure to rush the ball in the end zone on their late-game play. Parker also mentioned the Atlanta Falcons still being ahead eight points in the Super Bowl and going for a passing play rather than taking the field goal to go ahead by 11 points.
Parker asked Colin if he saw Brady’s performance against the Houston Texans during last year’s playoffs, and Colin agreed he didn’t look nearly as good as the Brady of past. Parker suggested that time is catching up to Brady, before declaring he thinks this is his final NFL season.
“No. And Father Time has never been defeated. And people think Tom Brady is going to just defy what everybody else has gone through. It’s not going to happen. Colin, this will be Tom Brady’s last year with the Patriots.”
Cowherd agreed with Parker that it’s “not outrageous” to believe this. Just last night, Brady and the New England Patriots dropped a 42-27 opening home game to Alex Smith and the Kansas Chiefs. Smith shined at Foxborough, going 28-for-35 with 368 yards and four touchdowns thrown. Brady was unable to throw any touchdowns, went 16-for-36, and had 267 yards, with a quarterback rating of 45.7 for the game. Still, some analysts will also contend that the Patriots’ defense played as poorly as fans may have seen in recent memory, allowing the Chiefs to explode for big-time offensive plays. It may not be all Brady’s fault, although he seemed unable to lead one of his classic comebacks at home. Still, it was just Week 1, and he’s got time to emerge as the Tom Brady everyone knows and loves.
Or will he? As mentioned, Brady is now 40-years-old. He’s managed to keep himself in excellent health through his career, thanks to strict diet and training regimens as well as other health concepts. All of that is summed up in the new book he published. Brady also holds a record as the “oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.” Brady surpassed previous record holder John Elway of the Denver Broncos, who won a Super Bowl at 38-years-old. He’s managed to defy expectations time and again, maybe partly due to luck, but maybe also due to being an incredible athlete. LeBron James is another who has shown he can continue to go through all of the vigorous aspects of his sport and still compete at a high level, year after year. James started in the professional league earlier, though. He’s just 32, and will probably retire before age 40.
Could New England’s Tom Brady become the oldest quarterback to ever play in an NFL game, though? The current record holder for that aspect of the game is Steve DeBerg, who was 44-years-and-279-days-old when he played back in 1998, according to Sports Illustrated. Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde also had starts at quarterback when they were just over 44-years-old, giving Brady four years to catch them and five to eclipse DeBerg if he decides to. It’s worth mentioning that at age 44, DeBerg went 9-for-20 for 117 yards with no touchdowns. He was also sacked three times and picked off once in the Falcons’ 28-3 loss to the New York Jets. Parker could have a good point in suggesting Brady should hang up the cleats while he still has his pride rather than trying to extend his playing career too far.
As mentioned, last night was just the first game of a New England Patriots’ season with 15 more games to be played. As Colin Cowherd points out in a new video posted to Twitter, Malcolm Mitchell, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola were all out, while Rob Gronkowski was shut down by the Chiefs’ defense. Cowherd also mentions it’s a season with new players for Brady to adjust to throwing to and playing with. That includes former New Orleans Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, who has been an impressive player. Cowherd basically noted that people “shouldn’t sell their stock in the Patriots” just yet. The team is still listed as the favorites to win the next Super Bowl at Vegas Insider. Rob Parker probably believes if they do, it will be Brady’s last one, and probably due to “luck.”
Keep in mind that Rob Parker has been famously known to continue to label Brady as the “L.O.A.T” (luckiest of all-time), rather than the greatest of all time, so his comments should certainly be taken with a grain of salt. While he doesn’t say Brady is terrible and seems to respect his quarterback skills, Parker may be among the leaders of the “Patriots haters club” for many fans who prefer other teams to New England. However, it’s hard to argue that “father time” doesn’t catch up with most professional athletes eventually. The same is true even for Tom Brady, who will need to step away from the field at some point soon. That could be after this season if another Lombardi trophy is achieved. The good news is that heir apparent Jimmy Garoppolo seems capable of at least stepping into the mix to lead the team into their future.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]