Colin Cowherd went on a rant Thursday claiming that a 43-year-old Tom Brady still has a good arm and can still throw the deep ball. While your initial instinct may be to dismiss this, if you go by the numbers, Cowherd is right.
Here's what Cowherd had to say:
The numbers back his assessment. In 2019, Brady completed 43 percent of his passes of more than 20 or more air yards. That was his third-highest percentage ever and good for seventh-best in the NFL last season. The league average sat at 38 percent. Additionally, he had seven touchdown passes that traveled at least 20 yards in the air, his most since 2006. On top of all that, his touchdown-to-interception ratio on passes longer than 20 yards through the air was 3.50, his third-best mark since 2006.
Brady may not possess the monster arm Tampa Bay fans would love him to possess, but he can still accurately place the ball down the field.
It's worth nothing that Cowherd's point about Brady's supporting cast is completely fair. The quarterback had a down year in 2019 with the Patriots, but his receiving corps was awful. Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown played sparingly and didn't finish the season on the team. Other than that, he had a slot guy in Julian Edelman, with Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers and eight games of Mohamed Sanu. I mean, his second-leading receiver was running back James White. The offense had no legitimate game-breaking talents and no one got open for him.
Tampa Bay doesn't have that problem. Both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin know how to get open. Tight ends Cameron Brade and O.J. Howard have the ability to make things happen as well. He's got a ton of weapons at his disposal now, any one of whom would have made the Patriots markedly better in 2019.
Brady has never had a cannon for an arm. He's had a good, accurate arm. His accuracy made his deep balls better. He can still be an accurate passer, and with good receivers around him, the margin for error on those throws will be much wider.
Cowherd is right. The claims that Brady's arm is dead are not supported by the facts.