Sports | September 20, 2021 11:03 am

Does Bill Belichick Believe Tom Brady Can Play in the NFL Until He’s 50?

The 44-year-old's former coach was asked about that prospect during an interview with a Boston radio station

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in a beanie and Tom Brady in full uniform with a helmet talk on the NFL field in 2019
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady talk in 2019.
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty

During a nausea-inducing episode of the Tommy & Gronky online show that was released last week, Rob Gronkowski asked 44-year-old Tom Brady if he would be able to play in the NFL until the age of 50.

“Wow. Seems to be a really hot question lately. Can Tom Brady play to 50? Like 50 years old? Fifty,” the seven-time Super Bowl champion responded. “I think I don’t find it so difficult. Plus, in Florida, it’s kind of a retiree state. So I feel like I can play and then just glide into retirement. I think I can. I think it’s a yes.”

Then, Gronkowski suggested that the real question is whether Brady’s wife Gisele Bündchen would let him keep playing. “I’m sorry, babe. I love you. You would let me,” Brady said. “You would let me do anything as long as I’m happy.”

While the conversation between Brady and Gronkowski was somewhat of a joke, it drew enough attention that a Boston radio station asked the star quarterback’s former coach Bill Belichick about the notion of the ex-Patriot continuing to play until 50. In somewhat of a surprise, Belichick actually answered the question.

“I’m sure Tom would know better than anybody,” the 69-year-old coach told WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show. “So if anybody can do it, it’s him.”

Brady still has a few years to go to pass George Blanda, who played in the NFL for 26 seasons and retired in 1975 at the age of 48, as the oldest player to take the field in NFL history, but it certainly appears like he will able to do it if he wants. And if he makes it to 48, why not 50?

Through two weeks of the season, Brady has thrown nine touchdowns and became the oldest player in league history to throw five touchdowns in a game during Tampa Bay’s thrashing of the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. With the 48-25 blowout of Atlanta, the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers (2-0) became the first NFL team in history to score 30 or more points and win in nine straight games. Brady was also the quarterback for the only other streaks that reached eight games (2007 and 2010 Patriots).

With 79,859 career passing yards, Brady is only 499 yards shy of breaking the all-time record that is currently held by Drew Brees (80,358 yards). Unless Brady, who only has 655 passing yards on the season despite leading the league in TDs, goes completely nuts against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3, he’ll probably set the record in Week 4. Fittingly, that’s when Brady and Gronkowski — who has 12 catches for 129 yards and four touchdowns on 13 targets this season — will be making their much-awaited returns to Gillette Stadium in New England to face Belichick and the Patriots (1-1) on Sunday Night Football.

Let’s see what Belichick has to say after that.