Tom Brady has dominated the NFL for much longer than anyone would have ever guessed back nearly two decades ago. The list of accolades is long – really long – and it just keeps growing. Brady is the savior in New England and he has become the most overly scrutinized athlete since his rise to fame. But that’s what five Super Bowl rings will do. All the haters quickly come out into the spotlight any time Brady’s name is dropped.
You think Brady cares? Heck no. His wife is one of the most attractive women in the world, he’s a multi-millionaire and won’t have to worry about money for the rest of his life, and he may go down as the best athlete to ever play the game of football (at the least he’s the winningest quarterback of all time). Even though Brady might go down as the best player in NFL history, next year his aging body will falter. But what can we expect from a quarterback who will be 40 next season? If we look at the history of the league and what the aging human body has done to performance, it is safe to say Brady will be sidelined with injury, or that he’ll begin throwing more interceptions as he loses some of that power and accuracy on his throws.
But next season will prove to be odd for good ole’ Tom. Next season will be oddly average for the superstar quarterback. Sure, he’ll still be better than a good chunk of quarterbacks and will post better numbers than a lot of the guys out there. But he will also see a good chunk of quarterbacks outperform him for the first time in a very long time. With this list we look at the eight quarterbacks who will be better than Brady, and seven quarterbacks who will be worse than the future first ballot Hall of Famer.
15 BETTER: CAM NEWTON
Tom Brady doesn’t have a chance in this matchup against Cam Newton, even though the Carolina star had an uncharacteristically rough season last year. Newton went from his best season in the NFL straight into his worst.
But he’ll rebound back into the league’s elite next season. Similar to how he played back In 2015, when Newton won the MVP award as he led the Panthers to a 15-1 record. Newton threw for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Then, everything changed in 2016 as the Panthers finished with a miserable 6-8 record. That year, Newton tossed about 3,500 yards and just 19 touchdowns with a whopping 14 interceptions. Without a doubt, Newton will perform better than last season. He will likely repeat one of his three Pro Bowl worthy seasons. At the very least, he’ll put up better numbers than the 40-year-old guy leading New England.
14 WORSE: KIRK COUSINS
By the end of next season, Washington fans will be booing Kirk Cousins off the team. Cousins has been good, but he’ll have one of the worst stat lines among starting quarterbacks by the end of next season. After signing him to a quick deal this year, Cousins will be thrown into free agency again and struggle to find a starting spot.
Sure, Cousins has shown flashes of greatness over the last two seasons. He even strung together enough solid play last season that he was selected to the Pro Bowl. But he’s nothing more than an average quarterback with a below-average surrounding cast. Next year, we’ll all watch as Cousins begins to fade away from relevance and his career moves to a bench role. Cousins will in no way or form be comparable to Tom Brady net season.
13 BETTER: ANDREW LUCK
Andrew Luck may not have as many Pro Bowl selections (he’s got three) or as powerful of a stat sheet, but he’s the true talent behind his team’s offense. Luck will be the reason the Colts succeed, or fail. That’s partly why Tom Brady falls behind Luck for the first time in his career. Next season, New England will, for the first time, rely on guys other than Brady when the team is fighting for wins. Next season will be the first time that Brady isn’t the end all decider on the Patriots squad.
Both Luck and Brady will lead their teams to the postseason. But Luck will prove to have more of an impact on his team’s success, which is why he’ll be seen as a better quarterback then Brady by the end of next season. The Colts will benefit from the quarterback’s solid play and be fighting for a deep postseason run. Luck, the 2014 passing touchdowns leader, is going to show a strengthened connection with T.Y. Hilton and the duo will post some league-leading numbers.
12 WORSE: PHILIP RIVERS
This is an odd case. Philip Rivers was a Pro Bowl quarterback, but he was leading a team that finished with just five wins. Was that a fluke? It doesn’t seem like it. The year before the Chargers recorded just four wins. Rivers isn’t going to turn that trend around and Tom Brady will, without a doubt, lead the Patriots to yet another winning season. In all fairness to the Chargers quarterback, those are the two worst records Rivers has seen since he began starting for the team back in 2006 (that year they had their best record, 14-2).
