Another year, another sign that Father Time has claimed one more victim. After barely progressing in 2018, Tom Brady took a step backward in the 2019 season. After peaking at 30.33 last year, a disappointing campaign has Brady at 30.21, still looking up at Peyton Manning’s 30.89
Brady’s score for 16 games in 2019 is 1.98, which pushed his 160-game average down to 23.32. This was more than enough to offset the small gain in the total.
His career has long been unusual. Through his first six seasons, Brady’s passing stats were good but not great, even as he won three Super Bowls. The big breakout was the Randy Moss-driven 2007, which earned him an Apples & Oranges rating of 3.47, higher than any of Manning’s seasons. Since then, he’s been consistently excellent, and it really seemed like he was going to redefine the aging curve; he was better from age 36 to 41 than he had been from 25 to 29.
But, it seems now that he is mortal after all. He indicated he won’t retire, so there is a chance of even more regression next year. Or he could bounce back one more time, but it’s hard to see him catching Manning now.
Of the other active quarterbacks we were tracking, Aaron Rodgers is still playing, but Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger are done for the year. Big Ben lasted only two games, and took a big hit, down a tenth of a point to 26.26. Brees, while almost as disappointing as Brady, managed to boost his score in just 11 starts to 30.85. Now he’s the one knocking on Manning’s door.
Rodgers had a bit of a step back, too, but he still has a big cushion at 31.35 through the end of the regular season. He still looks like he’ll finish at the top of the heap; the question is how much he comes back to the pack in the next few years.