Drew Bledsoe

Drew Bledsoe

refer to caption

Bledsoe at Troy Brown's induction into
the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2012
No. 11
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1972-02-14) February 14, 1972
Place of birth: Ellensburg, Washington
Height: 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight: 238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High school: Walla Walla (WA)
College: Washington State
NFL Draft: 1993 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
TDINT: 251–206
Passing yards: 44,611
Passer rating: 77.1
Player stats at NFL.com

Drew McQueen Bledsoe (born February 14, 1972)[1] is a retired American football quarterback who played fourteen seasons in the National Football League (NFL). Bledsoe is best known as the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots from 1993 to 2001. He also played for the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys. During the 1990s, he was considered the face of the Patriots franchise.

The first overall pick in 1993 NFL Draft, Bledsoe helped improve the fortunes of the Patriots, who had fallen on hard times. Under his tenure as starting quarterback, the Patriots ended an eight-season postseason drought, qualified for the playoffs six times, and made one Super Bowl appearance. In his second season with the team, he was named to the 1995 Pro Bowl and was the youngest quarterback to appear in the NFL's all-star game at the time.

Following a period of declining success and two consecutive seasons where the Patriots missed the playoffs, Bledsoe suffered a near-fatal injury early in the 2001 season and was replaced as starter by Tom Brady. He was unable to regain his starting position after he was medically cleared to play due to Brady's success with the team, which culminated with the franchise's first Super Bowl win. Bledsoe then retired after short stints with the Bills and the Cowboys. For his accomplishments in New England, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011.

High school years

Bledsoe attended Walla Walla High School and was a letterman in football, basketball and track. In football, he was named a first team All-State selection by the Tacoma News Tribune. In track, he competed in the throwing events, recording top-throws of 45.34 meters in the discus throw and 54.70 meters in the javelin throw.[2]

College years

Bledsoe had a record-setting career in his three years at Washington State. After gaining the starting job in the end of the 1990 season as a true freshman (joined later by Jeff Tuel as the only two in school history), he quickly became the face of the Cougars offense. In 1992 Bledsoe led his team to a 9–3 record (ranking #10 in the coaches poll and #12 in the AP) and a 31–28 win against the Utah Utes in the Copper Bowl. Bledsoe completed 30-46 passes for 476 yards and 2 TDs in the game. He also established WSU records in single-game passing yards (476), single-season pass completions (241), and single-season passing yards (3,946). He was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year.

Following an impressive junior year Bledsoe decided to forgo his senior season and enter the 1993 NFL Draft. In the 34 starts of his collegiate career he amassed 9,373 yards, 532 completions and 66 touchdowns.[3]

NFL career

New England Patriots: 1993–2001

Bledsoe was drafted first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He started right away for the Patriots in his rookie season, as they improved from two to five wins.

On November 13, 1994, the Patriots had won just three of their first nine games and were losing, 20–3, to the Minnesota Vikings at halftime. Bledsoe led a comeback victory in which the Patriots won, 26–20, in overtime, as he set single game records in pass completions (45) and attempts (70).[4] By remaining undefeated throughout the succeeding games, the Patriots earned their first postseason appearance in eight years.[5] Bledsoe started all 16 games that season and went on to set an NFL record in pass attempts (691), becoming the second NFL quarterback to complete 400 or more passes in a season (400), and led the league in passing yards (4,555).[6] Due to his performance, Bledsoe was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate.

Following a difficult 1995 season, Bledsoe turned it around in 1996 ranking among the top passers in the league with the help of wide receiver Terry Glenn, thus pushing the Patriots to reach the playoffs again and winning the AFC championship against the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20–6. This led to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 35–21. Bledsoe completed 25 of 48 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss. He was also named a starter for the Pro Bowl that season, the second of his career.

Bledsoe in 2001, during his tenure with the Patriots.

During the 1997 season, Bledsoe helped the Patriots win five of their final seven games to once again qualify for the playoffs, the fourth time in eight years as a Patriots starter he would lead the team to a postseason appearance. The Patriots lost in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, however Bledsoe built a career-high 87.7 passer rating, passed for 3706 yards, tossed 28 Touchdowns, and earned his third Pro Bowl invitation.

The following year, he became the first NFL quarterback to complete game-winning touchdown passes in the final 30 seconds of two consecutive games.[7] In doing so, he propelled New England into the postseason for the third straight year. He completed these come-from-behind efforts while playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, an injury that would later sideline him for the postseason.

Bledsoe started the 1999 season very strong, with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions as the Patriots held a 6–2 mid-season record. However, Bledsoe subsequently threw only six touchdowns versus 17 interceptions, and the team finished with an 8–8 record. The team's slide continued into the 2000 season as the Patriots ended with a record of 5–11. While Bledsoe threw a then career low 13 interceptions that year, he was sacked 45 times.

