John Adams, Patrick Henry, John Hancock and Thomas Paine were younger than the currently 41-year-old Tom Brady when they signed the Declaration of Independence.
As Brady's victorious performance against the previously 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs showed Sunday night, this ageless Founding Father of the New England Patriots' dynasty might play MVP-caliber football into his mid-40s. If Brady does, great for him. Great for the Patriots. Good for the NFL. Bad for the rest of the AFC.
What if Brady is human? What if we're seeing the last couple of years of the New England dynasty? It's the question we keep asking.
"Holding on to dynasty is Patriots' next challenge," a New York Times headline read ... in February 2005!
Year after year, analysts have wondered whether losing Ty Law, Richard Seymour, Randy Moss and so many other notables might trigger the Patriots' demise. However, the NFL's self-evident truths hold that unless you're the Joe Gibbs-era Washington Redskins, the head coach and quarterback are the irreplaceable pillars in the modern dynasty. Everything else changes over time.
That is why Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs appear better positioned than their AFC peers to fill the void if the Patriots' dynasty runs its course anytime soon. They check the all-important head coach and quarterback boxes. With input from NFL execs, I've stacked the Patriots' 15 AFC challengers by their prospects for building the next dynasty. Some of the better teams today lag in the rankings.