Tom Brady Is An Ageless Wonder And One Of The Greatest Of All Time

Tom Brady Is An Ageless Wonder And One Of The Greatest Of All Time

This man plays 20 years younger than he is.

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The New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, has been dubbed the greatest quarterback of all time by many sports analysts and fellow NFL players, and it is not difficult to see why. He has been the most consistently great quarterback in recent memory and is the primary reason the Patriots have been an NFL juggernaut over the past 17 seasons. Brady has led New England to a winning season and the playoffs for nearly every year of his career and possesses the most career wins of any quarterback in NFL history. However, there is one feature that stands above the rest: his ability to still play at a high level as he ages.

A five-time Super Bowl champion and four-time Super Bowl MVP, Brady has amassed numerous other awards throughout his lengthy and distinguished career. These accolades include three NFL MVPs, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards, and 13 Pro Bowls among others. For someone who has played in the NFL for 18 years, these are certainly lofty achievements.

Even more impressive is the fact that Brady has never finished with a losing season as a starter in his career.

This is at least partially due to the superb coaching of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, but Brady has been consistently great on the field throughout the past two decades and continues to be so. It does not matter who is at running back or wide receiver, the Patriots are always a contender as long as Brady is under center.

Brady is also considered to be the biggest NFL steal of all time. New England drafted him in the sixth round with the 199th overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft. All 32 teams passed on him, even the Patriots. Nobody thought that he would be a professional quarterback, let alone an all-time great. He has proven everyone wrong ever since then and is still doing so into his early 40s.

Tom Brady has aged like fine wine.

He is currently 41 years old and has made three Super Bowls within the last four years, winning two of them and having astounding individual performances in all of them. His performance in Super Bowl LI at age 39 was nothing short of spectacular. Down 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons with 17:08 to play, Brady rallied the Patriots for a seemingly inconceivable comeback win. Both sides of the ball did their job spectacularly and Brady led the way for New England to tie the game at 28-28 with under a minute to play in regulation. After the Patriots won the coin toss in overtime and elected to receive the ball, it was over.

In addition, his recent performance in Super Bowl LII at 40 years of age was awe-inspiring. He threw for 505 yards (an all-time playoff record), three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. This is especially impressive considering he was missing several key wide receivers due to injury.

Simply put, Tom Brady is an ageless wonder and will continue to be recognized as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history because of it.

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To The Coach That Fueled My Passion

Thank you for everything.
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Everyone always talks about the coach that killed their passion and made them lose their love for the game. I understand that some people aren't cut out for coaching and that their lack of the right skills may have ruined some promising sports careers, but for every awful coach that might tear you down, there is a coach that inspires you and works you into a better player.

SEE ALSO: "To The Coach That Killed My Passion"

This one is for all of them.

To the coach that fueled my passion for the game,

Thank you for having passion for what you do.

Every time you went the extra mile, it paid off. Your enthusiasm and love for the game set the tone for every practice. You were a role model to me and fueled my drive to be the best I could be and helped my love for the game grow stronger than ever.

Thank you for caring about me.

You took me under your wing and helped me improve my talent and grow as a person. You knew that winning games wasn't the only thing that mattered and always paid attention to the team's emotions. You were more than a coach, you were a friend.

Thank you for believing in me.

Coming into your season I might not have had the greatest form or a perfect teamwork mentality, but with every mistake I made you never once tore me down. You cheered me on and built me up. You not only corrected my mistakes but you also made sure to shoot me a smile when praise was due. You didn't let my results go unnoticed and you definitely made all the hard work worth it. Seeing you proud to be a coach made me happy to be on the team.

Thank you for teaching me.

When I made mistakes, you didn't yell or get mad, you gave me constructive criticism and helped me to become a better player. You focused on my strengths and helped me utilize them while also building up my weaknesses and making sure I learned something every practice. You turned me into an all-around great player.

Thank you for being hard on me.