Rivers will be 36 next season and he knows there’s not going to be many more seasons left. It will be important for him to return with a winning record next season. But he won’t be able to make that happen. Rivers has led the NFL in interceptions for two of the last three seasons, and he’ll nearly top the league again next year. And no matter how long Brady is in the league, he’ll never toss that many turnovers.
11 BETTER: BEN ROETHLISBERGER
In a surprising twist, we’ll be saying goodbye to Ben Roethlisberger at the end of next season while Tom Brady will continue to play into his 40s. It will be Roethlisberger’s last season in the NFL as the often-injured quarterback just can’t take any more beatings in the NFL. To Roethlisberger’s credit, he doesn’t miss much time for how often he is banged up. But it’s tough for him to play every game in the regular season. However, that won’t change anything in terms of this matchup, Roethlisberger will outplay Brady in terms of stats and wins, especially in the postseason.
Roethlisberger is leading one of the AFC’s best teams and that will become absolutely obvious in the postseason as the Steelers will take down the Patriots as the best team in the conference. Roethlisberger will finish off his career with a great season, and he’ll take solace in knowing that he beat out Brady in terms of performance in his final season.
10 WORSE: JOE FLACCO
Including Joe Flacco on this list is actually a compliment, even though he’ll undoubtedly be worse than Tom Brady by the end of next season. Flacco is one of the Super Bowl winning quarterbacks in the NFL who are often overlooked. Maybe it’s because he leads the Ravens to average records quite often, or maybe it’s because he doesn’t have many successful postseason runs. But whatever the case, Flacco is a reliable and solid NFL quarterback.
But Flacco has no chance at outplaying Brady next season. The first reason is because the Ravens don’t really have a shot at the postseason. There’s no way they’re outlasting the Steelers in the regular season and the Wild Card spot will be too competitive for them to slip in. Not only that, but Flacco has never been a huge producer on the stat sheet, and there’s no chance he’ll beat Brady in that category next season.
9 BETTER: SAM BRADFORD
This will drive a lot of people crazy, but Sam Bradford will finally be playing like everyone expected when he was the first overall pick. To be fair, though, Sam Bradford has been a sneakily good quarterback for the past couple of seasons (that was after a two-year stretch that was plagued with injuries).
Why will Bradford be better than Tom Brady?
It’s all about the completions and accuracy. Bradford completed the highest percentage of passes among quarterbacks last season and has always had a very accurate arm. It didn’t lead the Vikings to a postseason performance last year, but he has a chance to make that run this year. Bradford’s stat line was just crazy last season as he completed 71.6 percent of his passes for nearly 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns with just five interceptions. Expect all of that to get better this season.
8 WORSE: MATT RYAN
Matt Ryan will fall victim to the Super Bowl slump and he will not see anything near the MVP season he recorded last season. It will be another dagger for Tom Brady as the 40-year-old quarterback will crush Ryan in every statistical category. In fact, Ryan won’t even be a Pro Bowl selection after he plays a mediocre season next year. Ryan has missed just two starts in his entire career, so we don’t expect injuries to plague his season. But that chemistry between Ryan and Julio Jones will begin to fade and the Falcons chances of winning will suffer.
Sure, Ryan will still barely get the Falcons to the postseason, but the team won’t last long in the playoffs. The Falcons will be pushed out by whatever lucky opponent gets them in the first round. Ryan may rebound to the Super Bowl in the future, but it definitely won’t be next year.
7 BETTER: DREW BREES
Drew Brees and Tom Brady have a lot of similarities. Brees is another one of the NFL stars who will be relentlessly questioned next season about his retirement. Brees will be 38 and there’s no telling how much longer he wants to stay in the league. He’s still performing better than most of the league, and he’ll continue that trend as he outplays Brady next season.
In fact, Brees has led the league in completions two of the last three seasons and has led the league in passing yards for three-consecutive seasons (he’s done that six times in his career and has led the league in touchdowns four times). None of that will change going into next season. Brees probably wants another Super Bowl ring to cap off his amazing career, but that won’t happen this season. It’s likely that he will continue with near league-leading numbers, but New Orleans defense just can’t match up with its high-octane offense, which will stump Brees late in the season.
