The G.O.A.T. turns 44 today, an age when most football players have been in a rocking chair for a decade, not leading teams to Super Bowl championships.
In honor of the anniversary of TB12 entering this mortal coil, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said he planned to give the quarterback the day off.
"It's amazing the fire that burns in him to do this," Arians said Monday, via Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times. "We'll throw him a bone and give him a day off."
Does Brady, who threw a fit last week during a poor practice -- punting a ball and slamming his helmet on the field in frustration -- even want a day off?
(Update: Yes, he will take the day off. Brady showed up to Bucs practice in his orange No. 12 jersey, but is not participating in team drills, per Greg Auman of The Athletic.)
As Brady turns the Big 4-4, let's take a gander at just how much of an outlier the Pliability King's pro football career has been.
Only four players in NFL history have attempted a pass at age 44 or older. Most recent: 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde: 13-28, 84 pass yards, 1 INT in Week 14, 2007 (12/9/07); Testaverde's Panthers lost 37-6 at Jacksonville.
Players age 44+ to attempt a pass in NFL history:
- CAR Vinny Testaverde, 2007, 91 pass attempts, 4 TDs, 5 INTs, 62.1 passer rating
- HOF Warren Moon, 2000 (KC), 31 pass attempts, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 38.4 passer rating
- ATL Steve DeBerg, 1998, 59 pass attempts, 3TDs, 1 INT, 80.4 passer rating
- HOF George Blanda, 1971-75 (OAK), 80 passes, 6 TDs, 7 INTs, 57.0 passer rating
Brady should break all those stats this season with the defending champs.
QBs age 44 or older are a combined 1-4 as starters all-time. The lone win: CAR Vinny Testaverde in Week 13, 2007 versus San Francisco. Testaverde was 1-2 in 2007 with Panthers after his 44th birthday. Moon was 0-1 in 2000 with Chiefs (lost Week 13 at Chargers). DeBerg was 0-1 in 1998 with Falcons (lost Week 8 at Jets). Blanda is an odd case because while he threw some passes at age 44-plus, he was a full-time kicker at that stage with the Raiders -- Daryle Lamonica and Ken Stabler were the starting QBs.
Brady isn't just an outlier in football. His accolades are transcendent for most major team sports.
Brady will be the 7th non-kicker in NFL history to play multiple games in a season age 44 or older. Among the four major sports, only the NBA (2) has had fewer players age 44+ play multiple games since 1920. The MLB has the most such players (49), but 19 occurrences happened between 1920-1960 (38.8 percent). The NHL has had eight such players.
Last year en route to his seventh Lombardi Trophy, Brady already set a bevy of age-related records at 43:
- Oldest player to play in/win Super Bowl.
- Super Bowl LV MVP: Oldest MVP in Championship Game/Series in the four major North American sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL)
- Oldest QB to start a playoff game (since at least 1950)
- Oldest player to throw a TD pass in a playoff game
- Oldest player with 40+ passing TDs in a season
In case you were curious what some other Hall of Fame QBs were doing at age 44, here is a brief list:
- Brett Favre, retired at 41, declined interest from the Rams in 2013 for an NFL return at 44.
- Peyton Manning, retired at 39, teamed with Tiger Woods and beat Brady/Phil Mickelson in golf at 44.
- John Elway, retired at 38, co-owner of Arena Football League's Colorado Crush at 44.
- Dan Marino, retired at 38, NFL analyst for CBS at 44.
- Troy Aikman, retired at 34, color commentator for Super Bowl XLV on FOX at 44.
So, yeah, Brady is plowing new ground each year that he stiff-arms Father Time into the dust. We'll be back here again next year as TB12 gears up for his age-45 season. The biggest question is whether it'll be coming off an eighth Super Bowl win or not.