It’s a foregone conclusion that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
That was determined years ago, probably after he won his second of five Super Bowl championships under center.
The question is does Brady have a room to himself in Canton, Ohio
A strong case could be made.
Simply, No. 12 is in a league of his own, has been for some time. Even at age 40, Brady played well enough in 2017 to be named NFL MVP, an award that likely will be bestowed upon him on the eve of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The next day Brady will lead the AFC Champion Patriots against the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick will be participating in their eighth Super Bowl together, all with the Patriots. They have won five Lombardi Trophies, including last season’s memorable 34-28 victory in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons, a game during which the Patriots rallied from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter.
Brady earned his fourth Super Bowl MVP award for his performance, his second such honor in three seasons.
And it makes perfect sense that if the Patriots prevail Sunday, as national oddsmakers predict they will by less than a touchdown, Brady likely would be in the MVP conversation.
Win or lose, Brady has established his greatness ... during his 20s, his 30s and now at age 40. Based on his healthy lifestyle, strong desire to compete and position of standing with the Patriots organization, there’s nothing to suggest that he won’t be successful next season and beyond.
The same can be said for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who turned 39 earlier this month and continues to play at an elite level which should serve him well during upcoming contract negotiations with Saints officials.
What better role model for Brees than Tom Brady, not that No. 9 needs a role model per se. But Brees, too, wants to play into his 40s, either in New Orleans or elsewhere, and Brady is blazing a path for future NFL geriatrics.
Brady and Brees also are providing a blueprint for success for younger NFL quarterbacks, such as the Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff who latched on to Brees at last week’s Pro Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Brady and Brees.
Not only do they seem to be getting better with age but they appear to be ageless, though we mere mortals know all too well that no one beats Father Time.
Brian Allee-Walsh is a long-time Saints reporter based in New Orleans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.