It's official, fans voted Drew Bledsoe into the Patriots Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, choosing him over his old head coach Bill Parcells.
Bledsoe deserves his spot among the team’s all time best.
He may not be the best quarterback in Patriots history, that debate was settled years ago, but for once we shouldn’t focus on what Bledsoe isn't.
Instead, let’s focus on what he was.
He was the player who came to the Patriots as the No. 1 overall pick in 1993 and turned around the fortunes of the franchise—a harder task than he gets credit for; many a good player has crashed and burned under that kind of pressure.
He was the player who signaled the beginning to the current era of Patriots dominance. He started the team down the path to new uniforms, a new stadium, and most importantly, all those championships.
He was good. No, scratch that, he was great. His talent was the stuff legends are made of. Tall, strong, and possessing a cannon for a right arm, Bledsoe was the prototype for the modern quarterback, before anyone knew such a thing existed.
He was the best player and the leader of the team that went to the Super Bowl in ’96. As those of us rooting for the Boston teams at the time remember, this was the only time one of them even flirted with a championship during the decade.
He was also the consummate professional.
After losing his starting job due to injury, as the presumed franchise quarterback to a sixth-round draft pick, Bledsoe was called upon to perform his backup duties during the AFC Championship game. Most players would have pouted in his situation.
Not Bledsoe, instead he put the team ahead of his own feelings and did what it took to win. Brady will always be remember as the quarterback that finally led the Patriots to a Super Bowl win, but we know he never would have had the chance to upset the Rams unless Bledsoe stepped up against the Steelers.
Most of all, he was the best player on the team for the better part of a decade.
That makes him worthy of being remembered as one of the Patriots' best.