Tom Brady has played in the National Football League for two-plus decades. The legendary quarterback believes the NFL is softer now than it was when he first came into the league.
The seven-time Super Bowl champion shared his thoughts on this week’s episode of SiriusXM NFL Radio’s “Let’s Go!”
Brady believes the league’s rules have allowed for more running quarterbacks.
“I think there’s probably a lot of shortsightedness,” Brady said, via Pro Football Talk. “You know, when I hear that a lot, because I’ve heard over the years, you know, ‘Oh, the game is changing,’ and so forth. I think the game changes in different ways, absolutely. It evolves and changes and grows and hopefully it’s getting better. And at the same time I think that there has always been, you know, incredible athletes playing professional football at the quarterback position. Randall Cunningham was an incredible athlete. Kenny Stabler was an incredible quarterback. Roger Staubach was. Michael Vick, I mean, I don’t know if there’s anyone more athletic that’s ever played than Michael Vick. … I think it definitely adds an element to the game.
“But at the same time, the name of the game is scoring points. So there’s definitely more volatility, I would say, in that style of play over a period of time. You’re definitely more injury prone because you’re out of the pocket. You don’t have the types of protection that you typically have in the pocket. And I would say the one thing that’s probably changed over the years in terms of why it’s probably gone a little more this way is, and I’ve alluded to this in the past, I think they’re calling more penalties on defensive players for hitting, you know, for violent contact. And I think when you’re out of the pocket, you know, we got called on a play yesterday where Ryan Jensen’s going basically to protect our runner, and they throw an unnecessary roughness on an offensive lineman that I don’t think would have been called, you know, five years ago. There’s a lot of plays and hits that are happening on quarterbacks now, that are flags for defensive players, that probably weren’t that way 10 or 15 years ago.
“So I’d say the game is a little softer than it used to be. I think the defensive players are more on the defensive when they go in to tackle. And I think that’s probably adding to this element of quarterbacks outside the pocket and taking more chances, you know, than they did in the past.”
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) September 22, 2021
Of course, Brady is somewhat to blame for this. His torn ACL injury in 2008 is the kind of injury the NFL now wants to avoid. The new quarterback protection rules – not being able to go low, etc. – are there to protect quarterbacks from taking the kind of hit Brady did.
NFL fans don’t want to see those kind of injuries, of course. However, protecting quarterbacks is adding to the softness that Brady is talking about. And, without those rules, would Brady be able to play until his mid-40s?
“Yeah, thanks to him!” one fan said of the softness.
“That’s why you’re still playing,” another fan added.
“That’s why he’s going to be able to play til 50. No way he would’ve been able to without these rule changes,” another fan added.
The fans are right, of course. However, so is Brady. The game is softer now than it used to be. But that doesn’t mean the league is wrong for choosing to be that way.