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Usually I skip these kind of 'news' posts but in Bledsoe's case it is probably worth a thread. He's a likely Hall of Famer whose career ends with a whimper.

I was shocked this morning to see this reported in the paper this morning. I wasn't shocked he retired, though I figured he'd hang around for a couple more years as the veteran backup. I was shocked that the Boston Globe reported this on page three of the sports.

Page three for arguably the most important player in in team history. He wasn't the most popular or the best, but he came at a crucial time. Before Bledsoe showed up, they were on life support as a franchise. They won nine games in the previous three seasons (and there was a six win team in there). There were constant rumors that the team moving to St. Louis. Attendance was way down.

Then two things happened; they brought in Parcels and picked Bledsoe number one. They've sold out every game since then.

Many people will make fun of Bledsoe for his mistakes, and there were many, many dumb ones. And he was a guy who never worked hard enough, instead relying on his talent. He was as frustrating any player I've ever watched. I saw what he was capable of, when he was on he was as good as anyone I've ever seen. He could throw it anywhere, he could make any throw. But he could just as easily make the mistake to cost the team a game which he did too often. We kept waiting for him to change, to make fewer mistakes, to use his head more. We wanted him to throw it away rather than trying to jam it into a non-existant opening. We wanted him to learn how to move in the pocket and how to manage the game.

He never did that and it cost him his position. Brady replaced him and was everything Bledsoe wasn't.

But it's easy to forget the excitement he brought to the team. He went head-to-head against Marino several times, almost matching him pass for pass. There was the game against the Vikings where he brought the team back from a big deficit and broke the record for passes in a game. There was the must-win game where he had a broken finger with an exposed pin sticking out. Late in the game Pete Caroll wanted him to call time-out, Bledsoe ignored Caroll and threw a game winning TD. And in the 2001 playoffs he came off the bench in the second quarter to throw a TD pass. In the third quarter he threw one of the nicest passes I've ever seen from him when he floated the ball over a defender playing tight, into the receiver's hands at the sidelines. I was happy to see Bledsoe doing so well, maybe he had learned from his time off. Then while under pressure he tried a backwards over-the-head pass that was nearly intercepted. That game was a microcosm of Bledsoe's career.

The year before Bledsoe was drafted the Patriots were 2-14. Two years later Bledsoe led the team to the playoffs and then to the Superbowl in his fourth year. Bledsoe wasn't the best, but he was the most important player they've ever had. There may not even be a team in NE without Bledsoe. Putting his retirement on the third page of the sports section is a shame.
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