Tom Brady will turn 40 this week. This is not a kind age to men in his profession. Most quarterbacks in middle age are either a) long retired or b) depressing shells of their former selves. We see you 1999 Dan Marino. You, too, 2015 Peyton Manning.
Of course, Brady doesn’t fall in the same category as those aforementioned legends. His performance in his age-39 season was MVP worthy and ended, of course, with another Super Bowl title. Perhaps most impressive was how Brady was able to move like a man 10 years his junior. He was light on his feet — spry even. This was unchartered territory for a player in his 17th season.
How Brady has managed to turn back the clock can be attributed to a number of factors. Brady’s camp is more likely to point to diet and exercise choices (and his $200 cookbook and body restoration pajamas). Others are welcome to factor in genetics, plain ol’ good luck and (potentially) a deal with Satan.
Whatever the reasons behind the longevity, we’re sure the Patriots coaching staff can’t believe their own luck. They’re also doing their best to keep Brady nimble. Here’s footage from Tuesday’s practice — Brady skipping around the pocket as Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels do everything in their power to stop him.
It’s kind of funny.
I’d love to see late-period Peyton Manning attempt this same escape. He’d almost certainly do that Peyton move where he’d tuck the ball and slide at the feet of an oncoming defender, the human version of a panicked turtle retracting into his shell. I kind of miss that move.
It even worked once!
Former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest once said that Tom Brady is “a better person off the field than he is a football player.”
On Tuesday, newly retired Rob Ninkovich shared an anecdote that further cements Brady’s legacy as a teammate.
One time, I said, “Tom, that’s a beautiful watch you got on. Do you got a guy that I can, you know, speak to?
And he goes, “Rob, do I got a guy?”
He goes, “Do I got a guy?”
And I just started laughing. I’m like, “Yeah, I know you got a guy. You got a guy. You got a suit guy. You got a car guy.”
So I’m just sitting at my locker, and he walks up to me. It was close to Christmas. This was maybe three week later. I had completely forgot about that whole conversation. And he just dropped the box at my locker.
“Here you go.”
And I was like, “What’s that?”
And then I opened it up, and it was the watch that he said was an awesome watch. It’s just the type of guy that he is. He’s a great teammate. He’s humble. Anything you ever need, he’s always there.