Thefirst overall pickin the1993 NFL Draft, Bledsoe helped improve the fortunes of the Patriots, who had fallen on hard times.During his tenure as starting quarterback, the Patriots ended a seven-season postseason drought, qualified for the playoffs four times, and made oneSuper Bowlappearance inSuper Bowl XXXI. He was also named to threePro Bowlsand became the youngest quarterback to play in the NFL's all-star game at the time with his1995appearance.
Following a period of declining success and two consecutive seasons when the Patriots missed the playoffs, Bledsoe suffered a near-fatal injury early in the2001season and was replaced as starter by backupTom Brady. He was unable to regain his starting position for the remainder of the season due to Brady's success, which led to the Patriots winning their first championship inSuper Bowl XXXVIand began adynastyfor the franchise. Bledsoe subsequently retired after stints with theBuffalo Bills, where he made a fourthPro Bowlappearance, and theDallas Cowboys.
While his tenure with the Patriots would ultimately be eclipsed by Brady, Bledsoe is recognized for helping rebuild the franchise and his role during their first Super Bowl-winning season when he led the team to victory inthe 2001 AFC Championshipafter Brady was injured.For his accomplishments in New England, he was inducted to thePatriots Hall of Famein 2011.