A five-year-old sits at the kitchen table with his family. He looks at a 12-inch screen to watch football for the first time. The New England Patriots caught his eager eye. He watches the Patriots taking on the Jets from New York as his first sample of the NFL.
He sees the quarterback roll out of the pocket. He was faking the pass to scramble down the sideline. The defender knocks him out of bounds but a bit too hard. The child at home hears the helmets crack together. He turns to his dad to ask what happened. He didn’t have the answer, nor the tv. So, he sat in silence.
What happened next would change the lives of two people from entirely different worlds. Then, finally, the 199th pick in the draft gets his shot; the child falls in love with a team that would guide him on his career path.
Every Patriots fan knows where they were when Mo Lewis knocked the $100 million man, Drew Bledsoe, out of the game. They can recall how they felt when some backup wearing the number 12 jogged on the field to finish the game. No one knew what would come next.
The amount of celebrations, Super Bowl parties, and parades that I have been part of is something that other fan bases dream of being part of one day. Since the incident, the Patriots have dominated the league and into the record books. They have won the most Super Bowls, AFC championships, division titles, and many other awards.
So that leaves fans questioning what would have happened if Bledsoe threw it away? What happens if he completes the pass, regardless of what team? Allow me to go down that rabbit hole.
What Would Have Happened If Bledsoe Did Not Get Hurt?
It is a thought no Patriots fan wants to think about, but do anyway. Many factors go into it that would probably be best for a podcast episode, but I can sum it up nicely.
At the time, the St. Louis Rams ranked at the top of the league with their “Greatest Show on Turf.” Peyton Manning began to flourish into a future Hall of Fame QB. Manning’s Colts would have run the AFC, while the Rams controlled the NFC. Gruden may not have left the Raiders since the snow game never happened.
The list could run a mile long. The point is that Mo Lewis ushered in the New England Dynasty by taking out their captain. But, unfortunately, nobody realized the success it would bring to the declining franchise.
As for that five-year-old, he dressed as Drew Bledsoe for Halloween to honor him but repeatedly asked when I was “coming back.” Of course, they still ask that question, except it’s for his replacement.