Editor’s note: As part of NFL’s Greatest Quarterback, fans will decide the best QB in each team’s history.
Tom Brady: The list of successes for Brady could take days to list, but the most important ones are three Super Bowl rings, five Super Bowl appearances and two league MVPs. Brady has to be considered one of the two greatest quarterbacks of his era, and among the best of all time.
The Patriots’ quarterback transformed himself from a sixth-round, fourth-string quarterback known as a game manager early in his pro career to one of the most accurate, hard-throwing quarterbacks in football history. Brady shared the spotlight at Michigan with Drew Henson and serves as an example to scouts, players and coaches alike that sometimes a player’s pro career can far surpass their supposed upside coming out of college.
Drew Bledsoe: Bledsoe’s success in New England is one reason the Patriots remained in Foxboro, rather than move to St. Louis or Hartford. In the 1993 NFL draft, New England’s decision for the No. 1 overall pick came down to Rick Mirer and Bledsoe. Head coach Bill Parcells, director of college scouting Charlie Armey and director of pro scouting Bobby Grier made the correct choice by bringing Bledsoe to the Patriots.
Bledsoe immediately improved the team and brought them to a Super Bowl in his fourth NFL season. In 2001, Bledsoe’s injury paved the way for Brady to start, but Bledsoe led the team to an important AFC championship victory over the Steelers when Brady went down.
Steve Grogan: Grogan spent his entire 16-year career with the New England Patriots, vacillating between starter and backup most of the time.
Grogan was drafted in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL draft and replaced incumbent starting quarterback Jim Plunkett. Grogan helped the Patriots earn an 11-5 record in their first Super Bowl season, going 5-1 in his six starts. Grogan was not chosen to start Super Bowl XX against the Bears in a controversial decision, but replaced Tony Eason after the younger quarterback didn’t complete a pass in six throws to start the game.
Babe Parilli: Parilli was one of the early stars of the AFL, one of only 20 players to play in all 10 seasons of the league.
Parilli was voted into three Pro Bowls and threw for 3,465 yards and 31 touchdowns in 1964, when those numbers were nearly unheard of. His record of 31 touchdown passes in a season was a Patriots record until Brady broke it in 2007. Parilli had a 44-32-7 record for the then-Boston Patriots.