One quarterback is just starting his storied career; the other is just ending it. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and the recently retired Tom Brady are at very different points in their careers, but how did Brady stack up when he was Burrow’s age?
“Back in my day….” Brady might start, and in truth, each quarterback went down very divergent paths.
Burrow was the No. 1 pick of 2020; Brady was a sixth-rounder. Both ended up elevating their respective franchises to new heights, but at 25 years old, Brady offered just a narrow glimpse of the elite quarterback he turned out to be.
FanSided’s Matt Lombardo spoke with several NFL executives about Joe Burrow’s monumental rise to the top, and one anonymous executive believes Burrow has bested Brady in one area:
"“At his age, Joe Burrow is better than Tom Brady because of his foot quickness and athleticism. He’s a better athlete today than Tom Brady ever was.”"
Only time will tell if Burrow can match Brady’s gifted acumen, as Brady has been heralded as one of the most intelligent minds to play under center. When it comes to physical traits, though, Burrow may be a “step” ahead.
Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow is arguably a better athlete than Tom Brady
The league saw Burrow’s Houdini-like ability to dodge and duck under defenders in Cincinnati’s AFC Championship win over the Chiefs. At 40 years old, Tom Brady could never pull off dropbacks like that, and even if he were 15 years younger, it would still be difficult to imagine Brady counting on his legs in such a scenario.
Brady himself admitted Burrow has shown incredible mental and physical “toughness” in Year 2, something Brady may not have possessed so early in his career.
On an episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast with Larry Fitzgerald and Jim Gray, Brady said:
"“I think (Joe has) some tools that I didn’t quite have when I was his age. Super impressed by how he’s kind of come into the league. … Two years into his career after a really tough injury last year (he) showed a lot mental, physical toughness coming back and having an incredible season.”"
Burrow’s and Brady’s stats at 25 read roughly the same: Burrow has Brady beat in passing yards, touchdowns, and completion percentage, but Brady played the cleaner game.
A clean game could be all Burrow needs to win his first Super Bowl when the Bengals face the Rams on Feb. 13.
Brady has seven rings and an illustrious NFL career that young quarterbacks can only dream of. But something else Burrow can do that Brady can’t?
Win the Heisman Trophy, a college football championship, and a Super Bowl. Brady hopes Burrow is the first person to do so and jokingly said on the podcast that “if that happens, you should go out on top and retire.”
When that happens, we’d like to think there are many more Super Bowl-winning years in Burrow yet.