Apart from being the master of the play-action fake, former NFL quarterback Steve DeBerg has one specific distinction: He’s the oldest player to ever start a game at the most important position on the field.
And Steve DeBerg knows that Tom Brady is coming.
“I think he would have to start a football game six seasons from now to break my record,” DeBerg told Jonathan Jones of SI.com. “And I actually think he’ll do it.”
DeBerg’s record was set in October 1998, when he started for the Falcons at the age of 44 years and 279 days.
Brady turns 40 on August 3. He’ll turn 44 on that same day (imagine that) in 2021. To beat DeBerg, however, Brady will have to play into 2022, since the 2021 season will end before he’s 44-and-280.
Which means he’ll need to make it six more seasons — or at least to Week One of season six — in order to break the record. Which could be one of the reasons why he recently told owner Robert Kraft that he plans to play six or seven more years.
Still, it’s one thing to have a cameo start at 44; for DeBerg, it was his first start since he was Brady’s current age of 39. It’s quite another to start every game of every year in between those two ages.