The greatest symbol of the Patriots dynasty that reigned supreme from 2001-2004 may have been the spirit of Tedy Bruschi. The fearsome linebacker, a 13-year NFL veteran, only made one Pro Bowl in his time, but he meant so much more to a winning New England squad.
He was the leader and heart of a dominant defense and embodied well the Patriot ideal of hard work and (mostly) mistake-free football that allowed the team to hoist three Lombardi Trophies in four seasons.
Now he is forever enshrined in Patriots history. Bruschi was inducted into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame on Monday, taking his place alongside some of the organization's greats.
He went into the team's commemorative institution alongside longtime Patriots radio broadcaster Gil Santos.
Michael Felger felt that guys like Bruschi were the main recipe for the Pats' success in the early 2000s.
"[He] certainly was in that mold of a Troy Brown, maybe a Kevin Faulk," Felger said. "It seems like they had so many of those kinds of players here on that team through that time, just where their smarts and instincts were almost better than their pure physical gifts and it's what made them such a great team."
Bruschi always had a strong bond with the New England faithful, a positive relationship that Felger believes started with the linebacker's name.
"He always had a connection with people in New England, starting with his name," Felger said. "If you're named Bruschi, he would've been a good Packer, he would've been a good Bear, he would've been a good Steeler. Just by the very name, he would've gotten some support."
Eight years after a frightening stroke, Bruschi must being feeling pretty good about his place in Patriots history now.