BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady stands out from his peers in a number of different ways, including the fact that he’s essentially played through two different eras in the NFL.

That much is evident in the fact that Brady led the NFL in touchdown passes in 2002 with just 28. The current NFL leader in touchdown in 2018 — Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes — already has 14 touchdowns through just five weeks. The average number of touchdowns it’s taken to lead the league over the past 15 seasons is an even 50.

Clearly, it’s a different NFL, one where passing rules the day. And this week in his WEEI interview, Brady reflected on what the league is like these days.

“I think it was a different time,” Brady said when asked to compare his rookie season as a backup to some of the more modern-day rookies who start right away. “I think football was different then. I think now, in some ways, pro football is more glorified college football. I think in some ways, maybe the transition, it’s a more similar game than what it used to be when I first started. I think football now, with removing some of the physical elements of the game, it’s just more of a space game. You see a lot of, kind of, college plays more in the pro game now than what I remember when I started. So that’s just kind of how things have went over the last bunch of years.”

Of course, that comment was not made as a complaint, as nobody has thrived more in the pass-heavy NFL than Brady. He’s thrown 353 touchdowns since 2007, averaging 35 TDs per 16 games played. He’s also averaged 4,529 yards and just 9 INTs per 16 games in that span, adding a Hall of Fame level of statistics onto a career that already included three Super Bowl wins.

And with NFL passing records on pace to be shattered league-wide this season, that style in the NFL does not appear to be changing soon.

Considering Mahomes is set to take on Brady’s Patriots this upcoming Sunday night, Brady reflected on how different the start of his career was to some of the younger guys who are playing these days.

“Some of those guys are playing really well. It’s pretty awesome,” Brady said. “I was a fourth-string quarterback my rookie year, so I was eating nachos in the stands before games. I wasn’t playing games. So I had a chance to sit back and learn. Some other guys have had those chances, and when you’re thrown into the mix, it’s pretty impressive.

Comments (2)
  1. This is a very poorly researched article. Yes, Brady threw for 28 touchdowns in 2002. However, Kurt Warner led the league with 36 in 2001. In 1999 Kurt Warner led the league with 41 touchdowns. Moreover, in the mid 1990s, Brett Favre threw for nearly 40 touchdowns in multiple seasons. Mahomes is off too a hot start but that doesn’t mean much yet…it’s a long season. Last year Russell Wilson led the league with 34 touchdowns. In 2015 Brady led the league with 36 touchdowns. It’s actually been quite consistent with few exceptions since the 1980s.

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