New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has stockpiled a treasure-trove of NFL records during his legendary 19-year career, and he added another line to his future Hall-of-Fame plaque in last night’s 35-14 smackdown of the injury-riddled New York Giants.
No, I’m not referring to Brady racing past longtime arch-nemesis Peyton Manning for second on the all-time passing yards list, which he accomplished on the second play of the game with a 19-yard-pass to Sony Michel.
Brady, who ran an elephantine 5.28 second 40-yard dash at the 2000 NFL Scouting Combine, also set an NFL rushing record.
In addition to passing for 334 yards while completing 31-of-41 attempts, Brady attempted a season-high seven rushes. Despite gaining just 6 yards, two of those rushes ended in touchdowns, making him the oldest player in NFL history to record multiple rushing touchdowns in a game.
Brady completed the feat at 42 years, 68 days old, placing him far ahead of the previous record-holder, fellow quarterback Doug Flutie, who was 41 years, 17 days old when he set that mark in 2003.
It goes without saying that Tom Brady has never been known for his rushing prowess. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen recorded more than half as many rushing yards (631) in 2018 as Brady has in his entire career (1,006), despite being drafted when Allen was just three years old.
Ironically, that aversion to putting the ball on the ground is precisely why he was able to set an NFL rushing record, which is really more about longevity than anything else.
And that’s why it’s the rare NFL rushing record that doesn’t favor running backs. That’s unlikely to change anytime soon, or more likely, ever.
NFL rule changes provide quarterbacks with more injury protection than ever, and the average QB career lasts nearly twice as long (4.44 years) as the average running back career (2.57 years), according to data from Statista.
Yes, there are occasional outliers. A 36-year-old Frank Gore continues to defy Father Time and rush his way into the NFL record books. Earlier this year, Gore – now of the Buffalo Bills – became just the fourth NFL player to cross 15,000 career rushing yards. He enters Week 6 with 15,081 yards, needing less than 200 more to surpass Barry Sanders (15,269 yards) and move into third all-time.
But as astonishing as Gore’s career has been, he is still six years younger than Tom Brady, who is now older than any running back in NFL history.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s “40 And Over Club,” only two running backs have ever played a down over age 40.
A 40-year-old Jim Thorpe played appeared in one game for the 1928 Chicago Cardinals, and no other running back has accomplished the feat since a 41-year old Ken Strong appeared on the 1947 New York Giants. However, Strong, a jack-of-all-trades who also recorded 6 passing touchdowns and kicked 38 field goals during his career, last made a rushing attempt during his age-38 season.
And considering that Tom Brady is on record saying he hopes to play until he’s 45, he could QB sneak his way to at least one more multi-rushing TD game – not to mention dozens of more rushing yards – over the next three seasons.
This article was edited by Sam Bourgi.