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Tom Brady turns 44! 12 facts about TB12 that show how long he has dominated football

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, with member of his family, holds the Super Bowl...
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, with member of his family, holds the Super Bowl trophy as he celebrates the team's win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers defeated the Chiefs 31-9 to win the Super Bowl.(Charlie Riedel | AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 7:31 AM CDT
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(Gray News) - Age appears to only be a number for Tom Brady, as the defending Super Bowl champion is celebrating his 44th birthday.

Brady’s longevity is quite stunning when you look at his current accomplishments compared to those who entered the NFL around the same time period.

Here is a look at some facts about the seven-time Super Bowl winner that shows how long he has been able to dominate the game, giving himself the status as the greatest of all time.

1. Tom Brady made more money at age 43 than he had in any previous year

In the Forbes list of the world’s 10 highest-paid athletes of 2021, Tom Brady ranked No. 9, and he was second only to Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (No. 4) among NFL players. Forbes said Brady made $76 million last year, which includes $45 million for his on-field performance and another $31 million in endorsements and business ventures.

2. Tom Brady’s final college game was New Year’s Day 2000

As he continues winning Super Bowls into the 2020s, the University of Michigan quarterback’s college career was almost exclusively in the 1990s. He finished his senior year with the Wolverines on New Year’s Day 2000 in the Orange Bowl. He threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns en route to a 35-34 overtime victory over Alabama.

3. Tom Brady is the last active NFL player from his draft class

TB12 was famously picked No. 199 in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, but he remains the only active player from that class after kicker Sebastian Janikowski retired following the 2018 season.

4. Tom Brady has lasted at least a decade longer than any other quarterback in his draft class

As far as quarterbacks go, no other signal-caller in the draft class of 2000 stayed in the league longer than 2011. Notable quarterbacks picked ahead of Brady include Tee Martin, Spergon Wynn and Giovanni Carmazzi. Carmazzi, a third-round pick, never took a regular-season NFL snap.

5. Tom Brady will outlast entire draft classes from future years

With Drew Brees’ retirement following the 2020 season, Tom Brady will have outlasted everyone picked in the 2001 NFL Draft. There is a chance he could outlast the 2002 and 2003 draft classes if some veteran free agents don’t find a spot on an NFL roster this season.

6. Tom Brady is entering his second season as the oldest active NFL player

With former teammate and kicker Adam Vinatieri being inactive in 2020 and officially retired in 2021, Tom Brady will enjoy another season with the distinction of the eldest statesman on the gridiron at age 44. The next closest in age among active players signed to an NFL roster is Detroit Lions long snapper Don Muhlbach, who will be turning 40 on Aug. 17.

7. Tom Brady has several years to go if he wants to be the oldest to ever play

While Brady has previously stated he has wanted to play into his mid-40s, if he wants to become the oldest to ever play, he will need to play through the 2025 season. That’s because hall-of-fame quarterback and kicker George Blanda’s final season was in 1975 with the Oakland Raiders at age 48. Blanda’s later seasons were mostly as a kicker, although he did take some snaps at quarterback at Brady’s age.

8. Tom Brady’s first NFL completion happened in a stadium that is now demolished

Brady was a sparingly-used backup quarterback in the 2000 season as a rookie, but he got a little bit of playing time during a blowout loss to the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome. The Lions last played in the Silverdome in 2001, and demolition began on the stadium in 2018

9. Tom Brady has been in the NFL longer than some rookies have been alive

While Tom Brady didn’t see any on-field action until late November of 2000, he suited up for games before some members of the 2021 draft class were even born. For example, Detroit Lions first-round pick Penei Sewell, 20, was born on Oct. 9, 2000. This was several weeks into Tom Brady’s rookie season.

10. Tom Brady was more than double the age of the youngest player on his team last season

One offensive lineman on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was protecting a quarterback that had more than double the life experience he had during the 2020 season. Tristan Wirfs was a 21-year-old rookie starting on the offensive line protecting the 43-year-old Brady in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints. While it was both Brady and Wirfs’ first starts with the Bucs, Brady had nearly 300 regular-season starts under his belt as a member of the New England Patriots.

11. Tom Brady’s first NFL start was a convincing victory over Payton Manning’s Indianapolis Colts

Brady’s top quarterback rival for most of his career was Colts and Broncos legend Payton Manning, and TB12 would have the upper hand in the head-to-head battles from the start. The New England Patriots defeated the Colts 44-13 on Sept. 30, 2001. Brady won 11 of 17 games against Manning in their NFL careers, but Manning had the edge in postseason matchups by winning 3 of 5 games.

12. Tom Brady has played in 3 of the 5 most-watched television events in American history

The Super Bowl is more often than not the most-watched television event on an annual basis, but Tom Brady appears to get even more people in front of television sets. Brady’s appearances in Super Bowls XLIX, XLVI and LI are the first, fourth and fifth-most watched television broadcasts in American history. All three games were watched by at least 111 million viewers.

Information from Pro Football Reference was used in this story.

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