Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/27/12
Drew Bledsoe was drafted in 1993, and was the overall no. 1 pick that year. After winning only nine games in the previous three years, the New England Patriots couldn't get any worse. This was also the year that head coach Bill Parcells was hired, who was a proven winner as the New York giants head coach, winning two super bowls with them. With these two pieces of the puzzle in place was a good start to building a winning franchise.
 
Drew Bledsoe made an impact right away and he was the starting quarterback right out of the gate. While the team only finished 5 - 11 that year, there were still many exciting moments. The best being the spoiler, by knocking the Miami Dolphins out of the 1993 playoffs with a wild overtime 33-27 win. The next year under Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe the New England Patriots finished 10 – 6, and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in eight years.
 
After a disappointing 6 – 10 season in 1995, the New England Patriots in 1996 again made it to the playoffs and ultimately made it to Super Bowl XXXI Against the red hot Brett Favre, and the Green Bay Packers. They lost but it was one of the most exciting Super Bowls in recent history with the most point scored in the first quarter in Super Bowl history by any two teams. In 1997 with a 10 – 6 record they made it to the playoffs under new coach Pete Carroll, to ultimately lost to the Pittsburg Steelers, 7 – 6.
 
Under Coach Pete Carroll, the New England Patriots in 1998 once again qualified for the playoffs, but were defeated by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 1999 after a 6 – 2 start, the New England Patriots faltered and finished the season 8 – 8, and at the end of the season Pete Carroll was fired as New England's head coach, and New England hired Bill Belichick for the 2000 season, who also worked with Bill Parcells as an assistant coach in 1997, also this year the New England Patriots drafted Tom Brady who was a sixth round pick, and 199thoverall.
 
It was the start of the 2001 season and the New England Patriots were coming off one of their worst seasons in a while. They finished at 5-11 for the 2000 season, under Bill Belichicks first season as New England's head coach, and were not expected to do much better in 2001. Things were looking up though and Bill Belichick had the pieces in place for the building of a good team.
 
They drafted Richard Seymour, and Matt Light no. 1 and no. 2 respectively, and at the second start of the season, they gave starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe a ten year contract extension worth 102 million dollars. Drew Bledsoe was the face of the New England patriots at the time, and was the backbone of the New England Patriot franchise.
 
It was game 2 of the 2001 football season, and The New England patriots were playing the New York jets, quarterback Drew Bledsoe took a devastating hit from line backer Mo Lewis of the New York Jets. The result of the hit was a sheared blood vessel in his chest. To lose a starting quarterback like Drew Bledsoe would devastate many teams, But the New England patriots called on second year quarterback Tom Brady.
 
Obviously ultimately this was a good move, but don’t forget nobody knew who Tom Brady was, nobody had any inclination that he would become the player that he has become. He had only played in one game, and completed only one pass, still credit Tom Brady for elevating himself to the number 2 starting quarterback, and when Drew Bledsoe got hurt this gave him his opportunity, which he took full advantage of.
 
When Drew Bledsoe was cleared to play Bill Belichick decided to keep Tom Brady as the starter. This was a bold move considering Drew Bledsoe had a 102 million dollar contract, and Tom Brady made only 300,000 dollars in 2001. Drew Bledsoe was also a proven winner, with an impressive stat sheet.
 
  • In his nine seasons with the New England Patriots he had 2544 completions, and 29,657 yards passing.
  • He became the youngest player to throw for 10,000 yards at age 23
  • Led New England to the playoffs four times in his first six seasons with the team.
  • He led them to the super bowl in 1996, in only his fourth year with the team.
  • He was elected to three pro bowls while with the New England Patriots, and was also the youngest player elected to the pro bowl at age 22
  • At the time hat he got hurt, he had 136 touchdowns
  • Drew Bledsoe did all this, with three different head coaches, and four different offensive coordinators.
  • In 1994 he set a record with pass attempts with 691, and became only the second quarterback to have 400 completions in a season. He also led the league in passing with 4,555 yards, and had five players with at least 50 receptions, including tight end Ben Coates who broke the record at the time with 96 receptions. The most ever by a tight end at the time.
  • He broke the franchise record of throwing 179 passes without an interception; Tom Brady has since surpassed this.
  • He had seven consecutive seasons with 3000 yard or more passing
  • The most passing yards prior to 1994 were 3465 yards. Drew Bledsoe threw more than that, for six consecutive seasons.
 
With all these accomplishments Bill Belichick chose to stay with Tom Brady, an untested quarterback to say the least. Brady did not put up great numbers in 2001, but Bill Belichick saw something in him that’s for sure. And what do you think Drew Bledsoe did, after basically be ousted by this cocky rookie? He did nothing he stood on the sidelines and supported his team. He never lashed out through the media, and caused a quarterback controversy. He supported his team by keeping quiet, and helping Tom Brady be the best he could be, by being his mentor, after all Drew Bledsoe was a proven winner and a great role model for Tom Brady.
 
Drew Bledsoe's ultimate sacrifice came in the AFC championship game against the Pittsburg Steelers, when Tom Brady got injured in the second half; he was called in the game to replace him, and drove The New England Patriots down field capped of by an 11 yard touchdown pass to David Patten. This score sealed the victory, and the New England Patriots went on to win their first super bowl victory against the St. Louis Rams.
 
Obviously everyone knows what Tom Brady went on to do, but what if Drew Bledsoe never got hurt? Who would we be talking about today? You have to give credit to the Patriots organization. It was a Devastating loss at the time, but yet they still went on to win the super bowl, which was an all around team effort.
 
Drew Bledsoe was traded the Next year to the Buffalo Bills and went on to throw for over 10,000 yards in just three years. He was released by Buffalo at the end of the 2004 season and went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys until the end of 2006. Drew Bledsoe retired in 2007, but his achievements with the New England Patriots made him one of the elite quarterbacks of the time, and his actions when he was being replaced, made him a true all around gentleman, and he graciously passed the ball on to Tom Brady.
 
 

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