For the first time since 2001, the Patriots will have a quarterback battle heading into training camp. Second year player Jarrett Stidham was believed to be the starter with Brian Hoyer as the backup. This was before New England added Cam Newton on a one-year deal.
Whoever the Patriots name as the starter will have to adjust to Bill Belichick’s system. The Patriots will be known as the best dynasty in sports’ history. It is hard to believe that they did not win their first Super Bowl until 2001. Before the days of titles and parades, there were still some great quarterbacks to go through the locker room.
5. Tony Eason
Eason joined the Patriots in 1983 and did not see much success as a rookie. He made four startsand threw just one touchdown with five interceptions. In year two, Eason turned it around. He finished with 23 touchdowns and just eight interceptions in 13 starts.
New England made the playoffs twice with Eason under center. In 1985, Eason made 10 starts and threw 11 touchdowns with 17 interceptions. The team won 11 games and made an incredible run in the postseason. Eason was the main reason why as he threw five touchdowns and no interceptions in four games. The magical run would end with a blowout loss to the dominant ’85 Chicago Bears’ defense.
Eason went 28-23 as a starter in New England. He threw for 10,732 yards which is fifth in franchise history.
4. Babe Parilli
Parilli ran the offense back when the team was in Boston. He began his career with the Green Bay Packers then spent one season in Cleveland. After another two year stretch with the Packers, Parilli lasted 14 games in Oakland before arriving in Boston.
Parilli immediately found a home with the Patriots, which is something that he struggled to do elsewhere. In his first season in Boston, Parilli won six of his eight starts and led the league in completion percentage. In 1964, Parilli put up is best numbers with 3,465 yards and 31 touchdowns. He was named an All-Pro that year. As a member of the Patriots, Parilli was named to the Pro Bowl three times.
After leaving the Patriots in 1967, Parilli spent two years as Joe Namath’s backup with the New York Jets before calling it a career. He won 44 games with the Patriots and was one of the top quarterbacks in franchise history.
3. Steve Grogan
Grogan’s first year with the Patriots came in 1975 when he was 22-years old. He spent his entire 16-year career in New England. Grogan started seven games as a rookie before being handed the full time job during his sophomore campaign.
In 1976, Grogan led the Patriots to an 11-3 record. Just two years later, he won 11 games once again. Grogan had his best statistical season in 1979 when he led the league in touchdowns with 28. Grogan turned the ball over quite a bit but he found ways to win games in the regular season. This was different come postseason time. Grogan started three playoff games and did not pick up a win. In those games, he totaled three touchdowns and seen interceptions.
Grogan lands at No. 3 on the list because of his longevity with the team. He is second in franchise history with 182 touchdown passes.
2. Drew Bledsoe
The Patriots took Bledsoe with the No. 1 pick in the 1993 NFL Draft out of Washington State. He burst onto the scene as a rookie making 12 starts and throwing 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Bledsoe kept his gunslinger mentality over the next few years.
In three seasons from 1994-1996, Bledsoe led the league in pass attempts three times, completions twice, and passing yards once. He did not play in just six games during his first eight years in the league. Then came the Week 2 matchup against the New York Jets in 2001. It was a 10-3 game in the fourth quarter when Bledsoe began scrambling to his right. He was nailed by Mo Lewis along the sideline and forced to leave the game. He was then replaced by the No. 1 player on this list.
Bledsoe was one of the top passers in the game during his early years and that led to some turnovers. He led the league in interceptions in 1994 with 27. Bledsoe was a four time Pro Bowler, three of which came in a Patriots’ uniform.
After being knocked out of the Jets’ game in 2001, Bledsoe would play one more time in the AFC Championship that same year. He was then shipped off to Buffalo. Bledsoe currently ranks second in franchise history in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns.
1. Tom Brady
The journey began when the Patriots selected Brady with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. It continued when Lewis knocked Bledsoe out of the game in 2001. Enter Brady and the rest is history.
Brady is at the top of this list and would be at the top of any list naming the top quarterbacks in the history of the game. Brady won six Super Bowls and made it to nine in a Patriots’ uniform. Since 2001, the Patriots have won the AFC East 17 times and have not finished below first place since 2008. New England missed the playoffs twice since Brady became the stater and he was not under center for one of those seasons recovering from a knee injury.
In 2007, Brady had his best statistical season. On the way to a 16-0 regular season, Brady set the NFL single-season touchdown record with 50, it was later broken by Peyton Manning. He also led the league with 4,806 yards and threw just eight interceptions. Brady has led the league in passing yards and touchdowns three times each. Brady is a three-time league MVP, four-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time First Team All-Pro, and 14-time Pro Bowler.
Brady will continue his career in 2020 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be strange seeing him in another uniform. Brady will go down as one of the best quarterback of all time in the regular season, postseason, and Super Bowl.