Face Off 1/30


Controversy? There is no controversy. Not if you face facts anyway. The battle between Brady and Bledsoe is no battle at all, not now, not ever.

Brady’s consistency might very well be the reason the Pats made the playoffs, but their Super Bowl berth was begat by Bledsoe. In the AFC Championship against the Steelers Sunday, Bledsoe replaced Brady and carried a 7-3 second quarter lead all the way to a 24-17 win – in Pittsburgh.

Could Brady have held on to win in Pittsburgh? Not likely. Not after the 14-0 run the Steelers put together in the third quarter. There, Brady buckles. It was Bledsoe’s big game experience that shined through and his patient persistence that produced the 45-yard drive leading to the game-sealing 44-yard field goal.

Again, the facts are foremost in a situation like this.

The Patriots will have to score many points if they expect to match the powerful Rams offense. And in a battle of offenses, the Pats will need a QB with the ability to throw a 400-yard game, get the ball down the field to David Patten and Troy Brown and put up points. They will need a QB with Super Bowl experience to mirror that of Kurt Warner. They will need a QB with a fiery desire for Super Bowl redemption and the strength to achieve a victory. And even with Bledsoe’s future with the Patriots in question, they will need him if they want a shot at a Super Bowl ring this year.

  • Mike Kerrigan


0-2. That was New England’s regular season record with Drew Bledsoe at the helm. Since Bledsoe’s injury against the Jets in Week 2, the Patriots have gone an astounding 11-3 with first-time starter Tom Brady at quarterback, won the AFC East and currently hold an eight-game winning streak that started after their Nov. 18 loss to St. Louis.

Why wouldn’t you want to put Brady under center in the biggest game of the year? He deserves to start. He’s going to the Pro Bowl; he threw for more than 2,800 yards this season with 18 touchdowns. There’s no question that Tom Brady has earned the right to start in place of Bledsoe, provided he’s healthy.

Why make a change now when things have been going so smoothly? Controversy and change are precisely the things that will hamper whatever chances the Patriots have of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Tom Brady has been the man who has engineered the Pats resurgence, not Drew Bledsoe. Under Bledsoe, the Patriots have gone from Super Bowl loser in ’96 to 9-7 and a first-round playoff loss in ’98 to 8-8 in ’99, and finally hit bottom a year ago with a 5-11 campaign.

This team was sliding into NFL mediocrity, and it needed a boost. Tom Brady gave it the shot in the arm that it needed. The Patriots best chance to win the Super Bowl rests on the arm of Tom Brady.

  • Anthony Gagliano