Tom Brady’s dad wouldn’t let him play football until he was 14. Now he laments his son’s plans to play past 40.
“It will end badly,” Tom Brady Sr. tells the New York Times Magazine. “It does end badly. And I know that because I know what Tommy wants to do. He wants to play till he’s 70.”
Don’t look for a storybook ending for #12 should the Patriots triumph on Sunday. Brady, who sings the praises of a fountain-of-youth fitness guru throughout the New York Times Magazine piece, isn’t much on endings. The author observes a reporter draw attention to Brady at this “stage” in his career. The three-time Super Bowl-winner wants to know precisely the “stage” in which he plays. Brady appears as a prime candidate to play this generation’s Johnny Unitas, Willie Mays, or Gordie Howe–the guy who just couldn’t give it up.
It’s a “cold business,” the elder Brady reasons. Willie McGinest, Mike Vrabel, Randy Moss, Ty Law, Logan Mankins, Richard Seymour, and the ghosts of the dearly departed Patriots past can attest just how cold New England can get.
The family patriarch acknowledged the climate in Foxboro in a recent interview. “There are no sacred cows in the NFL,” Brady Sr. told the NFL Network. “If Bill Belchick doesn’t want him anymore, then Bill Belichick will get rid of him.”
After the first month of the season, with the Patriots 2-2 and Brady performing horribly against the Kansas City Chiefs on a nationally-televised game, fair-weather fans predicted the end. The Patriots had drafted Jimmy Garoppolo and Brady was 37, after all. Even the quarterback’s father defends the draft pick by noting that the Patriots didn’t want to get “caught with their pants down.” But the younger Tom Brady looks to play until he’s much older–well into his 40s.
Brady’s body tells him he can. “I just know that I’m sitting here at age 37 and I feel perfect at the end of 16 games,” Brady explained. “My arm doesn’t hurt, my legs don’t hurt. My teammates, they’re hurting.”
And Brady’s lack of interests beyond football tells him he has to. “When I don’t have the purpose of football,” Brady confesses, “I know that’s going to be a really hard thing for me.”