When Tom Brady had a good season last year at the age of 41, he was doing something exceedingly rare in the NFL, but not totally unprecedented: Warren Moon played pretty well at age 41, and Vinny Testaverde and Brett Favre both had their moments after their 41st birthdays.
But unless Brady gets hurt or totally falls off a cliff this year, Brady really will do something unprecedented.
Brady will turn 42 in August, and that really is an age at which no quarterback has ever had even a mediocre NFL season. George Blanda threw six touchdowns as a 43-year-old in 1970, and that’s the most touchdowns any quarterback has ever thrown in a season after turning 42.
Modern training and improved medicine may make it easier for quarterbacks to last longer in the NFL, so perhaps some of the quarterbacks who came along in the years after Brady — Drew Brees or Philip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger — could replicate his longevity. But more likely we’ll see in the years to come that Brady is simply an extreme outlier, one who has played at a high level for longer than any other quarterback.