You pushed me to my limits and believed that I could accomplish anything if I set my heart to it. You knew I always need a little extra help when it comes to breaking down the wall of 'I can't do it' and turning my average abilities into something unstoppable.

Thank you for going easy on me also.

You worked me hard, but also knew when to give me a break. Thank you for not expecting too much and for not pushing me to my breaking point. I never felt ashamed when I didn't succeed at something new the first time I attempted it or pressured to meet expectations that were much too high.

Thank you for letting me be a part of the family.

You understand that the sport only requires so much skill, and the rest is made up of heart. Without good team chemistry there's never 100% success. But you brought us all together and molded us into one big, happy family. You made the court feel like home.

And for all of this I can never thank you enough, but I hope you know now just how amazing you are at your job and how much you meant to me.

SEE ALSO: "An Open Letter To The Volleyball Player I Used To Be"

Sincerely,

A Very Grateful and Inspired Player
Cover Image Credit: Sarah Hinderman

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From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P.: Identity Theft

For a lot of athletes, we tend to feel like the sports we play define us. Learn more about the journey in Part two of the "From Student-Athlete to N.A.R.P." series.

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So you're done playing... now what?

When you abruptly stop playing the sport you've played your whole life, something happens. I like to call this, Identity Theft.

This is something that many athletes, including myself, have experienced. Instead of waking up for conditioning at 6 am, you're waking up 15 minutes before class to get ready. You're no longer looking forward to or dreading practice (me) in the evening. Maybe you find that you're no longer "important" on campus. People aren't looking up to you anymore, and maybe you feel like you've just become a number. Some portion of your self-esteem has disappeared, you don't know where you belong anymore, and all of a sudden it's more difficult to make friends.

For some people, being an athlete is their main characteristic about themselves. Maybe even a personality trait, some may argue. Once you stop doing something you used to do everyday, a self-discovery journey is necessary. It's a journey that's for sure, and not a short one.

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

You may struggle to figure out who you are, all over again. It's comparable to recreating yourself. Some retired athletes will continue to thrive in their sport, even if they aren't playing for their school anymore. Some, like me, will go through the days, weeks, and months, not knowing what to do with themselves, or who they even are anymore (I didn't lift a weight or break a sweat for 6 months straight).

Before you know it, you begin to question yourself.

What am I good at? What am I passionate about now? Am I good at anything besides basketball?

These are the questions I asked myself every single day. Tearing my self-confidence down piece by piece because I didn't have the answers. I haven't always been the most social person, that being said, the friends I made were through sports. Teammates, opponents, fans- these were all friends I didn't need to work for. Not only that, I all of a sudden had all of this free time and had no idea what to do with it. Yeah, I could do homework, but that got boring after a while.

So what happens next? For me, it was depression.

Something that once defined you is no longer a part of your life anymore. The one thing that people thought about when they heard your name, is now nonexistent. The best way to describe life after being an athlete in my opinion is Identity Theft, because it almost feels like you've been robbed of a vital quality of yourself. And what's funny is I never thought it would be this way for me, because I never let basketball define me, yet there I was.

I'm here to say this:

Pick yourself up and remember who you are. Being great at that sport you once played was just one of the qualities of the stellar human being you are. You are more than your sport. You do have a purpose and a place in this world, even if you don't know it yet. This journey will be scary, but you'll discover new things about yourself that you didn't even know existed.

Since completing this self-discovery journey, I have learned that I am not as introverted as I thought I was, or at least used to be. I like art, music, and even writing. Never in a million years did I think I'd be writing articles that would be shown to the public. Helping people and learning about people is something I am now passionate about. I look back at my old self and sometimes can't recognize her because things are so different now, but I am grateful for those chapters in my life because they helped mold the person I am today.

I've learned the best life lessons from playing sports my whole life, and that is what should be taken from that whole experience. Very rarely do you end up playing your sport forever- everyone can't be a professional athlete.

Identity theft is a real issue that occurs in retired athletes. It is important that you, the athlete, understand what is going on, as well as the people around you.

This isn't the end of your life, it's truly just the beginning.

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