The New England Patriots had to watch Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham struggle to throw the ball down the field last year, while Tom Brady mastered a very complex Bruce Arians offense with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won Super Bowl No. 7 in his first year away from New England.
Brady appeared to finally be feeling the ravages of age in his final year in New England, as he had his worst passer rating in a decade.
Going to an Arians offense that often forces high numbers of turnovers from some of the best quarterbacks in the league seemed like a very bold strategy for Brady.
Not only did he make the journey to Tampa Bay with minimal, if any, adjustment to the Arians passing game, but he did so while playing with a serious knee injury for the entire season. How does he do it?
Ian Rapoport corrected an earlier report that claimed Brady played the entire season with a partially torn MCL, saying that his MCL was in fact COMPLETELY torn.
This is one of the greatest feats of human endurance in NFL history.
The Patriots had to watch Tom Brady win a title on one leg.
While some may try to diminish this accomplishment by claiming that Brady’s stationary style of play makes him more likely to sustain a knee injury, they must be forgetting the fact that a torn ligament like this can end SEASONS. Brady not only was able to play with this injury, but he was playing at a very high level.
Brady completed 65.7% of his passes in a very high-risk offense, throwing 40 touchdowns and winning three road playoff games en route to a Super Bowl victory in Tampa. If that’s what he’s doing with a torn MCL, what would he have done if he’d been fully healthy?
While Cam Newton had to deal with learning a new playbook on a new team, a lack of a traditional offseason, and a COVID-19 positive test, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns is not a good look, especially considering the immediate success that Brady has had.
Patriots fans have seen Brady lead this team to victory in the most improbable of circumstances time and time again, but what he was able to do in Tampa this year is superhero level. The Patriots need to hope that Newton bounces back, or they will be in for another season of watching the GOAT totally eviscerate the competition to the point fans can’t help but get jealous.