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Battle of the Ageless: McCown vs. Brady

78 Years of Life Experience Will Have At It Sunday when Josh & the Jets Take On Tom & the Patriots


The ultimate question for Josh McCown this week isn't about his completion percentage or working against New England's 32nd-ranked defense.

It's this: After going up against young whippersnappers like DeShone Kizer (21), Blake Bortles (25), Derek Carr (26), Tyrod Taylor (28) and even Jay Cutler (34), how will it feel for the 38-year-old McCown to finally go mano a mano with an older QB?

"It'll be nice for once," McCown said about his Sunday matchup against the 40-year-old Tom Brady and the Patriots at MetLife Stadium, "and hopefully it'll happen again later this year."

It sounded as if McCown wanted to do a little standup on the joys of being a kid again in the NFL, but that's about as far as he went before giving a respectful nod to the Patriots' ageless wonder.

"Tom has set a standard and a mark for quarterbacks around the league," he said. "What he's been able to do in his career is nothing short of remarkable. And to a degree, it's special to go against him because he's widely regarded as the best to ever play, in my opinion rightfully so."

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Some may wonder where this matchup ranks on the NFL list for oldest combined age for opposing starting QBs. We can say it's definitely not the oldest. McCown and Brady will add up to 78 years, 173 days of life experience at kickoff, and at least one older matchup occurred in the game between the Jets' Vinny Testaverde and the Falcons' Steve DeBerg in 1998. They combined for 79 years, 260 days.

For what it's worth, the younger Vinny (34) and the Jets made DeBerg (44) look his age in a 28-3 Meadowlands rout.

But as some headline writers have already opined, when it comes to Brady, 40 is the new 30. Even as New England's cast of offensive players changes annually, Brady powers full speed ahead. This year he easily tops the league with 1,702 passing yards and his 112.0 passer rating is second only to KC's Alex Smith.

But then there's that McCown geezer who's found the fountain of youth as a Jet. His 71.4% accuracy is second behind Smith and his efficiency and resourcefulness have led the Green & White to a surprising-to-many 3-2 mark, same as Brady and the Pats.

"They're playing well as a team, and he's having a great season," Brady said of McCown and the Jets on a late afternoon conference call. "I certainly know having that experience is helpful. When you've seen a lot of things going into as many years as he and I have played together, you know a lot about how to prepare and getting ready for opposing defenses, so he's doing all of the right things."

The exchange of gentlemanly compliments is what one might expect from two of the league's seniors. But McCown showed the wisdom of age by reminding that this isn't really a battle between 38- and 40-year-old combatants.

"When you're done with your career, it's a cool thing to look back on," he said. "But my focus will be on doing the best I can to move the football against their defense.

"We know it's going to be a great challenge. And we're really looking forward to that challenge."

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