Tom Brady led Bucs to Super Bowl 55 win despite MCL tear

The quarterback originally sustained the injury playing for the Patriots but didn’t repair the knee until February after the big game.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady may have played with an ailing knee for all of last season, but he still threw 50 touchdowns and nabbed a seventh Super Bowl ring.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady may have played with an ailing knee for all of last season, but he still threw 50 touchdowns and nabbed a seventh Super Bowl ring. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published July 15, 2021|Updated July 16, 2021

TAMPA — Tom Brady led the Bucs to a Super Bowl 55 victory at age 43 during a pandemic, becoming the first quarterback to win a title in his team’s home stadium.

But the legend only grows from there.

Brady did it while playing with a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee that he suffered in his final season with the Patriots.

The injury gradually worsened during his first year with the Bucs, and he finally had surgery to repair it in late February after winning his seventh Super Bowl.

Brady has declined to give specifics about his knee surgery, saying only that it was “pretty serious.”

The Super Bowl MVP — who was a free agent after the 2019 season, his last of 20 with the Patriots — had acknowledged that the injury occurred before taking his first snap with the Bucs in training camp last year. Now we know he a lot more than an arthroscopic procedure in February.

Brady tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the same knee during Week 1 of the 2008 season.

The MCL is a band of tissue that runs along the inner edge of the knee. It helps to connect the shin and thigh bones to keep the knee stable and working properly during movement.

The risk of playing with a torn MCL is that the knee can become hyperextended easily and bend in the wrong direction. Brady uses his left knee to step into his passes.

“It was an injury I dealt with really since last, you know, April, May,” Brady said following the Bucs’ mandatory minicamp in June. “I knew I would have to do something at the end of the year, and happy I did it, and it was probably something that certainly needed to be done, and there was a great outcome, so I’m very happy about that.

“I feel like there’s some things I’ll be able to do this year that I wasn’t able to do last year.”

Brady missed about one practice each week the final few months of the 2020 season, presumably to give his ailing knee rest.

He was good enough to pass for 4,633 yards, with 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the Bucs to an 11-5 record during the regular season.

He added 1,061 yards passing, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions in four postseason games, including the Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.

Brady has spent the offseason rehabilitating the knee and this week is working out in altitude near his summer home in Yellowstone, Mont.

Contact Rick Stroud at or 727-709-5982. Follow @NFLSTROUD.

Editor’s note: This is updated from the original version, after the nature of the tear was clarified.

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