Tom Brady is a lot of things -- a five-time Super Bowl champ, a four-time Super Bowl MVP, a first-ballot Hall of Famer should he ever retire, devilishly handsome and the husband of a supermodel. He's also incredibly humble because he'd like us to believe that he is not, in fact, the greatest quarterback in the history of human existence.
"I don't agree with that and I'll tell you why," Brady told ESPN.com's Ian O'Connor, presumably while stifling an "I'm just kidding" smirk. "I know myself as a player. I'm really a product of what I've been around, who I was coached by, what I played against, in the era I played in. I really believe if a lot of people were in my shoes they could accomplish the same kinds of things. So I've been very fortunate."
Brady has been fortunate, for sure, but so too has Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Don't forget, the Browns ran Belichick out of town after going 36-44 in five seasons. That doesn't happen with Brady as his quarterback, Cleveland sports curses be damned. Put another way: You could argue that Brady -- not Belichick -- is the most important cog in the Patriots' 15-year run of dominance. And if Brady has his way, that won't end anytime soon; the 39-year-old maintains that he wants to play into his mid-40s.
"I always said my mid-40s," he said, "and naturally that means around 45. If I get there and I still feel like I do today, I don't see why I wouldn't want to continue."
Added bonus: Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, is on board with her husband suiting up for another five or six seasons.
"She wants me to do that, too," Brady said. "She also wants me to take good care of myself and still have my energy. My kids have grown up faster than I thought."
Realistically speaking, though, how much longer could Brady continue?
"That's a great question," he said. "If you said 50, then you can say 60, too, then 70. I think 45 is a pretty good number for right now. I know the effort it takes to be 40. ... My love for the sport will never go away. I don't think at 45 it will go away. At some point, everybody moves on. Some people don't do it on their terms. I feel I want it to be on my terms. I've got to make appropriate choices on how to do that, how to put myself in the best position to reach my long-term goals."
Spoken like a man with exactly.