By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The age of the quarterback for the New England Patriots has been discussed so much and so often in so many corners of the universe that the topic has almost become wallpaper.
What has perhaps gotten lost in the oversaturation of that talk is the fact that it’s highly unusual for a 41-year-old to play quarterback in the NFL. It’s something that’s only been attempted a handful of times, and it’s generally led to either mediocrity (at best) or out-and-out failure.
Brady, though, has been having a decent year by his own standards, an above-average year by modern NFL standards, and an outstanding season by 41-year-old standards. With his team just 60 minutes away from a well-earned bye week, Brady was asked by Jim Gray how his body is holding up this season.
“You know what, I’m actually feeling really good,” Brady replied, giving credit to trainer/body coach Alex Guerrero. “We work so hard over the course of the year to prepare my body. And I have such an efficient process. And this time of year I feel like my body’s actually broken in, so to speak, to football season. It’s doing what I’m asking it to do. So, I’ve been able to practice every single day this year, I feel like I just am sharp at practice. My mind’s sharp, my body’s sharp, and I really want to be prepared these last seven weeks of the season to be my best that I’ve had all season. I think we’re going in that direction.”
Thus far through nine games, Brady has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,494 yards, averaging 7.56 yards per attempt. He’s thrown 17 touchdowns with an abnormally high seven interceptions (a number aided by three drops that led directly to interceptions) while posting a 97.7 passer rating. He’s well on his way to authoring the best season ever by a 41-year-old quarterback in the NFL.
But of course, Brady said his focus is on winning, and that’s a demand that’s driven into the minds of every Patriots player every single day by Bill Belichick. Brady credited the coach with “creating the urgency that we need.”
“There’s never an off day that we have. Every day the pressure’s on us to perform at a very high level,” Brady said. “We’ve been able to do that the last six weeks, which has led to a lot of wins. He’s as sharp a critic as ever when we don’t do things right and when we don’t meet his expectations. And so those things never change.”
And though the major talking point in New England and around the country from January through August was about the strained and tattered relationship between Brady and Belichick, the quarterback said in Thursday night’s interview that things remain the same as ever.
“Well I think over the last couple of years there’s been so much talk, and so much of it is things that we haven’t said but that people may insinuate, or make assumptions about personal relationships and so forth,” Brady said. “We’ve always been about winning, we’ve always been about putting the team first, and we’ve always had a great relationship. We work hard, we want to win, we’ve been at the same organization for a long time, and I think all of us at the Patriots are happy that we’re in the position we’re in with our best football and the biggest games still ahead of us.”