At age 41, Tom Brady outlasted Patrick Mahomes in an all-out war for the AFC Championship — a win that should be considered one of the best of his career.
Tom Brady has been doing this for a very long time.
Ever since becoming the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots way back in 2001 at the age of 24, Brady has made a Hall of Fame career out of fourth quarter comebacks and clutch postseason victories. The result, to this point, has been five Super Bowl championships … with possibly more to come.
Now at age 41, not much has changed for Brady. In what might go down as the greatest AFC Championship Game of all time, he once again brought the Patriots back in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, and then led them to victory in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-31, to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIII — Brady’s ninth appearance in the Big Game.
Throughout Brady’s illustrious 19-year career, he’s had so many incredible wins in this league that it’s hard to keep count. But Sunday’s win in the AFC title game, at the very least, is right up near the top of that list.
Playing on the road at Arrowhead Stadium against a Kansas City team that, on paper, was far better than New England, this wasn’t a game Brady should’ve won. Many folks thought it should’ve been the unofficial “passing of the torch” game for young Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is likely to be the MVP of the National Football League this year.
But in this all-out war against the 23-year-old — a game in which Mahomes brought the Chiefs back from a 14-0 halftime deficit, and then repeatedly again in the fourth quarter — Brady just adamantly refused to pass the torch. No matter how many times Mahomes clawed the Chiefs back, Brady didn’t waver.
No drive was more impressive than New England’s opening possession of the overtime period, when Brady converted on third-and-10 not once, not twice, but THREE times to set up Rex Burkhead for the game-winning touchdown. This was the ultimate test of who had the most guts, and as per usual, Brady rose to the occasion once again.
The guts Brady displayed on Sunday night resembled what we saw from him two years ago in Super Bowl LI, when the Patriots roared back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons. That game, to this day, probably remains Brady’s most impressive victory. It’s difficult to match something like that from a drama standpoint.
But New England’s win over Kansas City has to rank in Brady’s top two or three most impressive wins of his career. He threw for 348 yards, including a touchdown pass, while helping the Patriots grind out their toughest win of the season.
At an age when he should be well into retirement, he once again maintained his firm grip on the AFC’s throne, despite all of the signs that it was time for Mahomes and the Chiefs to officially take over that spotlight.
It just goes to show that no matter how old he gets, and no matter how many obstacles get thrown in his direction, you can never, ever bet against Brady. He simply refuses to die.