How Old Are Tom Brady and Drew Brees? Veteran QBs Set to Make NFL History

Tom Brady and Drew Brees will set a new NFL record when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.

The matchup in New Orleans will mark the first first postseason matchup in NFL history featuring two opposing starting quarterbacks aged 40 or older—Brees turned 42 on Friday and Brady is seven months short of his 44th birthday.

By the time the game kicks off at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the two most prolific passers in NFL history will have a combined age of 85 years and 169 days, the oldest combined age of opposing starting quarterbacks in any game in NFL history across both regular season and playoffs.

While the AFC is the domain of young quarterbacks—this year, for the first time ever, all four starting quarterbacks in one conference were yet to turn 26 before they took the field in the Divisional Round—veteran signal callers continue to thrive in the NFC.

Brady joked about it himself last week, when he shared an edited picture of him and Brees completed with ageing effects and the History Channel logo.

The reward for the winner on Sunday night will be a meeting with fellow veteran Aaron Rodgers—who could admittedly be considered a relative upstart compared to Brady and Brees as he turned 37 last month—in the NFC Championship Game next week.

Their age is just one of many fascinating facets of the showdown between two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Brady ranks first in NFL history—including playoff games—in passing yards and touchdown passes with 90,973 and 656 respectively, while Brees is second in both categories with 85,890 and 607 respectively.

When playoffs games are included the duo are also first and second in game-winning drives—Brady has 61 to Brees' 56—and first and fourth for total wins by a quarterback.

With 18 and 17, Brady and Brees rank second and third in NFL annals in terms of quarterbacks with the longest streak of consecutive postseason games with at least one touchdown pass behind Brett Favre's all-time record of 20.

Brady could beat the record if the Bucs go all the way to Super Bowl LV, which would also make Tampa Bay the first franchise in NFL history to play the NFL title game on home turf.

While Brady and Brees' age has dominated the conversation ahead of their Divisional Round matchup, the two quarterbacks' circumstances couldn't be more different. The former has repeatedly indicated he intends to play until he's 45, while the latter is expected to retire at the end of the season and has already agreed to join NBC once his playing days are over.

If Brady has been a mainstay of the NFL postseason during a two-decade run with the New England Patriots that delivered six Super Bowl rings and a further three Super Bowl appearances, the same cannot be said for the Bucs.

Tampa Bay's 31-23 win in Washington in the Wild Card Round last week was the franchise's first in the postseason since 2002, which was also the last time the Bucs reached the Divisional Round in a season that ended with them defeating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Conversely, the Saints have become a regular feature at this stage of the postseason, having now reached the Divisional Round three times in the last four seasons. New Orleans arrives into Sunday on the back of a five-winning streak against their NFC South rivals and has outscored them 72-26 in their two regular season meetings—a 34-23 win at home in Week 1 and a 38-3 shellacking in Tampa in Week 9.

The home loss against the Saints was the first of a run of three defeats in four games for Tampa, leading into its Week 13 bye. Ever since then, however, the Bucs have rediscovered their mojo winning five games in a row with Brady throwing 14 touchdowns and just one interception.

Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates a touchdown in the second half against the Washington Football Team at FedExField on January 9 in Landover, Maryland. The win over Washington was Brady's 42nd career win in the playoffs. Patrick Smith/Getty