If you were hoping that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady might ride off into the sunset if he were able to walk out of Sunday’s game with a sixth Super Bowl ring, then I regret to inform you that he has already announced he has other plans for his time during the autumn and winter of 2019, and that is playing in the NFL.
During an interview with ESPN, Jeff Darlington asked the future first-ballot Hall of Famer if there were any chance that he would consider retirement after this latest Super Bowl, the ninth of his 18-year career, of which he has won five of the previous eight.
He said in response that there was “zero” chance of that happening. Emphatically, with hand gestures. Regardless of whether the Patriots win or lose.
Brady has previously talked about his commitment to retaining his football shape and of his desire to play until he is 45, which would set a new standard for the quarterback position. Nobody has ever attempted a pass at the age of 45, but Steve DeBerg, Warren Moon, and Vinny Testaverde did make it to 44. Of those, only Vestaverde started more than one game. He went 2-4 with a quarterback rating of 65.8.
Brady already owns the two most prolific seasons by a quarterback at the age of 40 or older in NFL history, and he’s only 41. There have only been three seasons by a quarterback that age in which he has thrown for at least 4000 yards, two of which are his. Only three have thrown more than 25 touchdowns, two of which are his.
The Patriots have been in the AFC Championship game for eight consecutive seasons, every year since 2011, of which they have won five, including the past three. They would go on to win the Super Bowl in two of the four previous opportunities, with the fifth obviously still pending.
In all, the Patriots have hosted the AFC Championship game eight times, which is easily the second-most behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have done so 11 times between both Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field. the Miami Dolphins and the Denver Broncos are the only other teams in the AFC to have hosted more than five.
Some have argued that Brady is slipping as he marched forth into his fifth decade on this Earth, and even his teammates joke about it. Rob Gronkowski teases him about having a “noodle arm”. 2018 was not his best season in recent years, but it was still more than enough to get him to this game once again.