By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

HOUSTON (CBS) — You’ve heard it 10 million times all year: Tom Brady is 39 years old. And while yes, it may get stated a bit too often, that’s not without reason. It is preposterous that he’s been able to do what he’s doing at his age. It’s unheard of.

For some perspective on how absurd Brady’s long run of success has been, consider this: On Saturday night, running back LaDainian Tomlinson was announced as an inductee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tomlinson was drafted in 2001.

Brady was drafted in 2000.

The Hall of Fame requires that a player must have been retired for five years before being eligible for the Hall of Fame. Tomlinson played his final game in 2011, at the age of 32.

And on Sunday, Brady will start the Super Bowl after being arguably the best quarterback in the league this season and posting the best touchdown-to-interception ratio in the history of the NFL.

Brady insists it’s not magic.

“Your body for an athlete is what your asset is. If your body breaks down and you can’t perform, then you have no job,” Brady said this week. “I have tried to learn the right ways to take care of your body. I’ve talked about nutrition and hydration, the type of workouts that I do, the pliability work that I do. I think that is the reason why I am still playing. I feel very strongly about those things and I talk about them a lot. I am sure the people in Boston hear about them a lot. I would love to pass those things on to future athletes because when I was young I wanted to work really hard too, but that is when you work hard at the wrong things and you get better at getting worse. I have learned the right way and hopefully I can pass those on to the kids that are growing up that want to pursue a career in athletics and for a lot of people that like to be active but can’t do it because their body hurts. That is something that has always been very important to me. I feel very passionate talking about it at times.”

Adding to the Tomlinson tie, Brady had his first 300-yard performance against the Chargers and the rookie Tomlinson back in 2001 in what was the quarterback’s third career start.

Running back and quarterback are two wildly different positions, of course. But still, the five-year gap shows just how lucky the Patriots are to have a healthy Tom Brady at quarterback for so long.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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