Tom Brady threw for the second-most touchdowns in a season in his 21-year career during his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
On a bum knee.
Brady underwent surgery following Tampa Bay's Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in February, tending to an injury that nagged Brady throughout the season and kept him from practicing certain techniques in order to protect his left knee.
"I don't think he was 100 percent last year," Bucs quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen said on Wednesday.
Christensen recalled a FaceTime call with Brady from the morning after Tampa Bay's championship victory in which the quarterback expressed his belief that he can have an even better season in 2021 after getting his knee tuned up.
"I bet it was 8:30 [A.M.], we'd been out all hours of the night and had all the grandkids in the bed, and got a FaceTime from him at 8:30," Christensen shared. "Basically the message was ... he said 'Hey, I just been sitting here thinking about we can really be a lot better next year, we still haven't hit our peak and I really believe we're we got a chance to be much, much much better this year.
"His quote, or close to a quote was, 'Hey, I'm gonna get my knee fixed up and I'm gonna be better next year and you're gonna be excited about that,'" Christensen continued.
It's hard to imagine just how well Brady could play with a healthy knee and in peak physical shape, certainly when you consider the production he posted in a brand new offense at the age of 43. Along with his 40 passing touchdowns, Brady completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 4,633 yards in 2020, the fifth-highest mark of his career.
Add in the fact that Tampa Bay was able to retain its entire starting lineup, including key passing game contributors such as Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, and Rob Gronkowski, and it becomes reasonable to expect a similarly impressive season from Brady. The signing of Giovani Bernard and the selection of Jaelon Darden only make the rich - in this case, the Buccaneers' arsenal of weapons - richer.
"Performance-wise, you wanna feel good. I think that thing was a nagging nuisance to him, having to tape it every day, just make sure he had that thing loose," said Christensen. "So I think he's excited about just feeling good again."