In the early 1970s, the Boston Patriots became the New England Patriots, a founding member of the American Football League. The team enjoyed some early success but never won a championship in the AFL, and the lows outweighed the highs for the most part. We used five key criteria to select the five best New England Patriots players of all time: Pro Bowl nods, first-team All-Pro appearances, estimated worth, length of employment with the Patriots, and team performance while on the roster. Football Whispers can be a place for the latest transfer news, predictions, and so many more. Many great Patriots have come and gone throughout their tenure. We’ve narrowed it down to the top five.
An outstanding resume is on display. And the fact that a player would quit a team after 20 seasons is also a first in professional sports history. In terms of throwing yards and touchdowns, Tom Brady is only second behind Drew Brees in the NFL. As a result of his six Super Bowl rings and three MVP awards, it is impossible to argue that he isn’t the best player of all time. However, this isn’t the place to discuss who the greatest NFL player ever is. Only the Patriots’ past is of importance to us. Brady is unquestionably the best quarterback in the league, regardless of where other players rank in the top 5.
One of the finest offensive linemen in NFL history, John Hannah is universally regarded. Hannah is the Patriots’ second-highest-value player behind Tom Brady, and his 147 overall rating is at least 31 points more than any other player who has played for the team other than the GOAT. While no other Patriot can claim more than four, he has seven of them to his name. Hannah anchored a record-breaking rushing onslaught with her sturdiness.
Andre Tippett, maybe the best Patriots linebacker of all time, had an incredible aptitude for stopping opposing quarterbacks. Tippett’s defensive prowess was already evident in his first two seasons, but it wasn’t until his third year that the league felt the full force of Tippett’s anger. He had 18.5 sacks that season, which started a five-year streak of Pro Bowl appearances. Tippett played 11 seasons with the New England Patriots until suffering an injury-plagued 1989 season. He has the most sacks in team history, with a total of 100. In 1999, Tippett was enshrined in the Patriots’ Hall of Fame, cementing his position in Patriots history.
With 212 games played, Bruce Armstrong holds the team record as a starter in all of them. This makes Armstrong one of just three players in league history to have played with the same club through all three decades. Armstrong was a six-time Pro Bowler. In spite of his little stature, Armstrong was a key member of the offensive line in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl in 1999 despite playing the last eight games of the season with three damaged ligaments in his right knee. Bruce Smith, a Hall of Fame defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, was one of his fiercest adversaries during the height of his career. In 2001, Armstrong was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of ’01. The inaugural year of induction was 2001.
From 1977 through 1989, Stanley Morgan was a Patriots wide receiver who set a team record with 534 career catches, which he held for 17 years before being surpassed by Troy Brown. He still holds the team record for receiving yards with 10,352 and has 67 touchdowns on his name. His 19.2-yard-per-catch average remains the NFL record for players with more than 500 catches in their career. One of the best punt returners in Patriots history as well as a four-time Pro Bowler. Morgan was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2007 for his contributions to the team.
In the long and illustrious history of the New England Patriots, there has never been a dearth of outstanding players.
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