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Where Does Tom Brady's Hot Start Rank Among Recent MVPs?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 30, 2015

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, right, meet on the field after an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass. The Packers won 22-11. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

There are only so many adjectives and superlatives that can be uttered in discussing the dominance of Tom Brady.

The New England Patriots quarterback has been one of the best in the game for the entirety of his career, and it doesn't appear that the 2015 season will mark the end of his run.

Brady is already on a historic pace and could threaten the record-setting numbers he posted in 2007 when the Patriots went undefeated in the regular season. If there's an early-season list of front-runners for the 2015 NFL MVP, Brady's name has to be on it.

Obviously, quarterbacks are privy to more of the credit than players at other positions. Four of the past five NFL MVPs have been quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers (2011, 2014), Peyton Manning (2013) and Brady (2010). 

And when stacking up Brady's hot start against those quarterbacks, his numbers are comparable in every single way. 

Quarterbacks who won NFL MVP, through 3 games
YearPlayerCompAtt%YdsYPATDINTRate
2010Tom Brady669867.47587.782109.1
2011Aaron Rodgers7410371.89178.981120.9
2013Peyton Manning891227311439.4120134.7
2014Aaron Rodgers6410262.86976.85195.1
2015Tom Brady9613372.211128.490119.6
Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com

Brady's pace is most similar to Manning's in 2013. Manning finished the season as the NFL's record-holder in passing yards and passing touchdowns, but Brady would fall short if he continues at his current clip. It's tough to keep up such a frenetic pace, but Manning didn't break stride until the regular season was over.

Brady will have to improve on his current pace if he wants to set new records in 2015. He is likely to pick up his tempo over the course of the next month as a few key players return to the lineup. Wide receiver Brandon LaFell (physically unable to perform list) is eligible to return in Week 7, and center Bryan Stork (short-term injured reserve) can come back in Week 9. 

Brady's on a tear right now, and he doesn't even have the team's top boundary wide receiver at his disposal. 

That being said, pace doesn't have much to do with it. Through three games in 2014, Rodgers was on pace for just 27 touchdowns and 6.8 yards per pass attempt (he's never been below 7.5 YPA and 28 touchdowns in a season when he's played more than 10 games). 

Rodgers began the season against three good defenses in the Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Detroit Lions. The Seahawks and Lions both ranked in the top 10 in pass defense in 2014. After the opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Manning got two easy layups in matchups with the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.

Bryn Swartz @eaglescentral

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have won the NFL MVP nine times in the last 12 seasons.

These three quarterbacks have set the NFL on fire for more than a decade running. Ultimately, though, comparing these three-game starts to a season is a trivial exercise in futility. 

Of course, the only way any of this matters is if Brady finishes the season the same way he finished the 2014 season: hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over his head. He tossed his 400th career touchdown pass Sunday, becoming just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to do so.

Brady is still in the process of cementing his status as one of the greatest of all time. The best way to do that would be to add an unmatched fifth Super Bowl ring to his collection.

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