It was another hit.
Concussions occur, accidents occur. That is the character of soccer.
However when Jets linebacker Mo Lewis drilled Drew Bledsoe alongside the sideline in 2001, it wasn’t simply the tip of the Bledsoe period in New England — it was the catalyst that will result in the delivery of a dynasty that will final 20 years.
With Bledsoe exiting the sport with a brutal harm, it wasn’t as a lot about Bledsoe’s future with the staff because it was the QB2 on the depth chart. Enter Tom Brady, the Patriots’ sixth-round choose from the 2000 NFL Draft.
Brady would end the sport for the injured Bledsoe, going 5-for-10 passing for 46 yards within the loss. What occurred within the video games, years and a long time that adopted, nobody might have predicted.
However it nonetheless all began with Drew Bledsoe.
What occurred to Drew Bledsoe?
Bledsoe, the staff’s No. 1 choose within the 1993 NFL Draft, had lately signed a mega-contract to stay with the Patriots for the forseeable future. The Pats starter was one of many sparkplugs for New England selecting itself up from being on the the worst organizations within the NFL to respectability.
Through the fourth quarter of a reasonably nondescript 2001 Week 2 sport, the incumbent quarterback scrambled for a primary down and was knocked for a loop by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. Bledsoe was identified with a lung harm that will sideline him for a month.
The Jets would go on to win the sport 10-3 — however they’d lose the two-decade warfare that adopted.
Brady completed the season as Patriots starter, main New England to the playoffs as head coach Invoice Belichick hitched his wagon to the second-year QB, even after Bledsoe obtained wholesome.
Bledsoe would see the sector once more within the AFC championship sport, changing an injured Brady and main a scoring drive that pushed the Patriots to Tremendous Bowl 36. That may be the final time Bledsoe would see the sector as a Patriot, and the primary ring of “Tom Terrific’s” profession.
…The primary of six in New England and 7 general. Thanks once more, Mo Lewis.
Belichick would commerce Bledsoe to the Payments for a 2003 first-round choose in April 2002, and the “Hoodie” was fairly candid about why he determined to maneuver on from Bledsoe. Actually, everybody noticed why, however Belichick reaffirmed it:
“All of us knew what the state of affairs was: A soccer staff can have just one beginning quarterback,” Belichick stated in 2001 by way of ESPN. “Ultimately, it could actually solely be one man. … Whenever you put all of it collectively, that is in all probability greatest.”
Bledsoe would have three Bledsoe-ian years with the Payments after the commerce, together with a large 4,359-yard, 24 landing season in 2002 with Buffalo. The latter two seasons had been lighter on the success: The veteran threw 31 touchdowns to twenty-eight interceptions, with the staff going 15-17 general over the ultimate two seasons, lacking the playoffs all three years with the staff.
Whereas he maintains he cherished taking part in in Buffalo, Bledsoe’s finish with Buffalo was pretty bitter. When Bledsoe signed with the Cowboys in 2004, he revealed he could not wait to get his youngsters out of Payments gear.
“I can not wait to go house and gown my children in little stars and do away with the opposite staff’s stuff,” Bledsoe famously stated.
Signing a three-year contract to start out for the Cowboys, Bledsoe was reunited with former Patriots coach Invoice Parcells, who had taken the job in Dallas in 2003. The top of Bledsoe’s profession was pretty unceremonious: In 2006, he was finally benched for some man named Tony Romo who would wind up being Dallas’ QB of the long run.
Bledsoe introduced his retirement in 2007.
What if Mo Lewis by no means harm Drew Bledsoe?
However what if Mo Lewis by no means took out Bledsoe? The questions are countless.
- Does Tom Brady ever get a shot in New England? Bledsoe signed a 10-year, $103 million contract previous to the 2001 season. ”I’ve expressed again and again my want to play my complete profession with the New England Patriots,” Bledsoe stated by way of the New York Instances in 2001. ”It seems to be like that could be a very actual chance.”
- Does Tom Brady turn into the GOAT? There was by no means a lot doubt that from the second Brady stepped on a soccer subject, he was the actual deal. However does Tom Brady turn into Tawm Brady if Bledsoe by no means will get harm, and away from Foxborough and Invoice Belichick?
- How lengthy does Belichick final in New England? There isn’t any denying that Bledsoe signing a big-time deal would have given Belichick a bit longer of a leash, however there was additionally no secret that Belichick was infatuated with Brady because the No. 2 QB in New England, regardless of being a late-round choose. Belichick went 5-11 in his first 12 months in New England (after resigning because the HC of the Jets) and began the 2001 season 0-2. Issues weren’t trying nice for ol’ Invoice there.
- Do the Jets turn into soccer’s subsequent nice dynasty? Nicely, in all probability not.
Although, Lewis did have a really productive, pretty lengthy profession with the Jets — he was a first-team All-Professional in 1998 — he is principally remembered because the dude who unleashed Brady onto the league.
Who is aware of what would have actually occurred?
What we do know is what truly occurred — and the NFL remains to be feeling the after results 20 years later.