Two quarterbacks are big stories as the 2017 National Football League (NFL) season gets started. Let's look at both.
New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady may be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Just look at his numbers.
●Five Super Bowl championships.
●12 Pro Bowls.
●Almost 62,000 career passing yards.
●456 career touchdown passes.
Last year, Brady had one of his finest seasons, passing for 28 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. Then he led the Patriots to a thrilling 34-28 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. ("LI" is 51 in Roman numerals.)
But there is another important number in Brady's athletic résumé: He turned 40 years old on August 3.
Brady has talked a lot about playing several more years in the NFL. The hard truth, however, is that almost no one has been a top NFL quarterback after age 40.
Brett Favre had a terrific season when he was 40, throwing for 33 touchdowns and more than 4,200 yards. By the next season, however, Favre was done. Warren Moon was a Pro Bowl quarterback at age 41. But just like Favre, he was no all-star after that.
Brady looked old last week in the Patriots' 42-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Maybe he can bounce back. But even the greatest athletes are defeated by time.
The big story with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is that he is not playing.
You may remember that Kaepernick started a controversy last season by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem.
Kaepernick said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." Other athletes have protested in similar ways.
Kaepernick became a free agent after the 2016 season, meaning he could sign a contract with any team that wanted him. Problem is, no team wants him.
Lots of people think the NFL teams are "blackballing," or refusing to sign, Kaepernick because of his protests. It's hard to believe that not even one team could use a 29-year-old player who has started 58 NFL games, thrown for 72 touchdowns and run for 13 more. Kaepernick has also played — and played well — in six playoff games, including Super Bowl XLVII (47).
It's particularly hard to believe that no one wants Kaepernick when you look at NFL rosters and see at least 14 quarterbacks who have never thrown a single pass in an NFL regular-season game. There are a dozen more quarterbacks who do not have Kaepernick's experience or accomplishments.
My sense is that Kaepernick would be playing if he had stood during the national anthem.