Age no barrier as Tom Brady keeps going and going ... and going
CAPE TOWN - Earlier in the week, ‘Young India’ captured the hearts of the sporting world with the most thrilling Test series victory against Australia in Australia.
The Indian cricketers were missing the core of their Test team through injury or unavailability, yet somehow recovered from being bowled out for 36 in the second Test defeat, to draw the third Test and complete a miracle comeback and win the fourth and final Test, with just three overs to spare on the fifth day.
India had won the first Test and joined South Africa in completing back-to-back series’ wins against Australia in Australia.
Indian youngsters Shubman Gill, Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Shardul Thakhur and Rishabh Pant were all influential in producing what many believed to be the impossible. Test cricket, in Brisbane, if only momentarily, belonged to kids.
Fast forward to today and in the US the sporting stage is set to belong to one of the grand old men of modern sport.
Tom Brady, throughout his NFL career, has been a giant, but no quarterback in the history of the sport has ever started a competitive match at the age of 43, let alone been one match away from a Super Bowl final.
Brady, in his 19th start of the season, could inspire the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the February 7th Super Bowl final, which would also be a 10th Brady visit to the sport’s biggest occasion.
The Buccaneers, in the season before Brady joined them from the New England Patriots, finished the regular season with seven wins and nine defeats. With Brady at the helm, they have been a transformed unit, winning 11 from 16 in the regular season and being dominant in the playoffs.
Brady, at 43, finished third in passing yards and tied for second in passing touchdowns behind Aaron Rodgers.
With a possible two matches to go, Brady has already completed 40 touchdowns for just the second time in his career. He also completed 401 passes, which equals his second-highest single season total.
To put into context Brady’s impact this season, his touchdown total so far is eight more than when he won the NFL MVP Award in 2017 as a 40-year-old.
Brady has always been a player for the biggest occasions and his best form has always been in the post-season matches. He owns so many records.
Among them: regular season wins by a starting quarterback, most passing yards, regular season and playoffs, most passing touchdowns, post-season included, most touchdowns thrown to different receivers, game-winning drives, post-season included, 17 Division titles, most play-off games started, most play-off wins, most play-off touchdown passes, most Super Bowl appearances (9), most Super Bowl touchdown passes, most Super Bowl passing yards and most Super Bowl wins (6). His four Super Bowl MVPs is also a record.
Brady’s individual match-up with Green Bay Packers’ Rodgers will also be a highlight because it is the first time the two iconic quarterback veterans will meet in the post-season.
The duo, with a combined age of 80 years, are the oldest starting quarterbacks in a conference game, with the 37-year-old Rodgers making his fifth conference championship start and Brady his 14th.
Brady’s sustained excellence is the awe-inspiring aspect of a professional career that is into its third decade.
Critics questioned Brady’s move a year ago to Tampa Bay. They described it as the biggest risk of his career because Tampa Bay had not made it to the post season in 13 years.
But here they are, one match away from the Super Bowl final and with Brady one match away from a 7th Super Bowl title … at 43-years-old.