In March 2001, Bledsoe was signed to a then-record ten-year, $103 million contract.[8] Bledsoe did not finish his career with the Patriots, nor see the opening of the new Gillette Stadium. During the second game of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis and suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest - which almost resulted in his death.[9] Replacing Bledsoe at quarterback, soon-to-be All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to a Super Bowl championship. Though he never regained his starting role, Bledsoe proved integral to his team's playoff run when he replaced a hobbled Brady in the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh. Bledsoe, starting from the Steelers 40-yard line, capped a scoring drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to David Patten to seal a 24–17 victory. In winning the conference championship game, Bledsoe completed 10 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.[10] It was the second time in six years (1996 and 2001) that Bledsoe was an integral part in leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl appearance.

Appreciative of his lengthy tenure with the team, Patriots fans cheered Bledsoe in each of his three returns to New England as a visiting player.[11]

Buffalo Bills: 2002–2004

A change of scenery—by way of a trade[12]—to Bledsoe's former division rival Buffalo seemed to give him a bit of rejuvenation in 2002. He had one of his best seasons ever, passing for 4,359 yards and 24 touchdowns and making his fourth trip to the Pro Bowl. In Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings, Bledsoe set a team record with 463 yards passing in an overtime win. He continued his strong play in 2003 as the Bills began the year 2–0. However, a flurry of injuries stymied the Bills offense; they failed to score a touchdown in three consecutive games en route to a 6–10 season. In 2004, they fell one game short of making the playoffs; a late season winning streak went for naught when Bledsoe and the Bills performed poorly against the Pittsburgh Steelers backups in the season finale.[13]

Bledsoe was released by the Bills after the 2004 season to make way for backup quarterback J.P. Losman. When Bledsoe was later signed by the Dallas Cowboys, he expressed bitterness with the Bills for the move, stating "I can't wait to go home and dress my kids in little stars and get rid of the other team's [Buffalo's] stuff."[14]

Bledsoe stretching before a game with the Cowboys in 2005.

Dallas Cowboys: 20052006

Bledsoe with Greg Ellis in a 2006 game.

Bledsoe went on to sign with the Dallas Cowboys, where he was reunited with former coach Bill Parcells. Bledsoe was intended to be a long-term solution at quarterback for the Cowboys. Said Bledsoe on the day he signed with Dallas, "Bill [Parcells] wants me here, and being the starter. I anticipate that being the case and not for one year." He signed for $23 million for three years.[15]

During his tenure with the Cowboys, he threw for over 3,000 yards in a season for the ninth time in his career, tying Warren Moon for fourth in NFL history. That season, Bledsoe led five 4th quarter/OT game-winning drives to keep the Cowboys' playoff hopes alive until the final day of the season.[16] Though the team ultimately failed to reach the playoffs, Bledsoe had led them to a 9-7 record, an improvement over the 6-10 mark that Vinny Testaverde had finished with in 2004.

However, in 2006, his final season with the Cowboys, Bledsoe's play became erratic, so much so that six games into the season he was replaced by then-backup and soon to be Pro-Bowler Tony Romo. Shortly after the end of the 2006 season, Bledsoe was released by the Cowboys. Unwilling to be relegated to a backup position, Bledsoe announced his retirement from the NFL on April 11, 2007.[17]

Retirement and legacy

When Bledsoe retired in April 2007, he left fifth in NFL history in pass attempts (6,717) and completions (3,839), seventh in passing yards (44,611), and 13th in touchdown passes (251).

On May 16, 2011, Bledsoe was voted by Patriots fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame.[18] He was formally inducted in a public ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place on September 17, 2011. Bledsoe beat former head coach Bill Parcells and defensive lineman Houston Antwine in a fan vote.

In July 2012, Bledsoe was named the 30th greatest quarterback of the NFL's post-merger era by Football Nation.[19]

Personal life

Bledsoe's parents were school teachers in Ellensburg, Washington. From his earliest years he was passionate about football. His father was a coach who ran an important football camp in Washington state, and Drew literally toddled under the protective eye of professional players and coaches who helped his father run the camp.[20]

The Bledsoe family moved five times before Drew was in the sixth grade. They finally settled in Walla Walla, Washington, where Bledsoe's father coached football at the high school. The only time Drew played a whole season of football without ever starting at quarterback was in seventh grade at Pioneer Junior High. In high school, with his father as his coach, he won numerous awards, including selection to the Western 100 and Washington State Player of the Year. He was heavily recruited by colleges such as the University of Miami and the University of Washington, but he decided to attend Washington State, which was a mere two-hour drive from home.[20]

Drew and his wife Maura live in Bend, Oregon and have four children: sons Stuart, John, Henry, and daughter Healy. He coaches his sons, Stuart and John, at Summit High School.[21]

While playing for the New England Patriots, Drew Bledsoe lived in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on Tabway Lane, and in Medfield, Massachusetts, in the house that is currently owned by retired Major League Baseball player Curt Schilling. Right before his departure from the New England Patriots and the town of Medfield, he donated football cleats to the entire Medfield High School football team.

