BOSTON (CBS) — Every couple of years, Tom Brady’s desire to play football for several more years seems to become a national news item. First, he said he wants to play until he’s 40. Then, he said he wants to play “beyond 40.” Then, mostly ridiculously, Brady said he’d play until he’s 50 if his body allows.
While the odds of seeing a 49-year-old Brady dropping back to pass in 2026 aren’t all that high, we at least have an understanding of why he wants to play forever. For one, he excels at what he does, but he also can’t imagine a life where he’s doing anything else.
“I really don’t have much of an interest in anything else, I hate to say it,” Brady told Michael Strahan in an interview on Fox Sports 1.
Brady, married with children, stressed that family is “1” for him and football is “1A,” but if he can’t be with his family 24/7, there’s no place he’d rather spend his time than on a football field.
“It’s probably the only place that I can really do it, when I really truly am my authentic self,” Brady said. “A lot of people see it — my close, close friends do — but when I’m on the football field, there’s no … it’s just raw.”
Brady even offered a bit of philosophical life advice to anyone struggling to find happiness.
“When I’m playing football, I appreciate it. I’m nowhere else. I’m in the present. It’s probably the best part about my life, is to be in the present,” Brady told Strahan. “You talk about, ‘How do enjoy your life? How do you find balance?’ It’s to live in the present, to live like a kid. Like why do kids have so much fun? It’s because they just care about what they’re doing. If we thought about what we were doing all the time … you do that when you’re on the football field.”
The 36-year-old Brady weighed in on the decade-long debate about whether he’s a better quarterback than Peyton Manning.
“He has his own team, he has his own players, he has his own scheme. I’m doing my thing at my time with my group,” Brady said. “I think that’s a big debate, and it’s great to sell newspapers or magazines and make comparisons and have polls and ask everybody, and you create shows and networks around that, but who can tell who’s the best player? This isn’t an individual sport, it’s a team sport. It’s about team success.”
In that regard, Brady’s career regular-season winning percentage of .778 and postseason winning percentage of .708 are both better than Manning’s .688 and .450 in the same respective areas. It would lead you to believe Brady might have made the case that he’s better than Manning, but he admitted much of the winning early in his Patriots career had more to do with the defense than the quarterback.
“Early in my career when we were winning, like in 2001, we won the Super Bowl and in ’03 and ’04, we didn’t win it because we had this stellar offensive performance every week. We had the best defense, I felt, in the league,” Brady said. “We had Rodney [Harrison], Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi. We had incredible players on defense where look, if we had a lead in the fourth quarter, the game was over. That’s defensive football.”
He said the balance has changed a bit, with his offense being the team’s strength since 2007.
“That’s the drive. When I was young, we had that defense that was incredible, now the strength of our team was pretty offensive and we had to do a lot of good things offensively,” Brady said. “Who knows how it’s going to go this year? I hope we had a good offense and a good defense, which I really think we do. But we’re going to have to go out there and earn it.”
That journey will begin in earnest Sunday, Sept. 8 at 1 p.m. in Buffalo.