Plenty of players don’t like the idea of an 18-game regular season. The greatest quarterback in league history (and possibly the greatest player at any position in football history) seems to have no qualms about the prospect of playing more football.
Tom Curran of NBCSportsBoston.com posed to Brady last week the question of whether players could handle 18 games that count per year. Brady was pragmatic about the challenge of getting through the current 16-game slate plus two more.
“It depends how you take care of yourself,” Brady said. “That’s how I see it. I think your ability to play, your ability to practice is as good as your ability to recover. So if you can’t recover, I think a six-game schedule is hard. I try to focus on the recovery of things and try to be out here every day in practice. I know it takes a level of focus and commitment to do that. There’s a lot of work in advance that needs to be done to make that happen. So . . . I love football.”
Within the context of the question, the answer, and the broader subject, “so . . . I love football” seems to be a clear indication that, for Brady, 16 games is great and more games would be even greater.
Brady’s remarks come at a time when the NFL Players Association has taken a firm stand against expanding the regular season, and his views currently seem to be in the minority. Some believe that the NFL eventually will make the players an offer sufficiently strong to get them to agree to play two more games.
The Patriots already play more than 16 games on a consistent basis. Over the past six years, their postseason appearances have added another full season of games. For his career, Brady has played 40 postseason games. That’s two-and-a-half extra seasons of football.
As he prepares to turn 42, Brady could be retired before the regular season ever expands from 16 games. Then again, it’s not clear that he’ll ever retire.