The reigning NFL dynasty commonly referred to as the New England Patriots has captured two of the past three Super Bowls. Back in February, the team orchestrated the greatest comeback in this championship game’s storied 51-year history. Led by game MVP Tom Brady, Bill Belichick’s club rallied from 25 points down in the third quarter to score a 34-28 overtime victory vs. the stunned Atlanta Falcons. It tells you something about how far this performer has come since the beginning of his amazing career.

Far from a one-man show, he is the only player in Super Bowl history to win five championship rings with the same team.

And it’s fascinating to see how he has evolved from a methodic quarterback to a prolific passer that continues to put up amazing numbers. And it’s certainly understandable when his name comes up in terms of the greatest player at his position.

The evolution of Tom Brady

In the early stages of his NFL career, you thought of Tom Brady as a winner and a piece of a New England Patriots team that was built on Belichick’s defensive prowess. Running backs like Antowain Smith, Kevin Faulk and eventually Corey Dillon were just as big a part of the offense as Brady. From 2000-06, he played in a total of 96 regular-season games and totaled 147 TD passes compared to 78 interceptions. The Pats won three Super Bowls over that span.

Brady was the MVP of Games XXXVI and XXXVIII, but his numbers were not over the charts. Now look at the last 10 seasons (141 regular-season games). He’s thrown for 309 scores while being picked off only 74 times. Those are pretty impressive figures no matter how you break them down. But let’s fast forward to 2017.

New options on offense

Apparently the New England Patriots feel the future is now. Why else would the team orchestrate as many trades and sign a number of experienced free agents as they did this offseason? Yes, the Pats dealt for defensive end Kony Ealy and signed Buffalo Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

But the focus is the offense here. And it’s scary to think that a unit that was ranked fourth in total yards and passing yards per game, as well as seventh in the league in rushing, could be significantly better.

Early on this offseason, the team traded for tight end Dwayne Allen, formerly of the Indianapolis Colts. The club also gave up a first and third-round pick to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, one of the better big-play weapons in the NFL. The Patriots also claimed wideout Andrew Hawkins, cut loose by the Cleveland Browns this past offseason. In terms of the backfield, LeGarrette Blount is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. But Belichick added running backs Mike Gillislee (Buffalo Bills) and Rex Burkhead (Cincinnati Bengals) via free agency.

With all of this at Brady’s disposal, the defending Super Bowl champions look as dangerous as ever on this side of the ball.

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