The NFL game has changed in many ways over the past two decades.
Once a league dominated by the run game and hard-hitting linebackers, the passing game has become king as rule changes have increasingly come to favor teams that spread the ball around the field.
Tom Brady – in his 21st NFL season — has seen the evolution of the game first-hand. If anyone is qualified to discuss the ways in which the game has changed, it’s Brady.
He’s been a starting quarterback in the NFL since 2001, in a game that was played much differently than it is in today’s NFL. Front office executives are now looking for quarterbacks who can spread the field and make plays with their legs as opposed to the traditional pocket QB.
On the latest episode of the “Let’s Go!” podcast with broadcaster Jim Gray, Brady spoke about the increase of mobile quarterbacks in the NFL and whether the trend will continue.
“I think there’s probably a lot of shortsightedness,” Brady said. “You know, when I hear that a lot, because I’ve heard over the years, you know, ‘Oh, the game is changing,’ and so forth. I think the game changes in different ways, absolutely. It evolves and changes and grows, and hopefully it’s getting better.”
“And at the same time, I think that there has always been, you know, incredible athletes playing professional football at the quarterback position. Randall Cunningham was an incredible athlete. Kenny Stabler was an incredible quarterback. Roger Staubach was. Michael Vick, I mean, I don’t know if there’s anyone more athletic that’s ever played than Michael Vick … I think it definitely adds an element to the game.”
Brady went on to discuss the ways in which the game has become more difficult for defensive players.
Once viewed as a violent sport with big collisions and suffocating defenses, the NFL has become a quarterback’s dream, with defenses seemingly playing with one hand tied behind their backs.
“And I would say the one thing that’s probably changed over the years in terms of why it’s probably gone a little more this way is, and I’ve alluded to this in the past, I think they’re calling more penalties on defensive players for hitting, you know, for violent contact,” Brady continued. “And I think when you’re out of the pocket, you know, we got called on a play yesterday where Ryan Jensen’s going basically to protect our runner and they throw an unnecessary roughness on an offensive lineman that I don’t think would have been called, you know, five years ago.”
“There’s a lot of plays and hits that are happening on quarterbacks now, that are flags for defensive players, that probably weren’t that way 10 or 15 years ago. So I’d say the game is a little softer than it used to be. I think the defensive players are more on the defensive when they go in to tackle. And I think that’s probably adding to this element of quarterbacks outside the pocket and taking more chances, you know, than they did in the past.”
Whether the league is actually “softer” or not, changes to the game don’t appear to have an impact on Brady. He’s coming off his seventh Super Bowl win and has his Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-0 to start the 2021 season. Brady has thrown nine touchdowns in the first two games.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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