DATA DEPENDENT: Age ain’t nuttin’ but a number (NFL edition).

When it comes to sports, there’s no greater equalizer than age. Eventually, it catches up with everyone. That being said, advances in health, nutrition, and training have allowed top athletes to maintain a high level of performance. During the next few Data Dependents we will be highlighting a few standouts in different sports. The main criteria is that they must be 36 years or older.

This week we’re looking at the NFL and a quarterback quartet.

Tom Brady43 years old (Tampa Bay Bucaneers 7-3-0): New team, old Tom. We’re talking chronologically and performance wise. In 10 games, he has managed 66% Cmp%/2739 Yds/7.1 Y/A/23 TD/7 Int. He’s passed for 254 completions and 2739 yards]. He’s coming off a disappointing final season with New England Patriots and showing the Bucs what having a true leader on the field can mean. He mostly been solid (though not spectacular… This is Tom Brady we’re talking about) though he did experience a serious hiccup during a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints led by fellow oldhead Drew Brees. During that game, he threw a paltry 209 yards and no touchdowns while racking up 3 picks. All of it amounted to a 40.4 QBR. He bounced back nicely against the Carolina Panthers by throwing 341Yds/ 3TD/0 INT. Brady registered his best QBR of the season 124.0.

Drew Brees41 years old (New Orleans Saints 7-2-0): This season, Brees continues to perform at the top level. So far, he has 73.5% Comp%/2196 Yds/7.4 Y/A/18 TD. His numbers have been pretty consistent and high quality. Notably, he trounced fellow oldheads, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers, registering 135.2 QBR and 127.8 QBR against them, respectively. Since 2015, Brees has posted QBRs over 100. This season was looking like another 100+ QBR year. An injury this past weekend has put him out of commission for the foreseeable future. A bad hit, several cracked ribs, and a punctured lung will do that to you.

Aaron Rodgers36 years old (Green Bay Packers 7-2-0): Captain Discount Doublecheck is having an amazing season so far. He’s boasting a 67% Comp%/2578 Yds/8.2 Y/A/26 TD. He is averaging a 116.4 QBR in 9 games. During the Packers’ blowout loss to Tom Brady’s Bucs, he only managed 160 YDS/2 INT/0 TD and a 35.4 QBR. It’s an obvious outlier. The remainder of his QBRs are 107 and up. 

Ben Roethlisberger38 years old (Pittsburgh Steelers 9-0): Coming off an injury shortened 2019 season where the Steelers quarterback played in 2 games (both losses). In 2018, Roethlisberger had a career year that saw him throw for a career high 452 completions for 5129 yards. So to be fair, this season could have gone either way. Considering his age, it would have been understandable to assume he’d be posting less than stellar numbers. Not so. Three-quarters through  2020 season he has 66.8% Cmp%/2267 YDS/6.8 Y/A/22 TD/4 INT. So far, his average passer rating is 103.0. Only two other times in his career has he finished the season with a higher passer rating: 104.1 (2007) and 103.3 (2014). Of course, there’s still a few games to go.


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