Efe Obada: Sacking Tom Brady was on my bucket list…

Efe Obada: Sacking Tom Brady was on my bucket list… and I was so close to getting Patrick Mahomes too

  • The Panthers D-lineman had an impressive season which yielded 5.5 sacks
  • Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were three QBs he tackled
  • Now in England, Obada is spending time with his family before the new season 

As Efe Obada reflects on a season which yielded 5.5 sacks, he knows he has halted some of the all-time greats of the game – Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees.

He was a few inches away from adding Patrick Mahomes to that list too.

‘I think I speak for every D-lineman when I say sacking Tom Brady is on their bucket list. So for me to be able to do that was incredible,’ Obada says from his London home.

‘I was this close (he gestures with his fingers) to getting Mahomes too. He just ran out of the pocket. And just beat me with his feet.’

Efe Obada has become an important, versatile piece on the Panthers D-line

It has been another year of Obada upsetting the odds. In the midst of a pandemic, he was initially waived by the Carolina Panthers on the eve of the season before being re-signed.

‘I don’t take anything personally. I don’t approach the game with ego or entitlement. Everything I achieved, I worked my arse off for and earned so I just accept it as part of the business.

‘But coming back, I definitely had a chip on my shoulder and something to prove.’

Following Ron Rivera’s departure, the Panthers went 5-11 in Matt Rhule’s first season with Obada playing along the defensive line.

‘There’s a new system and new coaches. I’ve had to adapt. I’ve gained 15-20lbs. Trying to find my fit in the system. I’m very confident I can play anywhere along that D-line. It’s been a blessing in disguise playing inside and outside.’

And after facing both the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, Obada has some inside information on both quarterbacks.

‘In terms of the Chiefs they’ve got Mahomes, he’s a great. A young so much weapons to draw on. He’s really good out of the pocket he can extend plays. He’s got one hell of an arm.

‘And you’ve got a guy like Tom Brady who has written the playbook on what it’s like to be an amazing quarterback.

He’s one of the greatest if not the greatest to play that position. It’s just great competition.

‘It’s a great bar to play against guys like that. Both games were extremely fun.’

Looking forward to the Super Bowl, he added: ‘Brady wrote the book on what it is to be a quarterback. The ball comes out so quick. He’s got a great offensive line that protects him and allows him to extend plays and great receiving weapons as well…

‘Normally I’d say it’s harder against a mobile quarterback but Tom Brady is not just any pocket passer. He’s able to break down defenses and expose weaknesses.’

Obada has a little piece of history by being the last man to sack Brees in a regular season game – and he is looking forward to facing Brady in the NFC South once again.

‘I got the last regular season sack of Drew Brees, so I’m happy, but if Brady wants to stay around, I’m definitely excited about that.’ 

Obada takes down Drew Brees for a strip sack on the final game of the 2020 regular season

Now a restricted free agent, Obada is back in London and waiting to see what the future holds.

‘The Panthers have my rights but if they don’t want to extend me I guess the sky is the limit,’ he said.

‘I’ve proven this year I can play anywhere on the defensive line and be a contributing factor.

‘It’s exciting but the main focus right now is spending quality time with my wife and making up for lost time. Whatever happens, happens.’

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