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Battle of the old guard: Tom Brady and Drew Brees set for playoff showdown

This will be the first playoff game in NFL history featuring two starting quarterbacks age 40 or older.

TAMPA, Fla — By now you've probably seen the tweet. Tom Brady and Drew Brees photoshopped to look like senior citizens. It all came in response to former Major League Baseball player Danny Valencia's tweet saying, "Every future @TomBrady game should be on the history channel." 

Brady then tweeted out the altered image on Monday. It has since received hundreds of thousands of likes, along with tens of thousands of comments and retweets.

The picture may be fake, but the history is real. When Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Brees' New Orleans Saints face off in the divisional playoffs this Sunday, it will be the first time two quarterbacks age 40 or older will start an NFL playoff game. Not only that, it's the oldest QB matchup in any NFL game.

Brady is 43 and Brees is 41. Brady's rookie year was 20 seasons ago in 2000, and Brees followed in 2001. But they've only played head-to-head seven times, with Brees holding a 5-2 advantage. He won their first two meetings as a member of the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and 2005, then took home a third win with the Saints in 2009. Brady came back to lead his New England Patriots over the Saints in 2013 and 2017. But this season, the Saints have beaten the Bucs twice -- including a 38-3 landslide in Week 9 in Tampa.

Both quarterbacks are bound for the Hall of Fame when they finally hang up the cleats. In fact, you could make a case for Brady and Brees (or vice versa) as the two greatest ever to line up under center. Brees holds the NFL records for passing yards (80,358), completions (7,142) and consecutive games with a touchdown pass (54, 2009-12). Brady, meanwhile, passed Brees for most career touchdown passes (581) this season by throwing 40. He also has the most regular season wins (230), playoff wins (31), playoff touchdowns (75) and Super Bowl wins (six).

When asked about this weekend's playoff matchup, Brees said it seemed "inevitable" his Saints would match up with TB12 and the Bucs.

"The minute that (Brady) signed with the Bucs and came in the division, you felt like that was gonna be a team to contend with," Brees said. "That was gonna be a team that had playoff aspirations and beyond, just like us."

The Bucs and the Saints will meet in New Orleans Sunday at 6:40 pm for the right to play in the NFC Championship game. It would be the fourth NFC title game for Brees if the Saints win. But if the Bucs pull off the road upset, Brady will go to his tenth conference championship -- yet another one of his records.

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