Drew Bledsoe was both the hero and villain to Bills fans during his career. He was a Super Bowl winning quarterback who played for the Patriots, the Bills, and the Cowboys. He spent the majority of his career playing for the Patriots, and was one the best arms in the game during his prime.
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During his career, Bledsoe was invited to the Pro Bowl 4 times and he led the league in passing yards. When he was selected for the 1995 Pro Bowl, he became the youngest player to compete in the game at just 22.
Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, often states the important role Bledsoe played in launching what is now known as the Patriots Dynasty (winning 6 Super Bowls between 2001 and 2018). Because of his contributions to the team, Bledsoe was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011.
Here’s Drew Bledsoe’s career and life so far.
Early And College Years
Bledsoe was born in Ellensburg, Washington in 1972. In both high school and college, he played football, basketball, and track and field. He broke state records in both discus and javelin while in high school.
Bledsoe attended Washington State University and became their starting quarterback as a freshman. During his time at WSU, he set school records in single-game passing yards (476), single-season pass completions (241), and single-season passing yards (3,246).
In 34 starts, over three years, he racked up 7,373 yards, 532 completions, and 46 touchdowns.
He also won the Copper Bowl with WSU. He was part of the All-PAC team in 1992 and was nominated for the Heisman.
Thanks to his spectacular third year, he decided to enter the Draft a year early in 1993.
The NFL Years
The Bledsoe vs. Rick Mirer debate was an intense one, but Bledsoe was selected first overall in the 1993 Draft by New England. Bill Parcells used his first pick to take his future cornerstone QB.
The Patriots Years (1993-2001)
Bledsoe became the starting quarterback for the Patriots almost immediately. He started 12 games in his rookie year.
Arguably his best year for the team was in 1994. That year he led the league in passing yards, passing attempts, and passing completions – 4,555 yards, 691, and 400 respectively.
That year he set the NFL records for most passing attempts in a game (70) and most completed passes (45). He was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time and became its youngest ever player.
He continued to be the starting quarterback for the Patriots until 2001 when he was injured in the second game of the season. A young unknown named Tom Brady took over and led the team to the Super Bowl. The door was open for the GOAT, and Bledsoe’s time came to an end.
That was the last season that Bledsoe played with the Patriots. They went on to have an incredibly successful 17 years. Bledsoe laid a lot of the groundwork for that success. He helped mentor Brady all season, and came into a huge spot in the AFC Championship Game and led an upset win over the Steelers.
The Bills Years (2002-2004)
In his three years with the Bills, Bledsoe started all 48 games but they never made it to the playoffs.
While the teams’ offensive units were stronger than ever with Bledsoe at the helm, the defensive units were held back by injuries and lack of depth.
Many blamed the Bills’ failure to make the playoffs in 2004 on Bledsoe.
After his third year with the Bills, Bledsoe was released from his contract as the team had picked up J.P. Losman in the Draft. This ended up being a big mistake on their part, as Losman never lived up to what Bledsoe brought to the team.
The Cowboys Years (2005-2006)
Bledsoe decided to reunite with Parcells in Dallas.
He had a solid two years with the team but failed, again, to make it to the playoffs. He announced his retirement in 2007.
After The NFL
After retiring from the NFL, Bledsoe was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Bledsoe was named honorary captain of the Patriots in 2018 when they faced the Jaguars in the AFC title game. Bledsoe had been the starting quarterback for the Pats team that beat the Jaguars in the same situation in 1994.
They went on to win that game, and win the Super Bowl for the final time in the next game. Bledsoe handed the trophy over to Robert Kraft that year.