With five Super Bowl rings, which is more than any other NFL quarterback in history, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots has already proven to have a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, with a bunch of other passing records and/or rankings in major categories like all-time touchdown passes, yards and, most importantly, wins as a starter, Brady is in the conversation as the best ever — and, so far in the 2017 NFL season, he hasn't shown much to make anything think he's slowing down soon.
At age 40, Tom Brady is the oldest starting quarterback in the NFL — which may surprise people given his league-leading stats. Whether it's good genes, a lot of luck, a combination of both or a byproduct of his hard work, Brady talked to USA Today Sports about what he thinks has helped separate himself from his peers. In a single word: pliability.
For those unfamiliar with the term, it's defined as "the quality of being easily bent; flexibility." This is the point where you're probably asking yourself how that might help a NFL quarterback like Tom Brady, right? According to the quarterback himself, per the USA Today Sports piece, he started thinking about the change around 2004, when Brady said he was having trouble throwing in training camp because his elbow was so painful. The thought was that, following years of stress on the arm from throwing over and over, much like a car, his arm was experiencing some wear and tear.
Here's how Brady thinks pliability has helped his NFL career, via USA Today Sports:
“I can’t explain it in 30 seconds,” Brady said. “It’s a lifestyle. Lifestyle choices. They’re all cumulative. They all add up. And little things, when you stack them on top of each other, are big things.”
“It’s been such a progression,” said Brady, who hasn’t missed a game due to injury since tearing up his knee in 2008. “I just feel like I’ve had such a great routine. It’s just gotten better and more refined as I’ve gotten older.”
“The reality for me is that without pliability, there is no alternative,” Brady told USA TODAY Sports.
“I guess it’s hard to imagine anything different,” he said. “I feel so good.”
“I’ve been doing it for 12 years,” he said. “People need to do a lot of work to catch up.”
So, in addition to future Hall of Famer, maybe we should add innovator to Tom Brady's never-ending resume, because the guy is proving to be the spokesperson for a pliability takeover — assuming others buy into the flexibility exercises. Of course, Brady's insanely strict diet also comes into play here, so that can't be understated when wondering how he continues to stay atop the food chain of great NFL signal-callers.
Even so, Tom Brady stays both mentally and physically tough, facing anything in his way as an opportunity rather than an extreme obstacle. In his opinion, it's pliability that has helped the 40-year-old's play on the field resemble something closer to someone about half of his age — and is certainly the reason why he believes he can play in the NFL until he's 45 years old.
For those looking to extend their athletic prowess, maybe pliability is the way to go — just be prepared to put in the work and make some serious changes to your diet. Oh, and don't think that, for a second, you'll all of a sudden turn into a future Hall of Fame quarterback who can marry a supermodel like Tom Brady did, because these flexibility exercises don't seem to guarantee that.
Lead image via Getty.