After his retirement in 2007, Bledsoe founded the Doubleback Winery along with close friend Chris Figgins. The company's grapes are harvested from McQueen Vineyards and Flying B Vineyards, located in and around Walla Walla, Washington. The wine has had success recently, placing 53rd overall in Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines.[22] His first vintage which was 2007 vintage quickly sold out of its initial 600 cases.[23] In 2012, Marvin R. Shanken invited Ernie Els, Greg Norman, Tom Seaver and Bledsoe to introduce his wines, despite Shanken's disdain for New England Patriots.[24]

Bledsoe has a vested interest in Bledsoe Capital Group, which is committed to facilitating the capitalization, development, and marketing of its diverse holdings and investments.

In his spare time, Bledsoe works with many philanthropic organizations.[21]

Drew is currently the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon.[25]


Career stats

Passing Stats
Year Team Att Comp Pct Yds TD Int QB rating
1993 New England Patriots 429 214 49.9 2,494 15 15 65.0
1994 New England Patriots 691 400 57.9 4,555 25 27 73.6
1995 New England Patriots 636 323 50.8 3,507 13 16 63.7
1996 New England Patriots 623 373 59.9 4,086 27 15 83.7
1997 New England Patriots 522 314 60.2 3,706 28 15 87.7
1998 New England Patriots 481 263 54.7 3,633 20 14 80.9
1999 New England Patriots 539 305 56.6 3,985 19 21 75.6
2000 New England Patriots 531 312 58.8 3,291 17 13 77.3
2001 New England Patriots 66 40 60.6 400 2 2 75.3
2002 Buffalo Bills 610 375 61.5 4,359 24 15 86.0
2003 Buffalo Bills 471 274 58.2 2,860 11 12 73.0
2004 Buffalo Bills 450 256 56.9 2,932 20 16 76.6
2005 Dallas Cowboys 499 300 60.1 3,639 23 17 83.7
2006 Dallas Cowboys 170 90 53.3 1,164 7 8 69.2
Totals 6,717 3,839 57.2 44,611 251 206 77.2

Post-season records and statistics


While Bledsoe's has thrown for a high number of yards and attempts, a frequent criticism is that they are based on volume (attempts, completions, yards) rather than efficiency (passer rating, TD-to-INT ratio, yards per attempt) proving only that he has thrown a great number of times, not that he has thrown well.[26] According to sports writer Don Banks, Bledsoe's large career totals "reveal more about his longevity than about his excellence".[27]

Bledsoe ranks fifth all-time in completions (3,839), seventh in passing yards (44,611), and 13th in touchdown passes (251). Bledsoe's career (57.2) completion percentage is lower than all recent Hall of Fame quarterbacks with the exception of John Elway. Bledsoe's NFL career passer rating of (77.1) surpasses nine Hall of Fame Quarterbacks. Bledsoe's 37 regular season 300-yard passing games ranks 9th in league history. He also ranks 6th (with 6) in most career regular season 400-yard passing games by an NFL quarterback. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times (in 1994, 1996, 1997, 2002). Bledsoe was eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

See also


  1. "Drew Bledsoe Biography". Biography.com. A&E Networks. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  2. https://www.trackingfootball.com/players/drew-bledsoe-10828/
  3. "Washington State Scout". Washington State Scout. 2002-07-09. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  4. Patriots Official Website.. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
  5. James Alder. "Patriots Playoff History". Football.about.com. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  6. 1994 NFL Leaders.. Retrieved August 26, 2007.
  7. Patriots Official Website. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
  8. Bledsoe Signs Record Contract Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
  9. NFL Network
  10. Bledsoe Heads to Buffalo for 2003 Pick ESPN.com. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
  11. https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2002/12/09/patriots-expose-drew-bledsoe-return-foxborough/Ss3KgqDfkKffci6pdjTplK/story
  12. "Boston Sports Media Watch » Bledsoe Traded As stated here". Bostonsportsmedia.com. April 21, 2002. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  13. Maiorana, Sal (2005-02-17). "Bills saying goodbye to Bledsoe". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  14. Bledsoe Rejoins Parcells and Plans to Start for Cowboys at The New York Times
  15. USA Today: Bledsoe expecting long, prosperous stay in Dallas
  16. JT-SW.com. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
  17. "Bledsoe retires, ends 14-year career". ESPN. 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  18. "Bledsoe is 2011 Fans' Choice". The Hall at Patriot Place. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  19. "Top 100 Modern Quarterbacks: 40-21". Football Nation. July 26, 2012.
  20. 1 2 Collins, Louise Mooney; Speace, Geri J. (1995). Newsmakers, The People Behind Today's Headlines. New York: Gale Research Inc. pp. 32–35. ISBN 0-8103-5745-3.
  21. 1 2 No sour grapes from retired Bledsoe Dallas Morning News. October 14, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  22. Peter King (November 29, 2010). "Josh McDaniels tape; Cortland Finnegan-Andre Johnson fight; more Week 12". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  23. Catching up with former No. 1 pick Drew Bledsoe - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
  24. Sports Legend, Wine Lover: Drew Bledsoe
  25. Summit Football Coaches | Summit Storm Bend Oregon
  26. CHFF classic: The last word on Bledsoe ColdHardFootballFacts.com. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
  27. No Hall call for Bledsoe SportsIllustrated.com. Retrieved June 30, 2007.

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