It’s only a matter of time before Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady becomes the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. The only thing we aren’t sure about is which early-season game it will happen in.
Set to start his 22nd season in the league, Brady already holds dozens of career records, including wins, attempts and touchdowns, and should add yards to his resume around Week 4 or 5.
You will find more infographics at Statista
In the above chart supplied by Statista, we can see that Brady sits 1,154 yards behind current leader Drew Brees. If Brady passes for 289 yards per game to start the year (his average from last season), he will break the record in Week 4. That game? On the road, on Sunday Night Football, in New England. Quite the storyline, huh?
With Brees out of the picture after retiring following last season’s loss to Brady and the Bucs in the playoffs, Brady could end up holding the passing yards record for quite a long time.
Firstly, he will still have the rest of the 2021 season to add to his total along with however many more seasons he decides to play. He is 44 now. Could it be one more year? Three? FIVE? We must prepare for all outcomes with this guy.
Second, there is already a big cushion in yards between Brees/Brady and the player in third place, Peyton Manning, who is more than 8,000 yards behind (soon-to-be second-place) Brees.
The next active player on the all-time passing list, Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, is sitting in seventh place at just over 60,348 yards – almost exactly 20,000 yards behind Brees. Big Ben would need to play 5.6 more seasons throwing for his career average of 3,549 yards to get to Brees. That’s not happening, let alone getting to Brady’s future number.
Matt Ryan is the next active player on the list in ninth place at 55,767 yards. Ryan will need to play 5.7 more seasons throwing at his career average (4,289) to make up the gap between him and Brees. With Ryan now 36 years old, it’s going to be close, but it’s certainly not impossible. Reaching Brady’s future mark will be far more difficult, however.
Aaron Rodgers is next in 11th place. Rodgers will need to play 7.3 more seasons at his average to reach Brees. At almost 38, that seems unlikely.
One thing is certainly clear when looking at this list: the last decade or so really has been the age of inflated passing numbers.
Of the 20 quarterbacks in the chart, 10 played the bulk of their career in just the last 10 years, and 13 of them played at least a small part of their career in the last decade.
Can Anyone Catch TB12?
So, does anyone have a chance at catching Brady?
Russell Wilson has been one of the more productive players in the league over the last few years. But he would need to play more than 12 more seasons – well into his 40s – at his current career average just to catch Brees.
The current player with the most realistic shot to catch Brady is probably Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Only Matt Ryan has more total passing yards than Mahomes since he took over as the Chiefs starter in 2018. And though his projection is looking WAY into the future, if Mahomes can maintain his average of 4,717 yards per season, he can pass Brees in 14 years, at the age of 39.
As for passing Brady on the all-time list and taking over the record the Bucs QB is a few weeks from setting, fans can expect to watch that happen (maybe against Mahomes’ current Chiefs?) when Mahomes is a spry 40-plus years old. Sometime between 2035 and 2040. Enjoy the game!
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