Card: Classic 1993
Acquired: TTM 1995, C/o The New England Patriots
Drew Bledsoe was officially the last TTM autograph I received in 1995, until I started collecting again in 2010- a period of some 15 years. The overall #1 pick of the 1993 draft, and first choice of then coach Bill Parcells, Bledsoe was a consummate professional and an avid student of the game, with a cannon for an arm. Bledsoe would start immediately, being thrown right into the fire by the Patriots but responded respectably, winning 5 games his rookie season. It didn’t take Bledsoe long, as in 1994 the team qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1986. He’d be named to the Pro Bowl and set the NFL record for most pass attempts in a season with a monstrous 691 attempts. Drew led the team to the Super Bowl in 1997 against the Green Bay Packers and was named the starter for the ProBowl. His consistency continued, leading his team to numerous playoff appearances and Pro Bowl nominations, but things changed in 2001, when Bledsoe was hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. The catastrophic injury caused internal bleeding, and Tom Brady replaced Drew in the lineup. Tom never looked back, leading the team to a SuperBowl victory. Bledsoe was a consummate professional about the whole thing, and never complained about losing his starting job.
After discussions with management about what he wanted- Bledsoe was traded to in-division rival Buffalo and played there admirably for 3 seasons, setting the team record for most passing yards in a game. In 2005, Bledsoe signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys, and was reunited with his former head coach Bill Parcells. He’d play well there for an additional season, but by this point his mobility had disintegrated to such a point that he was getting brutalized in the pocket. Additional erratic play emerged and in 2006 he was replaced in the lineup by Tony Romo. He’d retire after that season.
Bledsoe’s statistical legacy in the NFL is impressive. He’d finish at that time 5th in career attempts and completions, and 7th in yards. Drew since retirement has been active in his community, charitable events and has returned to his college roots in the Walla Walla area, where he owns a small vineyard, (Flying B Vineyards).
G/Gs 194/193 Att 6717 Comp 3859 Pct 57.2 Yds 44611
Td 251 Int 206 lg 86T Rat 77.1