Insiders

New England Patriots’ Mount Rushmore

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When it comes to storied franchises, it doesn’t get much better than the New England Patriots. No franchise has been to more Super Bowls and in the 2000’s alone, New England won four titles.

In order to reach this level of success, you need high-level talent and the Patriots haven’t fell short in that department.

Tom Brady – Not only is Tom Brady the best player in Patriots history, he’s widely regarded as the best quarterback to ever play.

The story behind Brady’s success has been well documented throughout the years.

Brady was a scrawny prospect from the University of Michigan, as he was selected with the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Expectations were slim to none, but it all changed when Drew Bledsoe went down.

The rest is history.

Mr. Brady is a 4-time Super Bowl champion, 3-time Super Bowl MVP, 3-time league MVP and he’s reached the Pro Bowl 11 times.

Amongst all of his accolades, Brady has also led the league in touchdown passes four times (2002, 2007, 2010 and 2015), while leading the league in passing yards twice (2005 and 2007).

Scary thing is, Brady hasn’t shown signs of slowing down anytime soon and his contract isn’t up until 2020.

Troy Brown – When you think of the Patriots, Tom Brady comes to mind first, but his former running mate Troy Brown shouldn’t come too far behind.

Sure, Brown wasn’t the most talented receiver to walk through those doors in Foxborough, but he’s the most memorable for numerous reasons.

First and foremost, Brown played his entire 15-year career in New England.

Similar to Tom Brady, expectations were non-existent for Brown out of college, as he was the 198th overall pick in the eighth round of the 1993 draft.

What a bargain!

Brown ended up being a Pro Bowler in 2001, first-team All Pro and a 3-time Super Bowl champion.

When looking at his numbers, they don’t scream out at you, but he didn’t become the team’s primary target until 2000. The following season he totaled 101 receptions for 1,199 yards and five touchdowns.

However, what truly made Brown special was his versatility.

During his career, Brown saw time at not only receiver, but return man, cornerback and even emergency quarterback.

John Hannah – Just like Brown, John Hannah spent his entire career in a Patriots uniform.

With that being said, Hannah entered the league with high expectations. The legendary guard was selected with the fourth overall pick of the 1973 NFL Draft.

Majority of the time, players fail to live up to expectations, but in the case of Hannah, one could argue he surpassed expectations.

There’s been plenty of great guards throughout the history of the league, however, Hannah may be the best of them all.

He was named to nine Pro Bowls, while being a 10-time All-Pro.

Although Hannah never was able to be called a Super Bowl champ, one accomplishment he can take to the bank is being named to not only the 1970s all-decade team, but the 1980s all-decade team as well.

That right there just shows the impact he had on the game.

Andre Tippett – Enough of the offensive love affair.

It’s time to acknowledge the franchises most impactful defensive player ever, in Andre Tippett.

Just like everyone on this list, Tippett spent his entire career with the Patriots. The fierce linebacker was invited to the Pro Bowl five times, while being named to the 1980s all-decade team.

Also, Tippett is the franchise leader in sacks and fumble recoveries on the defensive side of the ball.


About Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels

Mark Gunnels is an NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has several years of experience covering the NFL and NCAA football. He's the radio color commentator for Lincoln University football. Mark's work has been featured on Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and Yard Barker.