Tom Brady

Taking a leaf from Madonna's playbook, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made  a stunning comment yesterday.

"I'm still a young man, so as long as I’m still effective, I want to play for a long time," Brady said. "I’d like to think that I’m not at halftime yet."

Brady's 33 now, and in Year 11, which means he wants to play 22 years. That would make his final NFL season in 2021. Impossible? Perhaps. But who would've thought back in 2000 that Brett Favre would still be playing now?

Brady will still be on the clock when his freshly signed contract extension expires, following the 2014 season. He'll be 37 then and in fact about to turn 38, and that's right where Hall of Fame quarterbacks of recent years have called it quits.

Eight quarterbacks who retired in the last 25 years have been inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame: Warren Moon retired at 44; Dan Marino, John Elway, Steve Young, and Joe Montana retired at 38; Dan Fouts and Jim Kelly called it quits at 36; and Troy Aikman finished up at 34.

Meanwhile Favre has proved - or at least proved last year - that a quarterback can well go into his 40's.

Asked about playing later in life this week Rich Gannon, who was actually originally drafted by the Patriots, reminded the press he won AP NFL MVP honors at the ripe old age of 37, and his four Pro Bowls came at 34, 35, 36 and 37.

In fact, he was insistent that he could still go out there now, at 45 years old, and play the position.

"The first thing is footwork, that ability to get away from the line of scrimmage,’" Gannon said. “If you look at Peyton and Tom and put them in the 40-yard dash, no one’s going to be too excited. But put them in a confined pocket, and watch them step up, slide, and throw from an awkward position and see how efficient they are.

"There’s a reason. How many times does Brady get hit because he doesn’t see the corner blitz coming? Never happens, because he’s smart. He’s a master of that domain with his understanding of that scheme, the protection, what the defensive coordinator is doing, the situation, down-and-distance, all of it.

"If Tom Brady tells you he’ll probably play another 10 years, I’d bet there’s truth to it."