Tom Brady has a track record for missing the Pro Bowl when he loses in the playoffs (something we might call competitive pouting), but it generally accompanies some sort of injury that was ignored during the regular season. Throughout the 2010 season, Brady continued to play on a stress fracture in his right foot, but it wasn’t having an impact on his playing performance. After all, the man earned a unanimous selection for the 2010 NFL All-Pro team by a panel of 50 sports media experts. He may even nab the award for Most Valuable Player, beating out the likes of Michael Vick or Aaron Rodgers.
Last Thursday, Brady underwent surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and the results appear to be positive. He had a screw placed in his navicular bone, one of the smaller tarsus bones. The reason he was arguably allowed to play throughout the year (or was even capable of playing) is that his foot injury didn’t fall on a more weight-bearing bone. In other words, yes, the stress fracture needed to be addressed, but no, the occasional pain was not disabling. More than likely, doctors say that Brady will need to wear a walking boot for the next six weeks, but his recovery should be flawless and a healthy return to next season is unquestionable.
For now, however, the Pro Bowl will again miss the Brady experience. In his stead, Matt Cassel, who once backed him up in New England but has shown a remarkable surge in Kansas City, will take at least a quarter of the snaps for the AFC. It remains to be seen whether anyone will actually tune in to watch the Pro Bowl this year, but that’s why they moved it to the week before Super Bowl XLV, so as to avoid losing football fans like they do every year.