Tom Brady doubts any NFL QB will match his success: 'I did it for a long time'

‘People have to do it for a long time,’ seven-time Super Bowl winner tells Shaquille O’Neal on his Let’s Go podcast

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Tom Brady is considered the best player in NFL history, and on the latest episode of the Let’s Go podcast the legendary quarterback says it will be hard for today’s current crop of players to replicate his on-field success.

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After his 23-year career in the NFL came to an end earlier this year, Brady, 45, exited the game as all-time leader in wins (251), postseason appearances (20), Super Bowl wins (seven, more than any other NFL franchise), passing yards (89,214), and touchdown passes (649), fourth-quarter comebacks (nine), and more.

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Unmatched in his greatness, from 2000-2011, Brady went 140-41, passed for 45,264 yards, threw 338 touchdown passes, won 16 playoff games, three of which were Super Bowls. Then in the ensuing decade, from 2012-2021, he went 138-44, passed for 52,305 yards, threw 372 touchdowns, won 19 playoff games, four of which were Super Bowls.

But when NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal asked him who “the next Tom” was going to be, Brady said “it’s going to be interesting” but cast doubt whether anyone would be able to match his game play.

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“I think when I’m looking at guys in pro football, quarterbacks, you know, Patrick [Mahomes] is the one that really stands out. They’ve done a great job since he’s really taken over. He’s got a really great coach … that helps you and is there for you when things are going good, and not good. Gives you the humble pie when things are going good, and knows how to pick you up when things aren’t good. But people have to do it for a long time. I did it for a long time. When I look at my career, I was able to do it every single year for basically every single game.”

Brady says that he only missed games twice (when he was suspended over the Deflategate controversy and when he tore his ACL in 2008) and while he wasn’t always “perfect” almost every time he took the field he “was pretty good.”

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“I never put our team in a position to lose,” he said. “There are very few guys like that, that I’m watching over and over and over.”

But the five-time NFL MVP said that because the game has evolved to see so many emerging quarterbacks running the ball, he isn’t sure that kind of play can endure for 20-plus seasons.

“It just makes for a shorter career,” he said. “Running quarterbacks don’t last that long. So I don’t know who can play 21 years, I really don’t. I know what it took, and it took a lot. I’m sure some of the people have ambitions to try, but there are a lot of things that need to go your way. The only reason why I was able to do it was because I had so many people there to support me physically, mentally, emotionally.”

With the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback still in the early part of his career, Patrick Mahomes, 28, has gotten off to a faster start than Brady did.

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Brady Mahomes
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs speak after Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann /Getty Images

Per Bleacher Report, through his first 86 starts, Mahomes has over 6,000 more passing yards (25,974 to 19,782) and 70 more passing touchdowns (207 to 137) than Brady did in his first 86 starts.

In a comparison of their first six seasons, Sports Illustrated notes that Mahomes “has more appearances in AFC Championship Games, more wins, more MVPs, more All-Pros, more passing yards and touchdowns, a better completion percentage and fewer interceptions.”

For his part, Mahomes said earlier this summer that he’s going to try and emulate Brady’s career.

“Seven’s a lot, but I’ll strive to get as close as I can,” said Mahomes when asked if he can tie Brady’s Super Bowl win total. “To win seven Super Bowls and be in 10 Super Bowls, it’s crazy to even think about, even for me today.”

But if anyone can match his success, Brady said he’ll “give them a lot of respect.”

“If someone makes it as long as I made it with the degree of success … It would be an unbelievable accomplishment for them to do that, especially in today’s day and age.”

The only thing is, you’re going to have to live until the year 2040 to see if Mahomes is up to the task.

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