15 Years - The Hit Heard 'Round The World


On this day in history, September 23rd 2001 the future of the NFL was forever altered when Mo Lewis took out Drew Bledsoe, the then-starting quarterback for the New England Patriots. Mo Lewis had no way of knowing that his actions would set the wheels in motion that would ultimately launch an NFL dynasty that, while by no means undefeatable, is certainly a force to be reckoned with.

You may not like Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, or the Patriots as a whole but you’ve got to respect them, since Brady got his big chance the Pats have racked up an impressive record:

  • 182 Regular Season Wins
  • 22 Postseason Wins
  • 3:1 Win-Loss Ratio
  • 4 Super Bowl Championships
  • 6 Conference Championships
  • 13 Division Championships

As for Brady, he’s done pretty well for himself:

  • 58,028 Passing Yards
  • 428 Passing Touchdowns
  • 3 Time Super Bowl MVP
  • 2 Time NFL MVP
  • 11 Time Pro Bowl Invitee
  • 2 Time NFL Offensive Player of the Year
  • 3 Time AFC Offensive Player of the Year
  • 4 Time NFL Passing TD Leader
  • 2 Time NFL Passing Yards Leader

Without Bledsoe’s having been disabled by Lewis, it’s hard to say whether Tom Brady, a 6th round 199th draft pick (Bledsoe was drafted first overall) brought in as a fourth-string quarterback, would ever have gotten the chance to show the world what he could do – Bledsoe had just signed a ten year, 103 million dollar contract with New England when he was injured and the prospect for Brady, at least with the Patriots, appeared dim.

Of course, with every triumph there often comes a tragedy and this story is no different. Drew Bledsoe would never again start a game for the New England Patriots. He played for another five seasons following the 2001 Patriots season, three for the Buffalo Bills and two for the Dallas Cowboys before retiring from the NFL in April 2007. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and in this case that silver lining is the respect, admiration, and yes even love of the fans he played for during the bulk of his career. On each of Bledsoe’s three visits to New England representing the opposing team he was cheered and in 2011 Patriots fans voted Bledsoe into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.

Isn’t it amazing how a single hit can have such a major impact? We watch players get hit every week, injuries come and go, and it’s hard not to wonder who else has been left sitting on the sidelines because they were brought in as backup for a star player and never got their day in the sun. How many Tom Bradys have left the NFL after a few seasons, flat ass broke and dejected, their dreams of making it big in the NFL crushed, to return to their normal lives as a mechanic, a firefighter, a securities trader? One thing is for sure, the repercussions and reverberations from this hit are still being felt today.