With the NFL football season coming back into the lives of many anxious football fans, it is inevitable that we find a reason to get excited about what’s to come in the 2017 – ’18 season. Whether it’s Beast Mode’s growing chemistry with Derek Carr and offense, Le’Veon Bell’s contract saga or maybe, the quarterback competition in Houston between Tom Savage and first round draft pick Deshaun Watson or maybe, just maybe the anticipation of what the Cleveland Browns could do with their two first round draft picks , defensive end Myles Garrett and safety Jabrill Peppers, there’s something for everyone to get excited about. Oddly enough, there’s one headline that seems to be the sore thumb of them all, and it’s not even football related…it’s simply just the fact that New England quarterback Tom Brady will be in the pocket at age 40.
Is Brady turning 40 something to keep tabs on, for sure not, but it is something to look forward to, headed into post Super Bowl championship season and here’s why:
Only a handful of athletes have turned the hands of father time back and have had some of their most memorable moments at the age of 40. So in lieu of an aging, yet youthful Brady and 40ish moments in sports history, I present to you all, some of the greatest athletes to raise eyebrows at the age of 40 and just over, in hopes of seeing another name added to the list by the end of the 2017 – ’18 NFL season.
Pitching in his fourth decade of his career, after tossing 131 pitches four days prior, it was only right he go out and break his own personal milestone right? At the age of 44, on May 1, 1991, Texas Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan tossed his SEVENTH career no hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays, who actually ended up winning 91 games in the AL East that season. To put how good of a showing this was on the mound that night in perspective, Ryan’s eye-popping strikeout-to-walk ratio was 16:2.
Kareem at age 40, as you could imagine was the league’s oldest player, but not the mention, the league’s most seasoned and decorated player by the time he retired in 1989 at the age of 42. When Abdul-Jabbar was 42, he already owned the rights to calling himself one of the best to touch a basketball having scored 38,387 points, becoming the first NBA player to play for 20 seasons, and his career totals coming to 17,440 rebounds, 3, 189 blocks and 1,560 games. Needless to say, he set records for having scored the most points, blocked the most shots and won the most MVP titles in 1989.
Foreman, well into his 40’s was able to get his groove (as well as his title) back, lasting ten rounds in a what seemed like an attention cry match up with IBF and WBA world champion, Michael Moorer. Foreman who was said to be getting out-boxed through nine rounds, came back in the tenth round with some devastating blows to Moorer’s face, causing him to fall to the canvas and being counted out by the referee.
After the fight concluded, Foreman had broken three records: he became at age 45, the oldest fighter ever to win the World Heavyweight Championship, (20 years after losing his title for the first time) broke the record for the fighter with the longest interval between his first and second world championships, and the age spread, which was 19 years between the champion and challenger making it the largest of any heavyweight boxing championship fight.
Just like any other African American ballplayer in the early 70’s, Hank Aaron had faced a lot of racial heckling from the fans and voices of baseball, but on April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron silenced all of baseball as he hit his 715th home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dodgers announcer, the great Vin Scully was said to have given a home run call for the ages: "What a marvelous moment for baseball, what a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia, what a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol."
Shortly after turning 40, Chelios skated into his 11th All-Star Game, won a silver medal with the U.S. Olympic hockey team and THEN captured the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. Chelios would go on to finish his career at age 48 with the Atlanta Thrashers in 2010 after 1,651 career games, which was the most by an NHL defenseman.
The people called him “Vintage Jack” after his showing in the 1986 Masters, as he shot an eye popping 6-under 30 on the back nine in the final round to become the oldest winner in the tournament's history.