There is a huge contingent of New England Patriots fans in the state of Connecticut. Who is their favorite player in the history of the team? A good bet would be to look no further than their current leader, Tom Brady. In fact, there would probably be a much better debate on who would be the runner-up to the number one position.
Brady is an obvious pick and he has the rings and great record to prove why he is deserving. As the quarterback he receives the credit for the Super Bowl victories. He makes good receivers out of average guys. He has always been cool under pressure.
It’s interesting that Brady is so great but wasn’t given a chance until Drew Bledsoe was hurt. That’s because Bledsoe was a proven talent. He was a fan favorite and even led the Pats to a Super Bowl. The wins didn’t come as easily as they do with Brady at the helm but Bledsoe could air it out and put up big stats.
Troy Brown was a receiver who caught the ball from both guys. He didn’t have the biggest numbers but he was a very valuable player. Throughout his long career he was a factor on offense, defense, and special teams.
The Patriots didn’t always have the strongest receivers. Brown was solid but during the 90s the top weapon might have been their tight end, Ben Coates. He was always there for Bledsoe and was a favorite target of Bledsoe.
Terry Glenn had a few really good years catching balls from Bledsoe but he didn’t stay strong for long. Shawn Jefferson was a more consistent player but had less talent than Glenn.
The guy taking handoffs from Bledsoe was also very impressive. Many people loved Curtis Martin for his skills on the field but also his quiet demeanor off of it. Though he wasn’t a highly touted player out of college, he dominated from day one with the Pats.
When Brady took over and the team started winning Super Bowls, there was an added amount of attention to the team. For example, defensive players Tedy Bruschi and Ty Law were given credit that they previously hadn’t received.
One guy who benefitted greatly from the microscope placed on the team was kicker Adam Vinatieri. He, of course, also made it all possible with some of his clutch kicks.
On top of Bruschi and Law there were some other good defensive players who fit their roles perfectly. Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour come to mind. Vrabel contributed on the offensive side of the ball as well.
The Patriots defense fit together like a puzzle with everybody doing what they were asked to. There were no great players but they were perfect when aligned together. They weren’t a shutdown defense but they had schemes that put them in the right place at the right time.
A lot of those times came right after the offense had just scored to put them ahead. Brady had many options. Mostly through the air either to Randy Moss, David Givens, Deion Branch, or Wes Welker but also the running backs were capable.
When the team got Corey Dillon it gave them a toughness. They would show this quality on both sides of the ball when the Colts would come to a snowy Foxboro and the Patriots would come out victorious. It didn’t matter how great Peyton Manning or the rest of his team was.
There are many options for who is second to Brady. A lot of players had a big influence on the championship teams of the 2000s. There are so many, in fact, that it is hard to pick a next most valuable player.
Also, the players in the 90s who helped get the team to contender status shouldn’t be ignored. However, it is a little tough not to be happy that Bledsoe got hurt when he did.