6 WORSE: RYAN TANNEHILL
These two get to go against each other twice each season. That’s always been a tough blow for Ryan Tannehill, and Tom Brady isn’t going to make it any easier this season. Brady will still dominate the division and the Dolphins are going to see a sharp decline from the success the saw last season. While on the field, Tannehill led the Dolphins to an 8-5 record. Expect those numbers to flip by the end of next season.
Brady will continue dominating the division as he will lead the Patriots to one of the top spots in the postseason. Tannehill, however, will lead the Dolphins to just five wins and will wonder whether or not he has a starting job lined up for the start 2019 regular season. People will also wonder if Brady will be starting in 2019, but that’s only because his age will prompt questions of retirement for as long as he continues to play.
5 BETTER: DEREK CARR
Here we meet another quarterback that just means more to his team than Tom Brady will next season. Both Derek Carr and Brady will have similar stats and records by the end of next season, but Carr will be much more influential in the wins he records giving him the edge in this matchup.
It was obvious what Carr means to this team after he couldn’t play in the playoffs last season because of an injury. Carr led the Raiders to a 12-3 record and proved they were a contender late in the season. But then Carr was sidelined and the Raiders fell apart in their final regular season game and then barely competed in their postseason performance. Luckily, Carr’s young and he’ll have many more chances to make a postseason run. With no surprise to many fans, Carr will lead his team to the postseason again. What might surprise some people is that Carr will be more of a help for Oakland than Brady will be for New England.
4 WORSE: CARSON PALMER
In this matchup we look at another aged quarterback. But in this case, aging isn’t a good thing. Carson Palmer will be 38 next season. Sure, Tom Brady is a couple years older, but age will finally prevent Palmer from posting the type of numbers that he’s grown accustom to. Palmer has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in four of the past five seasons, and there’s a good chance he would have done that for the past five years if he were able to play more than six games in 2014 (he won all six of those games that season).
Palmer hasn’t led the league in interceptions since 2007, but he’ll be competing for that awful stat next season (obviously it won’t be by choice). Previous injuries will come back to bite him and he’ll have many more troubles than success. There’s just no chance that Palmer will outplay Brady in any type of way next season.
3 BETTER: AARON RODGERS
There’s a few things that these quarterbacks have in common. They’re both really good. They’re both extremely successful both on and off the field. And most importantly, they’re both playing on teams that will make the playoffs as long as they are on the field starting behind center. Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have been two of the best quarterbacks in the league for years, but by the end of next season it will be obvious that Rodgers is the one still playing at an elite level.
Rodgers will be one of the few guys considered for the Most Valuable Player award after next season, while Brady will be struggling to prove he’s still one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Brady will still be better than most of the league, but he won’t be better than guys like Rodgers.
2 WORSE: RUSSELL WILSON
Russell Wilson is still going to be playing on a playoff bound team. In fact, the Seahawks will be one of the better teams and scariest teams that will play in the postseason. But Tom Brady will prove to be a better quarterback than Wilson time and time again next season. There’s no doubting it, the Seahawks have been successful because of their defense, and they will continue to be successful as they will field one of the league’s most dominant defensive units.
But Seattle will experience some struggles with Wilson at quarterback. The Patriots will likely experience more struggles with their aged quarterback, but not as many as Wilson. Although both of these quarterbacks will have starting spots for years to come if they choose to accept them, they will both see some tough times next season.
1 BETTER: DAK PRESCOTT
This matchup looks at both ends of the spectrum. On one end we are looking at the face of NFL veterans. We are looking at the future face of the Hall of Fame, which is not in the too distant future. With Tom Brady, we see what every quarterback should aspire to. On the other end of things we look at one of the NFL’s newest faces. We are looking at a guy who is playing like a potential Hall of Famer, but it’s just far, far too early to consider that type of possibility.
Despite the major differences in age and experience, Dak Prescott will keep is stature as one of the league’s best quarterbacks and will crush Brady in the wins category as well as statistical performance. Prescott is going to continue building on his successes from last season and won’t be looked at as a naïve rookie, but instead a seasoned and experienced professional quarterback.