Aaron Rodgers is 33 years old, but Mike McCarthy doesn’t think the Green Bay Packers will need to find a new quarterback any time soon.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft recently shared (per Mike Reiss, ESPN) that Tom Brady has a stated desire to play “six to seven more years.” Brady will be 40 at the beginning of the 2017 season.
Speaking to reporters, McCarthy not only expressed a belief in New England’s quarterback to play that long, but he stated that Rodgers can do the same.
“I mean mentally and physically, clearly yes; he has that ability,” McCarthy said, via Rob Demovsky, ESPN. “I think there’s no question there. But I think all positions in football are the same. It’s their legs. You watch a player — and it’s no different with quarterbacks — as long as they have their legs, they can compete at that level.”
Intellectually, it makes sense. It’s hard to look at Brady now and say that the end is anywhere near. Rodgers has shown no signs of aging, seemingly getting better every year.
Still, this isn’t a road that we’ve never been down.
When Brett Favre was 40, he was an MVP candidate, guided the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship Game and was likely one bad pass away from a Super Bowl appearance. The following season, he was no longer an effective NFL quarterback.
The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with Peyton Manning under center. But in reality, they won more in spite of him than because of him. His passes had no zip, whatsoever. But two years prior, he had arguably the greatest statistical season any quarterback has ever had, shattering the single season yardage and touchdown records. The following season, Manning was passing for 4,727 yards with a 101.5 passer rating. But after that, he was a glorified game manager on a Super Bowl winning team.
Brady could play for several more years. Rodgers could, as well. But historically speaking, when a quarterback nears the age of 40, the end is often a lot closer than it appears.