By: Russ Goldman
On Sunday I saw an article by Tim Graham on ESPN.com. The story was discussing the subject of Drew Bledsoe and the fact that his numbers could put him in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
The ESPN story was pointing to the magical number of 40,000 yards passing for a career. Every quarterback that was eligible for the Hall Of Fame that threw for that amount of yardage got in to the Hall. Drew Bledsoe has thrown for over 40,000 yards for his career.
This statistic does not tell the entire story on Drew Bledsoe. I am not a true believer that a persons career should be measured by statistics. It should be considered a piece of the pie, but not the biggest part of the criteria for me. My memory and the eye test tell me where Drew Bledsoe stands in regards to the Hall. Drew Bledsoe is not worthy of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
Now, I followed Drew’s career from Washington State to the New England Patriots. I also kept an eye on him with his time with the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys. He had a very good pro career. To be in the Hall though you should be one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Are you telling me Bledsoe deserves to be thought in that manner?
When Bledsoe came to the Patriots I was thrilled. I really believed in my heart that he was the man to win a Super Bowl for the Patriots. Bledsoe had a rocket arm and was extremely accurate. But, what I noticed very early on was that his decision making was not at the same level as his throwing ability. He often seemed to make throws that he shouldn’t have made.
I can remember fantastic games that Bledsoe had with the Patriots. In 1994, Drew put on a show against the Minnesota Vikings to lead the Patriots back from a huge deficit. There were times that he was tremendous.
However, there were many situations which Drew would make a bad decision that would lead to an interception. Picks are a part of the game, but the ability to limit your mistakes was a quality I believe Bledsoe lacked.
I always go back to the question I asked myself before Super Bowl XXXI. Can Drew Bledsoe win you a Super bowl? The NFL is a quarterback driven league. The Patriots lost that Super Bowl. It wasn’t his fault for the loss. However, I just didn’t think Bledsoe would be able to step up on the biggest stage to make a huge difference and win you a Super Bowl.
Drew Bledsoe received much praise for coming in for Tom Brady in the 2001 AFC Championship Game. I remember this performance a little different than most. I was very nervous when he took over in that game. He made some shaky passes and was lucky not to throw a key interception. The Patriots won that game. However, not for a moment did I believe that Drew Bledsoe could win the Super Bowl for the Patriots if Tom Brady could not play.
When the Patriots traded Bledsoe to the Bills I was happy. I believed that the Patriots would beat Bledsoe two times a year. Do you actually think Bill Belichick would have traded him within the division if he thought Drew could beat him?
As Bledsoe’s career went he started off great with the Bills. Once the season went on his play started to worsen in the 2002 season. The Bills should have known what the Patriots knew. Drew Bledsoe was a very good quarterback. He just wasn’t the elite quarterback we thought he would be.
When it is his time to be a candidate for the Hall Of Fame try to be objective when it comes to Bledsoe. I want more Patriots to get into the hall. There are many Patriots that will be eligible for the Hall Of Fame in the upcoming years. Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison both deserve more consideration than Bledsoe.
I am sure you will see the columns from Ron Borges who is Bledsoe’s friend making Drew’s case to become a member. He is just not the right Patriot player to make the argument for induction. I can see him as a member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame. But, Drew is not one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Does he belong with the likes of Joe Montana, Jim Kelly, and Steve Young? That answer for me is no. Drew Bledsoe is not worthy of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.