- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2019


FiveThirtyEight.com, known more for its political tracking than its sports’ world surveying, nonetheless weighed in with some fine analysis on the future of New England’s GOAT Tom Brady and New Orlean’s decent Drew Brees and after cutting through the clutter and sifting around the statistics, the final offering was this: Get out while you’re still good.

Don’t be a Peyton Manning.

“Manning, [Steve] Young ad [Rich] Gannon might be the most pertinent cautionary tales for today’s aging stars,” FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine wrote.

Brady is 42. Brees is 40. And the question on the table, as FiveThirtyEight posted, is: “Tom Brady And Drew Brees Have Blown Up The QB Aging Curve. What Comes Next?”

Brady, who’s said he wants to play until he’s 45, just signed a two-year extension with New England that nonetheless includes an option that could send him into free agency in 2020. And he’s just put his Massachusetts home up for sale. Brady says not to “read into anything” about that little ol’ for sale sign.

But age hits everyone — even Greatest Of All Timers.

Even too-many-to-count-Super-Bowl-ringers like Brady.

“[N]o matter how much water Brady drinks, Father Time will get his ‘W’ eventually,” FiveThirtyEight wrote.

That’s a good line. Useful and artistic.

So looking to the history, it looks like this: “Of the 29 retired QBs who had at least 10 AV [Approximate Value, a score from Pro-Football-Reference.com] in a season at age 36 or older, 12 saw a gradual decline … [to] at least 5 AV in another subsequent season. (That’s not a very good number for a starting quarterback — it’s quite mediocre, in fact.),” FiveThirtyEight reported.

But this “gentle decline” apparently isn’t the most popular route star quarterbacks generally take.

Of this same analyzed 29, fully 17 either retired — or bombed out badly. And this is where Brady compares.

Just as Manning of the Indianapolis Colts-turned-Denver Broncos did — just as Young of the San Francisco 49ers did; just as Gannon, finishing with the Oakland Raiders did — Brady, in his aging years, continues to post remarkable stats. Most Valuable Player stats, in fact.

“But within a season of that, they were basically done as productive quarterbacks,” FiveThirtyEight reported.

So the caveat from the polling site goes: “If the history of old NFL quarterbacks still has meaning, the end for Brees and Brady could come gently — but more likely, it will come without warning.”

Let’s hope Brady takes a memo.

Don’t be a Manning. Get out while you’re still healthy — and winning.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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