by Jason Howard Kelly
via The Boston Herald:
Tom Brady will indeed remain with the Patriots into his 40s.
Brady and the Pats agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2019 season, according to a source. Brady will be 42 years old in the final year of the deal, which will also be his 20th season with the organization.
The Patriots recently approached Brady about the extension, so the team was motivated to get something done. Clearly, that desire was reciprocated by the four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, and they struck a deal this morning.
Looks like Patriots fans will get to enjoy two more years of being Super Bowl favorites in the AFC! At least, that’s how I choose to look at this extension — as a positive. There will inevitably be a lot of talking heads around New England that will disagree with me, and they’re not entirely wrong to do so. Brady will be 42 years old when this newest contract extension expires which, in itself, is cause for a tiny bit of concern.
However, Brady is very different from his 35-and-older counterparts around the league. He has only ever had one serious injury in his career back in 2008 when he hurt is knee and missed the entire season. Apart from that Brady has been a perfect model of not only health but also consistency in his performance on the field. Since his rookie year in 2001, and excluding his injury-laden 2008 season, Brady has never finished a season with a quarterback rating below 85. This past season was one of Brady’s absolute best as he finished with a quarterback rating of 102.2 and was extremely close to bringing the Patriots to a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
So why is there so much hesitation and doubt surrounding this latest contract extension? Maybe it’s because we have seen so many other great quarterbacks fall of the proverbial cliff once they reach a certain age. Brett Favre was 39 years old when he played for the Minnesota Vikings in 2009 and he had the best year of his Hall of Fame worthy NFL career. Favre threw for 33 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions (the fewest amount of interceptions he has ever thrown in a full season). He finished with a quarterback rating of 107.2, which was also a career best for Favre. He took the Vikings to the NFC Championship game that season where they fell to the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints. Favre returned for a second season with the Vikings in 2010 and the results were drastically different. Favre threw for more interceptions than touchdowns and finished with a woeful quarterback rating of just 69.9 — a career worst for Favre.
Another example of how quickly things can go downhill for an NFL quarterback is Tom Brady’s biggest rival, Peyton Manning. It should be noted, of course, that Manning was coming off of an incredibly serious neck injury that almost ended his career. The numbers are, nonetheless, appalling for Manning in his final season. He threw just 9 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions, finishing with a quarterback rating of 67.9 — a career worst for him, as well.
Noticing a pattern?
The question for Patriots fans is this: will Tom Brady suffer the same sudden collapse as fellow greats like Favre and Manning? Or will he continue his reign of dominance over the NFL like he has throughout his entire career? Brady takes meticulous care of his body, and even that might be an understatement. It has been well chronicled how much Brady focuses on training and caring for his physical well-being. Everything from the avacado ice cream to the hot foods in winter, cold foods in summer, going to sleep at 8:30 every night, and not drinking alcohol. It has all become part of Brady’s every day routine to keep himself in top shape.
Brady’s training practices are insanely strict and, quite frankly, a little bizarre. However, it is that very aspect of his psyche that gives me the confidence that he can perform at the highest level in the NFL for the next two years. Besides, what other options do the Patriots have? We have no idea what Jimmy Garoppolo really is as an NFL quarterback, and last time I checked Super Bowl caliber quarterbacks don’t grow on trees. Signing Brady now allows the Patriots to float Garoppolo out there as a possible trade chip to any team looking for a quarterback (*cough* *cough* Cleveland, Houston *cough* *cough*).
I am perfectly fine with the idea of sticking with Tom Brady until the bitter end, should it come to that. I don’t care if Brady has a terrible season in the final year of his contract. The bottom line is this: he deserves it. Brady has brought more to the city of Boston than any other athlete in the past 15 years, and I could never imagine seeing him in anything other than Patriots blue and silver.
Cue the duckboats!