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Science Tries to Explain Tom Brady's Super Human Longevity


The GuardianLove him, hate him, but never doubt him. That may stick in the throat of many Patriots haters, but with the gaudy statistics and five Super Bowl victories to prove it, Tom Brady seems to achieve whatever he wills. And what he wants, according to team owner Robert Kraft, is to play another seven years.

What makes Brady different, though, isn’t a will to continue playing – we’ve seen the competitive fire of other great quarterbacks quenched by injury and age. Rather, it’s that Brady seems to have a legitimate chance to play as long as he wishes. …

“I have no doubt that Tom Brady’s ability to recover is due to his lifestyle health,” says Fergus Connolly, football performance director for Brady’s alma mater, the University of Michigan. Connolly … believes that maintaining a healthy lifestyle – diet, sleep, strength, flexibility and spiritual/cognitive resilience – is critical in a long NFL career. …

“First and foremost, you have to stay healthy,” agrees Tim Rattay, quarterbacks coach for Louisiana Tech and a former NFL signal-caller. “But you also have to have the desire to put in that much work year after year.” … The required dedication sends many to off-season training centers like P3 in Santa Barbara, where a hi-tech comprehensive analysis is used to detect any vulnerabilities or asymmetries that stem from past injuries.

Dr Marcus Elliott, the center’s director and a former consultant to the Patriots, believes that these problems, if not addressed, can be career-limiting. “I truly had no idea how persistent these compensation patterns would be before we started collecting this granular data on thousands of pros 12 years ago,” Elliott says.

Well that explains it. Peyton Manning would tell you the key to playing quarterback into your 40s is secret treatments overseas that are illegal here and your wife’s HGH shipments from a disreputable clinic. Brett Favre would tell you nothing keeps a man young like sexually harassing team employees with pictures of your veiny, wrinkly dick. So it’s rewarding to know that Tom Brady is teaching medical science there’s a third way.

Leave it to the GOAT to teach these doctors and trainers that it’s all about your spiritual/cognitive resilience, vulnerabilies, asymmetries and compensation patterns? But granular data don’t lie. And neither does a 112 passer rating or 43 of 63 for 466.

But you know what my favorite part of this article is? Tim Rattay. Not that he added anything besides you have to stay healthy and work hard. No, I love him being quoted here because he was drafted 13 spots after Brady. In 2000. The Patriots were debating taking him or Brady until the late, sainted QB coach Dick Rehbein metaphorically stood on the table of the war room and demanded the skinny kid out of Michigan. Now Rattay is doing Rehbein’s job at Louisiana Tech while Brady is working toward his sixth Lombardi.

Add to that the fact that Tony Romo, a rookie four years after Brady was, just walked away from the game while he’s still physically able to walk while modern medicine is trying to unlock the key to Brady’s immortality. And if you’re invested in hoping Brady’s run ends soon, this is bad news for you. Chris Traeger thought he was the first human to live to 150? Brady will probably still be winning Super Bowls when he’s 150. It’s Science.