FOXBOROUGH, Mbad. (AP) — When Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft was requested earlier this yr how lengthy he thought Tom Brady may proceed to play quarterback within the NFL, Kraft stated he may envision Brady taking part in into his 50s.

It was a prediction that even Brady chuckled at after celebrating his 40th birthday in August.

“He said the 50s? I don’t think I’ve even said the 50s,” Brady stated. “I’ve never thought about not playing. At least until my mid-40s, I said, so that’s a pretty good goal in and of itself, and then we’ll see when I get there.”

While the tip remains to be be to be decided, what’s not up for debate is the religion the Patriots have in Brady as he navigates the unsure waters of being a 40-year-old NFL quarterback.

But it additionally shines extra of a highlight on him as New England (6-2) eyes a return to the Super Bowl within the second half of the 2017 season.

That was crystallized with the shock Halloween commerce of Brady’s backup Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco. That adopted the preseason commerce of Jacoby Brissett, breaking apart what Patriots coach Bill Belichick stated he believed had been “the best quarterback situation in the league” over the previous 2 half seasons.

New England added former Brady backup Brian Hoyer to fill the job once more, however Hoyer is clearly not a succession choice for the franchise every time Brady decides to conclude his Hall of Fame profession.

“I don’t know what that means,” Brady stated in response to Garoppolo’s commerce in a radio interview with Westwood One on Monday evening. “This is a week-to-week league. Things change so quickly from week to week, year to year.”

So far this season, Brady has largely gotten the higher of Father Time. Though he is taken extra hits than he did a season in the past (he is already been sacked 21 occasions and hit 43 occasions), he has pbading numbers just like ones he put up throughout his MVP seasons in 2007 and 2010

Eight video games into 2017, he has accomplished 67 p.c of his pbades for two,541 yards, 16 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Brady can be on observe to set a brand new normal for 40-year-old quarterbacks. Since the 1970 merger, solely three — Brett Favre, Warren Moon and Vinny Testaverde — have began not less than 10 video games after celebrating their 40th birthday.

Of that trio, Favre is the one one to win not less than 10 video games, going 12-Four with Minnesota in 2009. He’s additionally the one quarterback to win a playoff recreation at 40.

Brady tied Peyton Manning because the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl when he did it at age 39 in February. He would sit alone within the report books if he can do it at 40.

Asked if Brady has exceeded his expectations up to now this season, Belichick stated at a sure level each participant’s prospects are checked out solely in “year-to-year” segments.

“So the expectations aren’t over a long period of time and a longer window like they are with a player coming into the league,” Belichick stated. “When you get players that have reached a certain point, then it’s their ability to maintain. … Trying to predict that is not something that I think is easy. It’s not something that I try to do a lot of.”

For now, not less than, the Patriots appear comfy placing their offensive fortunes in a 40-year-old sign caller that hasn’t missed a begin attributable to harm since he sustained a knee harm within the 2008 season opener.

“In my mind this is all about this season and us trying to win,” Brady stated. “I’m trying to do the best I can do for our team, like I always do. I am going to bring it every single day like I’ve tried to do for the last 18 years.”

___

For extra NFL protection: https://www.professional32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/khightower

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.