Brady, Brees have done more than other QBs over 40 have in the NFL
The third meeting between Drew Brees and Tom Brady this season will in all likelihood be the final time these two NFL quarterbacking legends will face off on the field. One or both are expected to hang up the cleats at the conclusion of the 2020 campaign.
Both have clobbered Father Time to play football’s most important position into their 40’s.
Brady, 43, has thrown for 79,204 career yards, 581 touchdown passes and 191 interceptions. He’s tallied 25 additional scores as a runner. This past season, he compiled 4,633 passing yards on 65.7% passing with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his first season with the Bucs. He has 230 career wins with just 69 losses. A six-time Super Bowl champion, he was the game’s MVP four times and the NFL MVP on three occasions.
I could go on and out. It’s Tom Brady. We all know his greatness.
Brees, set to turn 42 years old in a few days, led the Black and Gold to a Super Bowl XLIV championship as game MVP. Twice tabbed the NFL Offensive Player of the Year, he is the fastest in league history to reach 50,000 career passing yards. He is the first player in NFL history to reach 80,000
In his 20th season, Brees has the most 5,000 passing seasons (5) and has gone over 4,000 yards seven times. Like Brady, he also has 25 rushing touchdowns. In 12 contests this season, he has 2,942 yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Collectively Brady and Brees have 159,562 NFL passing yards, which equates to over 90 miles.
But it’s not just about playing well into your 40’s. Other NFL quarterbacks have done that. It’s the success that Brees and Brady have consistently enjoyed throughout their illustrious careers that sets them apart.
There are examples of well-known signal callers among the 22 who played well past their 40th birthday but did not have the same success. These are good to even great players who could not shine like Brady and Brees so late in their careers:
He played his 21st and final season was 1976 at age 42. Morrall threw for 20,621 yards, 157 touchdowns and 146 interceptions. In ’76, Morrall completed 10 passes in 26 attempts in 14 games with a touchdown and a pick. Known as a backup who shined in relief starting roles for the Johnny Unitas-led Colts and unbeaten ’72 Dolphins, he died at age 79 in 2014.
Now 58 years old, the little magic man was 43 in 2005 when he took his final NFL snap for the Patriots. The 1984 Heisman winner spent 13 years in NFL with seven great years in the CFL in between stints south of the border. In ’05, he only appeared in five contests while attempting 10 passes and completing five.
The now 57-year old former Heisman winner in 1986 called it a career after 21 seasons. His final appearance came in 2007 at age 44, when he played in seven games with 172 attempts, 94 completions, five touchdowns and six interceptions. He has 46,233 career passing yards, 275 touchdowns and 267 interceptions.
The Hall of Famer played his final game in 2000 at age 44. A nine-time Pro Bowler and five-time Grey Cup champion, Moon dazzled in 17 NFL seasons with 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns and 233 interceptions. His final snap came with the Chiefs where he attempted 34 passes, completing 15 for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception in his final campaign.
Now 67 years old, his final game in 1998 came at age 44. In 22 NFL seasons in which many were spent grooming young star quarterbacks of the future including Joe Montana, John Elway and Steve Young, Deberg tallied 34,241 yards, 196 touchdowns and 204 interceptions. In ’98 with Atlanta, he attempted 59 passes with 30 completions, 369 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He led the entire league in 1979 in completions with 347 for a bad 49ers team with Montana as his backup.
A one-of-a-kind football legend, his final NFL season came in 1975 at age 48. Primarily remembered as a kicker, Blanda was a talented quarterback as well during his 27 seasons. He threw for 26,920 yards, 236 touchdowns and 277 interceptions. At age 43 in 1970, his played his final meaningful season as a passer and completed 29 of 55 throws for 461 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions. He led the Oakland Raiders to a pair of comeback victories that year.
Blanda’s final five seasons in uniform were spent mostly kicking rather than throwing as he only attempted 22 passes completing seven with a pair of touchdowns and an interception. He died at age 83 on September 27, 2010.
As you can see, Brees and Brady have not only been highly successful their entire careers but both have shattered the myth that NFL life ends at 40.
As you watch the upcoming playoff game unfold this Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, (aside from your rooting interest) what you will be observing is something akin to Babe Ruth or Ted Williams standing in the batters’ box for the final at bat, Muhammad Ali or Super Ray Leonard in the ring for his last bout, Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer making his final putt and Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant on the court for his final game as the clock reaches triple zeroes.
Expect it could be two such legends of their sport doing so for the last time in the same game.
Yes, even if the game is not a classic, what these two legends represent will become engrained in sports history for all time. Appreciate what you’ve had a chance to witness.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…