Moore: 2020 is the year Father Time catches up with Tom Brady
Tom Brady is a free agent. He could return to New England, but could end up in Los Angeles with the Chargers, Indianapolis with the Colts or somewhere else. It would be interesting to see him in a different uniform, but if I’m a general manager, I wouldn’t sign him unless my owner told me we have to boost ticket sales and hype for the team.
Why wouldn’t I want the greatest quarterback of all time? Because he’ll be 43 when the 2020 season starts. I don’t care how good he’s been, don’t care how many Super Bowls he’s won, even Tom Brady can’t beat Father Time. I’ll take Father Time and lay the points every time, no matter the opponent.
John Clayton and others acknowledge the presence of Father Time but still think Brady, since he’s the best ever, will somehow be the exception to declining skills as the player gets older.
They can point to Brady’s overall stats last year – 61 percent, 4,057 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 8 interceptions – and rightfully say he was pretty darn good at 42. But didn’t he start to tail off in the second half of the season?
The sample size for quarterbacks who have played at the age of 43 or older is small.
Steve DeBerg was still in the league at the age of 39 but then took five years off and returned to quarterback the Falcons on a limited basis at the age of 44. He played in eight games and completed 30 of 59 passes with three touchdowns and one interception.
DeBerg was decent, even good at times, but not anywhere near Brady’s caliber, so maybe this is not the best comparable.
Then again, there aren’t many to choose from. Warren Moon also played at 44, finishing his long career with the Chiefs. But he threw only 34 passes in his final season in 2000. At the age of 43, he played in only one game in Kansas City and was 1-for-3.
Doug Flutie is the only other quarterback to play at the age of 43, going 5-for-10 in five games for New England in 2005.
Let’s say that 2020 ends up being Brady’s last season. It might not be, but just for comparison’s sake, let’s look at some of the other greatest quarterbacks of all time and see how they did in their final season, regardless of their age.
Joe Montana, at the age of 38, was OK, completing 61 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his final season with Kansas City. A 39-year-old Peyton Manning had nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, two years after throwing 55 touchdown passes. A 39-year-old Dan Marino had 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 1999 with the Dolphins.
I guess my point is, it’s hard to see it coming sometimes, but when it comes, it’s usually a dramatic drop from Pro Bowl caliber to ohmigod he’s terrible. That’s what happens when Father Time shows up, and it doesn’t matter who you are, as Tom Brady will discover in 2020.