New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, with five Super Bowl rings, made it clear — again — he has no plans to retire and wants to keep playing into his mid-40s.
After telling Peter King of MMQB.com that his record-setting performance in Super Bowl LI wasn’t his best game ever despite the historic 25-point rally over the Atlanta Falcons, the 39-year-old Brady believes he can maintain his level of play long past the age of any everyday quarterback in NFL history.
“I’d like to play until my mid-40s,” Brady told King during a two-hour interview on Sunday while in Montana on a family vacation. “Then I’ll make a decision. If I’m still feeling like I’m feeling today, who knows? Now, those things can always change. You do need long-term goals too. I know next year is not going to be my last year.
“Other than playing football, the other thing I love to do is prepare to play football. I’ve worked hard to get a system in place that really works for me and I know could work for everybody else if they just did it. That enables me to play 99 plays (in Super Bowl LI, the most of his career in one game) as a 39-year-old in the last game of the season. … Football to me is more than just a sport. It has become my life. Every choice that I make … what I have for breakfast, how I work out, all of those things. I love the game. I love playing.”
Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards, two touchdowns and one interception en route to New England’s improbable 34-28 victory in overtime after erasing a 28-3 Falcons lead — winning his fifth championship ring and record fourth Super Bowl MVP Award. He broke, tied or extended nine Super Bowl records.
Brady was asked by King about his feelings toward NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended the quarterback for four games to open the 2016 season over the Deflategate scandal.
Brady remained gracious through a much-anticipated handover of the Super Bowl LI MVP trophy from the commissioner the day after the game.
“But I guess the point is,” Brady said, “when you subject yourself to a lot of criticism, what I’ve learned from myself is, I don’t want to give my power away to other people by letting my own emotions be subjected to what their thoughts or opinions are.
“So if someone calls me something, that’s their problem. It’s not my problem. I’m not going to give away my power. You can call me an (expletive) and I am going to smile at you probably. I’m not going to say, ‘No, you’re an (expletive).’ Because that person is controlling me with what their thoughts and actions are. How can you go through life, now at this point, 17 years, being affected by everybody all the time with what someone says?”