Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers start their 2021 season tomorrow night after Ed Sheeran rocks the faces off the Tampa faithful. Fully vaxxed and returning an unprecedented 22 out of 22 starters from their championship team, the expectations are sky high. With that in mind, I might as well put it out there.
The Bucs are going to steamroll their way through the regular season (16-1, 15-2-ish) on their way to another Super Bowl championship and Tom Brady is going to set new single-season passing yard and touchdown records.
Admittedly, I did not spend a lot of time thinking about this. It came to me in an epiphany during a podcast. No numbers were crunched. It just makes sense. It makes sense that Tom Brady, with nothing left to prove and no space remaining on his resume, only has things like the numbers of his rivals Drew Brees and Peyton Manning left to compete with.
Brady currently owns the all-time passing touchdowns record and he'll pass Drew Brees for the most passing yards this season. That leaves Peyton Manning's 2013 single-season records of 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.
Brady needs to averaged 323 yards per game to break Manning's record for passing yards and throw 3.3 touchdown passes a game to break the touchdown record.
When Brady set the old record of 50 touchdown passes in 2007, he came out of the gate with a meager 297 yards and three touchdown passes against the Miami Dolphins in week 1. It wasn't until he met the undefeated Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 that he really got going with 388 yards and five touchdown passes in front of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in CBS's featured game of the week.
When Peyton Manning set his records he started with 462 yards and seven touchdown passes against the Baltimore Ravens on the opening night of the season. If Brady wants to put his name on top of those records, he's going to need a start somewhere in the area of those two performances.
Will these new numbers have an asterisk for a bit? Yes, of course. Just as the 16-game records initially had an asterisk when compared to the 14-game records from the 60s and 70s. And just like with those numbers, decade from now the 16-game seasons will just be something mentioned to fill time during broadcasts. Besides, we know the NFL will eventually add an 18th game so that every team has an equal number of home and away games.
Brady's ~5,500 yards and ~60 touchdowns this season will be the gold standard that guys like Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and all five rookie quarterbacks from the 2021 NFL Draft will be chasing for the rest of their careers.
The team has the continuity and talent. Bruce Arians has the offense. And Tom Brady has the motivation to leave zero doubt he's the best ever by owning every record possible.