Christian Cieri, Illustrator

Let’s go back a few years.

Coming into the 2007 season, Tom Brady had already won three Super Bowls. As “the man” in New England, Tom Terrific was already considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. The rings were certainly proof enough for some people.

However, there was a feeling that Brady wasn’t the “world-beater” that he was made out to be. Hadn’t he and the Patriots just lost to Peyton Manning’s Colts in the AFC Championship? Hadn’t Brady played poorly in a game where the Patriots blew an enormous lead? Was Brady even the best quarterback in his conference? The term“game-manager” got thrown around a lot. These were dark times in Foxborough.

We all remember what happened next. The Patriots signed Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and with his new weapons in tow, Brady destroyed defenses for 16 weeks on his way to a perfect 16-0 record and his first MVP award.

To say that he “destroyed” isn’t even a strong enough term to describe what Brady did that year. It was arguably the greatest single-season performance in the history of the league (until Peyton topped it a few years later), and records were broken as quickly as the spirits of the defenses that were unlucky enough to run into the Pats.

Brady talked about wanting to­­—ahem—“kill” teams that year. Though the run of perfection would end in a stunning loss to the Giants in the Super Bowl, Brady had officially put to bed any misguided notion of being a “game-manager.”

He hasn’t looked back since. The latter half of Brady’s career has closely mirrored the rising trend of passing in the NFL, but it’s been more than that—he himself has improved drastically. His only equal in terms of late career production is his now old foe Peyton, who seems to be on his last leg out in Denver. Peyton’s final full season of greatness was at age 37, and that dude is a robot—so what would happen to Brady this year, at age 38?

Brady entered this season mired in one of the loudest scandals in the history of the NFL. He was in the tabloids, he was accused of being a cheater and he was called a liar. Though he was coming off of his first Super Bowl win since 2004, there was talk that Tom Brady might be headed for his fall.

Here’s how that’s gone:

Tom Brady, weeks one to three, 2015: 72.2 completion percentage, 1,112 yards, nine touchdowns, zero interceptions. His Patriots have scored 39.7 points per game, winning all three.

For a little context, here’s the first three weeks of his 2007 season:

Tom Brady, Weeks one to three, 2007: 79.5 completion percentage, 887 yards, 11 touchdowns, one interception. The Patriots scored 38 points in each of those three games, winning all three.

In summary: Tom Brady is an ageless destroyer of worlds who is on a similar warpath to the one he blazed during one of the greatest displays of offensive dominance of all time.

Deflated footballs be damned.

Bernstein is a member of the class of 2018.

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