Tom Brady is officially a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, not a sentence I ever thought I would be typing. Brady has played for two decades in the NFL, with nine Super Bowl appearances and six rings.
Tom Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time, but we are approaching the questionable territory. At the age of 43, Brady’s physical skills have likely decreased, and in fact, no quarterback has started over six games at the age of 44. The only quarterback to do so was former Buccaneers Vinny Testaverde in 2007.
An article written by Pro Football Focus also concluded that quarterbacks peak at age 25, with a slow decline at 37, before a massive drop off at 38, relativity speaking.
So how has Brady fared in the past five years statistically over the past five years, starting at age 38? This data will help us predict Tom Brady’s performance going into 2020.
There are a few metrics that exist to measure efficiency. But the ones most commonly used are DYAR and DVOA.
DYAR stands for defensive-adjusted yards above replacement. It measures the TOTAL value of the quarterback compared to a replacement, adjusted for situation and opponent, and translate into yardage.
DVOA, on the other hand, stands for defense-adjusted value over average. This percentage represents performance above or below average PER PLAY. For example, an average quarterback would receive a DVOA of 0%.
If both of these metrics are confusing, don’t worry, just think of DYAR as TOTAL efficiency over an entire season and DVOA as efficiency PER PLAY.
If you want to read more about these metrics, you can do so at footballoutsiders.com
So why these metrics specifically? Well, they encompass everything a quarterback does. From throwing touchdowns, to interceptions and completions, EVERYTHING the player does is logged as a positive or negative play.
While they aren’t perfect (and no stats are) they give us an easy data point to see just how good a quarterback has performed in a given season.
Without further ado, here is Brady’s DYAR stats with rankings;
2015 (38): 1,312; 2nd
2016 (39): 1,286; 5th
2017 (40): 1,595; 1st
2018 (41): 1,034; 8th
2019 (42): 558; 16th
2015 (38): 19.5%; 5th
2016 (39): 33.4%; 2nd
2017 (40): 27.8%; 2nd
2018 (41): 15.4%; 7th
2019 (42): 2.6%; 17th
So now that we have all the numbers, what the heck does it all mean? Well, Brady is a clear outlier in Pro Football Focus’ assessment of drop off. He has been performing at a high level well past the age of 38, ranking in the top five in efficiency in the three years after.
In 2016, 2017 and 2018, Brady appeared in the Super Bowl three times in a row, taking home the Lombardi Trophy in 2016 and 2018.
But the more glaring interpretation of these stats is the clear decline in efficiency since 2018. Last season, Tom Brady was just barely above average in terms of per-play efficiency.
Now you can argue that he had a lack of weapons to throw to with no Rob Gronkowski, an aging Julian Edelman, and role players forced into action.
But next season will tell the true story, if Brady can light the world on fire with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, 2018 will look like an outlier year. But if he struggles, 2018 will be a glaring stat foreshadowing a decline in play.