Tom Brady keeps raising the bar on how long he can keep playing in the NFL.
As the 43-year-old quarterback prepares for his record 10th Super Bowl and first with Tampa Bay, which he joined in the last offseason, he said he’s already considering surpassing his previous goal and playing beyond age 45.
“Yes, definitely. I would definitely consider that,” Brady said Monday in his first news conference of Super Bowl week. “It’s a physical sport. Just the perspective I have on that is, you never know kind of when that moment is, just because it’s a contact sport. There’s a lot of training that goes into it. It has to be 100% commitment from myself to keep doing it.”
Brady still has that commitment, collaborating closely with longtime trainer Alex Guerrero on workouts, diets and other preparation that has allowed Brady to thrive at an age when most of his peers are long retired.
Brady said the days of being a high school or college kid living on pizza and fast food are long in the past.
“I think football for me has obviously been my sport. It’s a career, but it’s really part of my daily life,” Brady said. “Because a lot of the decisions I make, I’m always thinking about, ‘How does this impact my football? How does it impact my offseason training?’ It’s pretty well documented that the approach that I’ve taken over a period of time, which certainly didn’t all start at once. I think how I work out and how I recover is very important. The work I do with my body coach Alex is critical to the success that I’ve had.”
That work has helped Brady post accomplishments unequaled in NFL history. He has 10 Super Bowl trips, six titles, three MVP awards, the most touchdown passes in regular-season history (581) and the possibility of passing Drew Brees next season for the most yards passing ever if Brees retires as expected this offseason.
What Brady has accomplished since turning 40 before the 2017 season would be an impressive enough career for most players. He has 20,776 passing yards in the regular season and playoffs, 142 TDs, one MVP award, and a third trip to the Super Bowl, having won it following the 2018 season in New England and losing it the previous season.
He has more than doubled the output of any other quarterback after age 40, with Brees next on the list with 6,777 yards and 57 TDs.
It’s an impressive feat for a player who entered the league as a sixth-round pick in 2000 hoping just to stick around for a few years.
“I wouldn’t say 20 years ago, I thought, ‘Man, I’ll be sitting here at 43 playing pro football.’ That would be not the truth if I told you that,” Brady said. “I started thinking I’d love to play pro football and get the opportunity to do it. I’m going to do it as best I possibly can. Fortunately I’ve had the right people come into my life at the right time, which has enabled me to keep doing what I love to do. It’s a lot of support of actually a lot of people.”
Brady thanked his family for making sacrifices that allowed him to focus on football, as well as his teammates and coaches for the help they provided on the field.
Brady has also delivered with his 40 touchdown passes during this regular season, the second highest total of his career. So how long can he keep it up?
“I think I’ll know when it’s time,” Brady said. “I don’t know when that time will come, but I think I’ll know.”