"Tom Brady has carried the Patriots for more than a decade, helping make the team one of the premier franchises in all of pro sports. As the quarterback ages, the question now becomes, can the rest of the team help carry the quarterback for the next several seasons and keep the Patriots among the NFL's elite?
The matter creates something of a conundrum for the franchise. The bulk of the team is young and improving, but the most important player is older and past his prime. How does the franchise balance those two facts?
There is no way anyone can reasonably expect Brady to play like the Brady of 2007, when he established personal-bests in numerous categories as he led the Pats to the first 16-0 regular-season record in league history. Brady did that at age 30, precisely the time when athletes in most sports are expected to peak.
To his credit, Brady has kept himself in good shape and continues to produce great numbers as his team has maintained its position among the powers in the game. Brady has said he hopes to continue playing to age 40 and beyond. There is every reason to expect that the New England offense, the best in the NFL this year, will not continue to produce good numbers as long as Brady is at the controls.
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