The face of the New England Patriots franchise, and the National Football League for that matter, certainly belies its years.
Tom Brady turns 41 on Friday, Aug. 3. No man who has earned his keep throwing footballs for a living has aged as gracefully as this G.O.A.T. Over the past 18 seasons he has defined greatness with his ability to defy logic when it comes to withstanding the test of time. Why should his 19th season be any different?
Thanks to him an entire generation of fans in this region has grown up without any knowledge of just how star-crossed the Patriots were before Brady, along with head coach Bill Belichick, elevated the fortunes of this once floundering franchise, turning it into perhaps the game's greatest dynasty.
Tom Terrific has amazingly managed to maintain his football fountain of youth in a sport that often devours its young. He continues to beat back Father Time with the same regularity he beats up on the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
Brady became the oldest MVP in NFL history last season, passing for 32 touchdowns and 4,577 yards in 2017. For his career Brady has thrown for 66,159 yards and 488 touchdowns.
He owns five Super Bowl rings. Brady is a three-time league MVP and four-time Super Bowl MVP (perhaps they should name the Super Bowl MVP award after him like they named the team trophy in Vince Lombardi's honor). Yet in a business that's strictly result oriented, Brady not only plays like there's no tomorrow, he plays like he still has something to prove.
So what does this elder statesman do for an encore? Will he continue to turn back the clock? Or will the sand in his gridiron hourglass finally begin to run low? Only time will tell.
This wasn't the easiest of off-seasons for Brady, who skipped the voluntary portion of the Patriots' off-season workouts. It wasn't Deflate-gate bad. But his TB12 trainer, Alex Guerrero, reportedly remains a point of contention with Belichick. Still you have to believe whatever differences may have surfaced in his relationship with Belichick, they will remain all business on the field. Brady and Belichick will make it work and the Patriots will continue to win at a high-rate.
The annual speculation of this being the year Brady's demise begins have seemingly been surfacing dating back to when his supposed 15 minutes of fame began after leading the Patriots past the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI back in February of 2002. Apparently Brady's 15 minutes came with no expiration date.
Based on his performance in this February's Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Brady hasn't lost anything off his fastball. Brady passed for 505 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles.
When it comes to slinging passes into the teeth of NFL defenses, few, if any of his peers, can match his accuracy. When it comes to directing an offense, no quarterback can read a defense and make adjustments at the line of scrimmage as well as the Patriots' maestro of the pocket.
Although his place in NFL history is secure, Brady has never been one to rest on his laurels. We can speculate as to when Brady will decide to call it a career. But for those of us in New England lucky enough to have watched him work his magic, sit back and enjoy the rest of what's been a simply glorious ride, for however long it lasts.
We likely will never see the likes of Brady pass this way again. Brady just doesn't seem to age. While the rest of us aren't getting any younger.