Tom Brady managed to win his seventh Super Bowl basically playing on one leg unbeknownst to anyone outside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization, which could lead to punishment for the franchise.
On Thursday (July 15), Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Brady had a full MCL tear prior to the beginning of the 2020 NFL season and finally underwent surgery after the Bucs' Super Bowl LV win in February.
While the 43-year-old quarterback not only managing to play through the injury, but also winning a Super Bowl is nothing short of remarkable, it's also a violation of the league's rules on the Bucs' behalf.
CBS Sports points out that NFL rules specify teams must list all reportable injuries, which "is especially true of key players," such as a franchise quarterback.
"All players who have reportable injuries must be listed on the practice report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game.This is especially true of key players," the NFL league handbook states via CBS Sports.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to hand down multiple suspensions, including the suspension of anyone involved, in accordance with the rules.
"A violation of the policy may result in Commissioner discipline, which may include a fine on the involved club, fines or suspensions of involved individuals, as well as the possible forfeiture of draft choices by the involved club," the rulebook states.
That would give Goodell the power to suspend Brady for a second time in five years, having previously done so following "Deflategate" during the quarterback's tenure with the New England Patriots.
Brady told reporters at the Bucs' minicamp last month that he's confident "he'll be able to do some different things" he was unable to do in 2020 now that's finally had the surgical procedure he needed since last offseason, but declined to give specifics on his injury at the time.
"It was an injury I dealt with really since last April, May," Brady said on June 9. "I knew I would have to do something at the end of the year. Happy I did it.
"Something that certainly needed to be done. And there was a great outcome. I'm happy about that. I feel I'll be able to so some different things this year than I was able to do last year."
Brady and head coach Bruce Arians provided updates on his recovery throughout the offseason since the surgical procedure took place in February.
Despite the injury, Brady still managed to win his seventh Super Bowl victory and first with the Buccaneers after 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.
In February, Brady recorded 201 yards and three touchdowns on 21 of 29 passing in Super Bowl LV, winning a record fifth Super Bowl MVP Award, which surpassed his own previous record set in Super Bowl LI (2017).
Brady now owns a 7-3 record all-time in the NFL's biggest game and surpassed his own previous record for most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback (6) set in February 2019. The 43-year-old also broke his own record as the oldest quarterback to both start and win a Super Bowl also set in 2019.
The win was Tampa Bay's second Super Bowl victory in franchise history. The Buccaneers are also the only team in NFL history to both host and win a Super Bowl in their home stadium.