On his way to becoming the greatest quarterback to ever grace the gridiron, Tom Brady set numerous records and delivered countless performances worthy of recognition. His latest accomplishment is winning league MVP honors last season while also leading the New England Patriots to another Super Bowl berth – all that at the ripe age of 40, something no other player has done before him.
Brady, of course, is the ultimate role model when it comes to longevity and success in the NFL. One player who is looking up at him because of that is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The fellow future Hall of Famer recently spoke to The MMQB’s Albert Breer about his motivations moving forward, and Brady was one of the players he mentioned when he outlined his intentions of playing into his 40s as well.
“I can’t really rely on the chips on my shoulder, whether it was actual or perceived, that motivational stuff you use,” Rodgers, himself voted most valuable player in the league twice, acknowledged. “So you look for different ways to challenge yourself. For me, it’s that longevity now. We play at a high level, and 40 is an interesting number for quarterbacks. There haven’t been a lot of guys that have gotten there.”
One famous example of a player who did: Brady, as Rodgers is quick to point out: “Tommy was obviously incredible last year at 40, but there aren’t a lot of guys who can do that.” The 34-year old wants to join the club of quarterbacks who continued playing at a high level into their 40s one day. In order to do that, he is trying to emulate Brady: the two passers spoke with each other about their respective approaches to staying physically prepared, and Brady sent Rodgers a copy of his TB12 book.
The Packers’ passer, trying to follow Brady’s path to longevity, applied some of the book’s ideas and incorporated them into his own diet. “Tom and I are close,” Rodgers pointed out. “We’ve talked about the stuff he does. I don’t swear off nightshades like he does, but I had a lot of room to grow in that area. I love sweets and food in general, so being smart about what I was eating tied to my performance.”
Like Brady, Rodgers has adapted his diet – no more milkshakes or other dairy products – to reach and maintain a level of performance aimed at playing longer than the typical NFL quarterback does. How long should it be for Rodgers exactly? His minimum goal is the age of 40: “I’d love to be a starter at 40, so that’d be 40 turning 41,” he said. “That’d be awesome because not many guys have been able to play really well to that age.”
Brady, who will turn 41 in two days, has. And Rodgers is quite open about wanting to be just like the Patriots’ passer when it comes to longevity. Whether or not this will also lead to him reaching the same levels of success – Brady has won two Super Bowls and an NFL MVP award since his 37th birthday – remains to be seen. There are worse role models than Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., though.