When all is said and done, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will go down as one of the best to ever play the game. He may even be considered the greatest player of all-time if he can land a few more rings.
Since taking over as the Patriots' starting quarterback, Brady has averaged about 3,990 yards and 30 touchdowns per season (excluding the 2008 season, in which he played only one game). Since 2007, Brady has kicked it up a notch, setting career highs in yardage with 5,235 yards in 2011, touchdowns with 50 in 2007 and completion percentage with 68.9 in 2007. Clearly, Brady has played at an extremely high level throughout his career.
Next year, look for more of the same. In fact, look for Brady to exceed some of his career highs in 2012.
This offseason, the Patriots loaded up on even more weapons for Brady, adding to the solid crop of receivers (Wes Welker and Deion Branch) and tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez). New England added a deep threat in Brandon Lloyd, something which they haven't had since Randy Moss was traded in 2010. They also acquired Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth via free agency.
With so many weapons, the Patriots could have four players (Lloyd, Welker, Gronk and Hernandez) who demand double coverage on the field at the same time. It's almost unfair.
Last year, Brady recorded the second-most amount of passing yards in NFL history, only behind Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Brady had four of his receiving threats record over 700 receiving yards. With Lloyd coming in to stretch the field, Brady will have a field day with defenses across the league.
But perhaps the biggest reason that Brady will dominate in 2012 is his will to win and the fire in his belly.
It is a well-known fact that Brady hates losing. He spent a while in the locker room after last year's Super Bowl loss to the Giants reflecting on the game. He could barely deal with the emptiness that came with the loss.
Brady still hasn't forgotten. That's for sure. He will come back with a vengeance in 2012, ready to crush opposing teams. That competitive spirit will push Brady to turn in one of the best seasons the NFL has ever seen.
With a dynamic core of pass catchers and a concentrated effort to get back to the top of the football world, Brady will find a way to defy his age and turn in the best season of his career.