Since 1985, there's been one year in which Frank Reich or Tom Brady has not played in the NFL.
Reich's playing career stretched from 1985 to 1998; Brady took his first NFL snap in 2000 and will start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium against Reich's Colts. That leaves 1999 as the only year in which Reich or Brady hasn't played since 1985.
Reich, of course, is in his fourth year as the head coach and playcaller for the Colts, who enter Sunday as one of the NFL's hottest teams with five wins in their last six games, including a 41-15 thumping of the Buffalo Bills in Week 11. Brady, at the age of 44, leads the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers to Indianapolis while leading the NFL in touchdown passes (29) and yards per game (317.7).
"I just marvel at his arm strength at 44 years old," Reich said. "As much as anything, it just boggles my mind. So, still playing at a high level, obviously a ton of respect."
Colts running back Jonathan Taylor wasn't even two years old when Brady made his NFL debut. By the time the now-22-year-old Taylor was in kindergarten, Brady had already won multiple Super Bowls with the New England Patriots.
And if 22-year-old Dayo Odeyingbo manages to sack Brady on Sunday, he'll do so against a guy who stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe in 2001 one day before Odeyingbo's second birthday.
There are plenty of ways to contextualize Brady's age, of course. But when the Colts take the field on Sunday, Brady could be 24, 34 or 44 – it won't matter. What matters is how the Colts defend him and the high-powered Buccaneers' offense.
"Just making sure that we apply pressure for all 60 minutes," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said. "Watching film, you notice the teams that got consistent pressure on him all game, they benefited from it and ended up with a win. We have to do a good job up front. Really, interior wise too getting that pressure in his face and constantly just applying pressure all day.
"... It's applying pressure up the middle, collapsing the pocket on him because he wants to climb the pocket and throw it downfield. So like I said before, we have to do a good job inside, making sure we're collapsing the pocket, getting the pocket in his face and kind of make him throw out of a coffin."
Brady is 11-3 all-time against the Colts entering Sunday – but, incredibly, this'll only be his fourth game at Lucas Oil Stadium. He made three starts against the Colts at the RCA Dome, seven at Gillette Stadium at one at Foxboro Stadium.
And the Brady who played in all those games at the old RCA Dome is the same, elite guy who will take the field Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"You really don't see any difference," Reich said. "... I see the same guy. He hasn't lost any arm strength, still can do all the same things and is still the same great competitor."
Thursday's practice report