You may have heard it by now, but Tom Brady is pretty good at playing football. In fact, he is so good that the title of “greatest quarterback of all time” has been bestowed upon him — a legacy to which he still adds to this day, despite already being 41 years old. In fact, Brady’s longevity and prolonged excellence are a big reason why he has become the standard by which all quarterbacks are measured and will likely be for quite some time.
A tweet recently shared by NFL database Pro Football Reference further illustrates the excellence of the New England Patriots’ quarterback playing at an age at which many of his peers are already retired:
Tom Brady's playoff stats, age-35 or older:— ProFootballReference (@pfref) January 15, 2019
95.3 passer rating
Brady’s numbers over the age of 35 — from 2012 to today — are an impressive résumé for any player, let alone one that had already won three Super Bowls before his 35th birthday. And as impressive as the raw statistics themselves are, they actually do not quite do justice to just how impressive of a feat this is. In order to add some contextualization to the numbers, let’s therefore compare Brady with other quarterbacks.
Among playoff quarterbacks over the age of 35, he pretty much stands alone and leads the group in most major passing categories: he has the most attempts (715) and completions (455), most yards (5,284), most touchdown passes (34). and despite throwing almost as many passes as Peyton Manning, Warren Moon and John Elway combined (they sit at 750) is not the sole leader when it comes to interceptions (he’s tied with George Blanda’s 11).
What really shows just how insane Brady’s production at this stage of his career is, is the comparison to other quarterbacks’ playoff careers as a whole. If Brady had only played his first postseason game in January 2013, he would still arguably be an all-time top-5 playoff passer:
Tom Brady's all-time rankings if his playoff career only started at age 35:— Pats Pulpit (@patspulpit) January 16, 2019
Attempts: 4th (715)
Completions: 4th (455)
Yards: 4th (5,284)
Rings: t-4th (2)
TDs: 5th (34)
Wins: 7th (12)
Games: 9th (16)
Rating: 9th (95.3)
Completion %: 10th (63.3)
INTs: 33rd (11)
Note: for the purpose of this argument, his own pre-age 35 numbers were eliminated from the rankings to avoid any confusion.
Even if the first 22 playoff games of his career were to be ignored, Brady would still be among the greatest ever postseason quarterbacks — which in itself is a pretty remarkable achievement. On Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, the 41-year old will be able to add even further to his already legendary postseason career.