Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is sometimes called the GOAT and sometimes called the ageless one.
On August 3 in the throes of training camp, Brady will celebrate his 44th birthday.
As he enters his 22nd NFL season, his longevity is nothing short of miraculous.
Especially when his humble beginnings at the 2000 NFL Combine are considered.
Big day. My NFL career can legally buy a beer https://t.co/TzG24x0Vgo
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) April 16, 2021
For years everyone has wondered how long Brady will play.
Tampa Bay’s general manager Jason Licht thinks he could play until he is 50.
He talked about Brady’s long-term plans with Rich Eisen in May 2021.
“I want to keep all those conversations, most of them, private, but no inkling at all. I told him if he wants to play until he’s 50, and he still feels like he can play, he can still play until he’s 50.”
Brady’s trainer believes he will meet his goal of playing until he is 45 which would mean that 2022 would be his final season.
Tom Brady's personal trainer/life coach/diet guru Alex Guerrero said he expects the Buccaneers’ QB to play at least two more seasons, allowing him to fulfill his goal of playing in the NFL until the age of 45.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 20, 2021
Can Brady play until he is 50?
The answer is no, and here is why.
3. 17-Game Regular Season
No one yet knows how the additional regular season game will impact players physically.
2021 is the first year of the 17-game regular season.
Football is very physically grueling so adding a game will affect the players in different ways.
It is likely to be more difficult to manage for a player in his 40s versus a player in his 20s.
There is no doubt that Brady is in superb physical condition and takes care of his body with a healthy diet and exercise plan (TB12), but there is no escaping the reality that a longer season is harder.
2. Recovery Is Slower
Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players ever, is showing us right now how difficult it is to recover as we age.
He is about to turn 40 years old and has had two knee surgeries in the past year.
Thus far, he has not been the same player.
He has also talked about how much longer it takes for his body to bounce back from long matches and these injuries than it did in his younger years.
Brady himself nursed a knee injury last season that required surgery after the Super Bowl.
1. Age Always Wins
For those of us over 40, we understand that no matter what we do to counteract the ticking of time, age always wins.
Football is the sport of young athletes in peak physical condition.
Even if Brady is somehow superhuman in his makeup, he will not be able to withstand the rigors of football as a 50-year-old man.
The tackles will become more painful.
His arm strength may dwindle so the passes have less zip on them.
It is sadly the way things go that we won’t have Brady to watch each fall Sunday for too much longer.
The important takeaway is that we need to enjoy and marvel in his talent and longevity for as long as he is able to be at the top of his game.