Tom Brady: NFL’s Emphasis on Player Safety has Aided His Reign

FOX Sports

October 27, 2021

Tom Brady doesn’t need any extra help in his effort to be great.

If there were ever a blueprint for being a successful NFL quarterback, Brady is its undisputed author.

The things he has done at the pro level are difficult to fathom, and at age 44, he’s still recognized league-wide as one of the premier players at his position.

He has a number of factors to thank for his long-substantiated success. Those include a strictly regimented diet, rigorous training and sleep schedules, great playcalling and an outstanding defense to bolster his endeavors.

But according to TB12 himself, the NFL’s numerous rule changes over the course of his professional tenure have played a role in his dominant reign as well.

On Brady’s recent podcast, entitled “Let’s Go!” on Sirius XM, Colin Cowherd had the opportunity to ask the QB a question about the evolution the league has undergone since he became an NFL QB.

On Tuesday’s edition of “The Herd,” Cowherd shared Brady’s response, which was a profound look at the game through his eyes:

“The game that I played 20 years ago is very different than the game now, in the sense that now it’s more skills competition than it is physical football,” Brady said. “At one point, the only way to be skilled was to be tough. For example, the onus of protecting another player is now on the opponent, as opposed to yourself [as the quarterback].

“The 600th TD pass I ever threw in my career was to Mike Evans yesterday. Ten years ago, I never would have thrown that football because the safety was standing right there, and he essentially can’t hit the way that he used to be able to hit him. … There are a lot of players, like Ray Lewis, that I didn’t throw the ball between the hashes because Ray Lewis was going to knock them out of the game. I think the onus of protecting the receivers should be on the quarterbacks, not on the defensive backs. … I don’t believe in cheap shots … but that’s like being in a boxing ring and saying, ‘Don’t hit your opponent too hard because you might hurt him.'”

The NFL has certainly placed greater emphasis on player safety in recent years. Not only are quarterbacks treated with the utmost care by officials, but running backs and receivers are also now afforded similar privileges.

In today’s era, a wideout running across the middle of the field can elicit a flag if he’s hit by a defender before making a “football move.” In the past, the middle was a far more dangerous place.

These restrictions have opened the floodgates for potent passing attacks such as the one headed by Brady.

“We know why the league is doing this,” Cowherd said. “[NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell’s biggest fear is somebody dying or getting seriously hurt. It’s the biggest fear of the business. They have made the game much safer and much friendlier over the middle. I’m for it. The concerns for concussions are real, and the league has done a really good job. Practice is easier. The rules are better. It’s never been safer.”

These safe practices have allowed the likes of Patrick Mahomes , Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Josh Allen and more to chart paths that might have been blocked at the start of Brady’s career.

As for Brady, he’s seemingly immune to time, and like a chameleon, he changes to adapt to his surroundings.

His new surroundings have created a habitat that is allowing him to thrive well into his 40s.

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