The New England Patriots have a new member of their Hall of Fame and it’s former quarterback Drew Bledsoe who was elected over his former coach Bill Parcells and lineman Houston Antwine.

Drew BledsoeBledsoe, the Number 1 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, went on to become the franchise player Parcells and the team thought they were getting that day.  Both Parcells and Bledsoe were instrumental in the Patriots going from doormats to playoff contenders and finally onto Super Bowl Champions. In his first six seasons he led the Patriots to the playoffs four times.

Without the contributions of either much of what we as Patriot fans enjoy today would probably not have been accomplished.  Without Parcells, who knows if Bill Belichick ever gets hired in New England.  It was because of his time in Foxboro as an assistant on Parcells staff that the Kraft family got to know him.

Without Belichick there’s likely no Tom Brady.  It all comes back to Parcells and Bledsoe, Bledsoe and Parcells.

New England owner Robert Kraft said of Bledsoe:

“Drew Bledsoe played such an integral role in our efforts to rebuild the Patriots brand.  He gave fans hope for the future and provided many memorable moments during his record breaking career.”

Bledsoe, who came to New England from Washington State University, led the team to it’s second Super Bowl appearance in 1996 and along the way became the franchise leader in career passing attempts, completions and yards.

My favorite Bledsoe memory is of the last game he played in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh.  When after Brady got hurt he led the team to the Super Bowl with a gutsy performance normally reserved for starters, not back ups coming in cold. New England won that day 24-17 sending the hated Steelers home instead of to New Orleans as they had expected.

Bledsoe spent nine seasons with New England and threw 166 TD passes while winning 62 games and another 3 in the playoffs.  He also made 3 Pro Bowls as a Patriot, his first, in 1994, made him the youngest to ever play in a Pro Bowl he was 22 years old.

Bledsoe, when notified by Kraft of the honor said:

“Obviously, just a tremendous honor to be elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame.  Receiving the call from Mr. Kraft, honestly it was a bit emotional, more than I thought it would have been.”

Bledsoe will be inducted on Saturday September 17 along with Jon Morris, who was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Senior Selection Committee.  The event which is held at the Hall at Patriot Place is open free to the public.

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