The 2001 season was a major turning point for the NFL as that was the year quarterback Tom Brady was thrust into action after New England Patriots' starter Drew Bledsoe went down in Week 2. Before he became known for winning Super Bowls, Brady first went viral for taking on an absolutely brutal hit.
In the third quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills, Brady scrambled out of the pocket on 3rd & 17 due to a menacing pass rush. His attempt to get back to the line of scrimmage was abruptly stopped when cornerback Nate Clements put his shoulder right into Brady's chest and dealt a crushing blow.
The hit was enough to cause Brady's helmet to fly 10 yards in the opposite direction and leave the crowd in awe. Clements and his teammates danced on the field with great celebration. Keep in mind this was only the 12th start of Brady career and his eagerness to make a great play cost him this time.
The All-Pro passer was quick to get up and run off the field, though. Patriots fans were able to take a sigh of relief after seeing Bledsoe get hurt on a similar play. Brady went on to guide New England to a crucial 12-9 overtime win in that matchup and win the Super Bowl as an underrated second-year pro.
Meanwhile, the hit was the highlight of Clements' rookie season. The Ohio State product finished that year with 67 tackles, 14 pass breakups, 3 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles in 16 games played.