Tom Brady’s new extension is team-friendly. It will expire after the 2021 season, when the New England Patriots quarterback will be 44-years-old. Already the oldest signal caller in the league, he shows no signs of slowing down. The Super Bowl titles come regularly and his clutch performance has not dropped off in any measurable way.
In 2018, he expressed desire to play until 45. There was reason to doubt the reality of such a plan because it’s the NFL and time ages us all, even those who have a reality show pitting them versus time.
It feels more believable now.
The man is unusually diligent — some would say overly so — with his body. His nutrition is revolutionary, his training methods skirt with the accepted norms, though the name of Alex Guerrero is shaded in some circles.
All the greats are driven to an absurd level. There is singular focus and then there is obsession. It’s worth asking if Brady is the most talented athlete with the most drive we’ve seen in a long, long time.
The rules simply do not apply to him. Decade after decade he soars to new heights in a way that makes one wonder how the hell he’s doing it. These past few years have been a marvelous realization that 40 can feel like the new 25, that there is no expiration date on otherworldly skills, and that cynicism can be silenced by going out on the damn field and doing it.
If we’ve learned anything it’s that Brady is — and I mean this kindly — a football cockroach. He’s seen and survived it all. To think he won’t keep playing deep into his 40s at his traditional level would be a fool’s bet.
At this point, he feels inevitable. He’ll be in our lives. He’ll be on the field on a January Sunday fighting for a spot in the sport’s biggest game. Then he’ll be there the next year.
New England has been the recipient of the gift that keeps giving. His financial liquidity has afforded the team the opportunity to spend wisely in building out the surrounding roster. This latest deal, like the others, will allow the Patriots great comfort and flexibility, should the unthinkable happen and Brady peter out.
Brady feels as though he’ll survive us all. The closing curtain is rusted and stuck to the rafters. Same as it ever was.