What are realistic expectations for Tom Brady this upcoming season?

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 08: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after losing the coin toss prior to playing the Detroit Lions in a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - AUGUST 08: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after losing the coin toss prior to playing the Detroit Lions in a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

With his future uncertain amid recent retirement rumors and contract discussions, what can we expect from Tom Brady in his 20th season?

Six Super Bowl championships. Nine AFC championships. Three MVP awards. Countless records broken. “GOAT” status.

Tom Brady is a legend, and a no-doubt first-ballot HOF’er when the time comes. He has nothing left to prove in the game of football. So what should the fans, as well as the media, expect from Brady in his 20th season in the league?

Determining exactly that is a little bit tricky, and you’d have to delve into the numbers game in order to provide an educated guess.

Last season, Brady wasn’t dazzling on the field en route to throwing for 50 touchdowns or 5,000 yards. Still, in the biggest of moments, he did what he has always done throughout his illustrious career: he came up clutch when his team needed him most.

In the end? It resulted in New England’s sixth Lombardi Trophy under the Brady/Belichick reign.

It’s a reign that doesn’t seem to be coming to an end anytime soon, either. Both men are going stronger than ever. With a re-bolstered defense that received a shot of youth through the draft – many young players look ready to contribute right out of the gates – chances are that defense will take a little bit of pressure off the 42-year old QB under center.

Brady was able to complete 65.8% of his passes in 2018, firing 29 TD passes to go along with 4,355 yards. All three statistical categories showed numbers that had slightly declined from his MVP season in 2017, but he still produced at a level that was well above most other quarterbacks across the NFL.

New England has received what ProFootballFocus lists as the second-easiest schedule in 2019, and that certainly bodes well for their chances at yet another bye in the first round of the playoffs. Should the Patriots capture one of the AFC’s top two seeds, it would be their tenth consecutive season getting a rest during Wild Card weekend… a feat that has yet to be accomplished by another NFL franchise.

So, where does Tom Brady fit into this equation?

Considering the favorable strength of schedule, an improved defense, and the growth and insertion of key offensive weapons like Sony Michel, Phillip Dorsett, rookie N’Keal Harry, and the return of old friend Ben Watson, all signs point toward Brady’s job perhaps being a bit easier this season than last.

If Brady can be consistent, much like he was last year, then that’s all Pats fans should expect from the quarterback in his 20th season. He’s probably not going to be the Brady of old in 2007, launching 50 touchdown passes and re-writing record books at the time. But what you CAN count on is him coming through in the big moments.

Experienced players like Brady are so mentally superior to any young defensive coordinator, coach, or player breaking into the league; you just can’t fool them. He’s seen everything that there is to see in the NFL, and now he’s just having fun playing the game he loves.

And as long as he keeps racking up the wins, why stop?

Going into 2019-20, even with the circulation of all the retirement and free agency rumors stemming from his real estate and contract decisions, Brady continues to keep his focus on this upcoming season. He made that clear on “The Greg Hill Show” Monday morning, per WEEI:

"“With the team, obviously I have had incredible success as this team has had over the last 20 years. We have a great relationship and if anything the Patriots have taught me, it is being in the present and not resting on what has happened in the past and certainly not worrying what is happening in the future. I am excited to get out there and play this year and do what I hope to do for this team, which is be a great leader, be a great example, be a great player. And then beyond that, there’s just too much work to be done between now and next season. There’s no point in really worrying about it. That is how I feel.”"

Take that for what you will, but if one thing is for certain, Brady doesn’t appear to be worrying too much about his future in the game of football. At least not right now. Like he and the Patriots have always preached, it’s still business as usual.

Next. Michael Bennett is making quite the impression on Pats. dark

And where does that mantra, “business as usual,” normally take the Patriots? To football games being played deep into the winter months. You can probably bet on finding a familiar face out there once again when the calendar flips to 2020, leading his team with the No. 12 on his jersey and a football in his right arm.