Sept. 7, 2008: "Kansas City came up with the ball but that's not the story. Tom Brady took a tremendous hit as he released that ball, right on his left leg. Brady down at midfield."

Fans didn't need to hear any more from the CBS broadcast. In the first game of the 2008 season, the reigning MVP was hit hard by Chiefs S Bernard Pollard—Brady walked off the field, but later tests revealed a torn ACL and MCL, effectively ending his season. The injury sent ripples throughout the league, since the Patriots were the heavy favorites to make it back to the Super Bowl in the wake of their perfect regular season.

Relying on the leadership of backup QB Matt Cassel, the Patriots held their own, clawing their way to an 11–5 regular season record, but they missed out on the playoffs due to tiebreaker rules. But herein lies the Brady effect: since that season, New England hasn't missed the playoffs.

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