Tom Brady's Super Bowl performance once again proved why he is one of the all-time greats.
At the age of 37, Brady hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the fourth time and earned his third Super Bowl MVP after completing 37 of his 50 passing attempts for 328 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 101.1. That shouldn't have come as a surprise, though.
Once New England sorted out its offensive line issues following a Week 4 debacle against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brady began to surge. He finished the regular season completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 4,109 yards, 33 touchdowns against nine interceptions and a passer rating of 97.4.
He continued his hot streak into the playoffs, torching the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts for three touchdowns apiece before his inspiring Super Bowl performance.
So, why was Brady's showing in the NFL's championship game so magnificent?
First of all, let's take a look at his opposition. The Seahawks finished the regular season ranked first in the league against the pass. The Legion of Boom was a devastating opponent for practically every quarterback it faced, and that resulted in the team allowing an average of 185.6 passing yards per game.
That trend continued in the playoffs. Seattle's secondary tormented the likes of Cam Newton and, even more impressively, NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who finished the NFC Championship Game with a passer rating of just 55.8.
Brady was able to find success against that defense when other star quarterbacks couldn't. Since his targets were significantly smaller than members of Seattle's secondary, he wisely utilized their speed, hitting them on short, underneath routes and allowing them to create yards after the catch. Both wide receiver Julian Edelman and running back Shane Vereen were instrumental in this game plan.
That wasn't the most impressive aspect of Brady's performance, though. We all know he's made a name for himself in crunch time throughout his career. But what he was able to accomplish in the fourth quarter—and especially on the team's game-winning drive—was astounding.
Here's a look at his nearly flawless numbers, via ESPN Stats & Info:
Now, that's an MVP-caliber performance, and perhaps Edelman put it best when he told the media, "Tom's the best ever."
So, what does this mean for Brady's future? Or perhaps more importantly, what does Brady think going forward? Well, the future Hall of Famer shared his thoughts during his postgame press conference:
No. I've got a lot of football left. It's hard to play this game and it take a big commitment, a lot of sacrifice. For all the players that have played in the past and I've looked up to and admired and a lot of the players now who I look up to and admire—it's a big challenge and it's incredible to experience this feeling once and I've been fortunate to play on four really great teams, so I'm really blessed.
Here's a look at everything Brady had to say:
Even before the Super Bowl commenced, we knew the quarterback was committed to continuing his career in New England. A report from ESPN's Adam Schefter made it known Brady had restructured his contract, giving the team an additional $24 million in cap space heading into 2015.
That unselfish act is huge for the Patriots. The team will be feverishly working to re-sign cornerback Darrelle Revis, safety Devin McCourty and tackle Nate Solder, New England's highest-profile free agents.
Getting those players back in the fold could mean one thing that will be extremely scary for the rest of the NFL: The reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots could be even better next season.
If the three aforementioned free agents are locked up with new deals, the core of the team will remain intact moving forward. From there, the Patriots can focus on upgrading other positions in free agency or via the draft, such as wide receiver, running back and along the defensive line.
If New England does bring back those key players, expectations should be high for Brady and Co. in 2015. With a solid offensive line intact and the potential addition of another offensive weapon, the quarterback could surpass his 2014 numbers.
Next season, expect this prolific signal-caller to complete 65 percent of his passes for 4,300 yards and 37 touchdowns against nine interceptions for a passer rating of roughly 100.4. If that turns out to be the case, the Patriots shouldn't have much trouble winning the AFC East on their way to another Super Bowl appearance.