How a MLB utility man changed the future of the NFL, Patriots and Tom Brady

How a MLB utility man changed the future of the NFL, Patriots and Tom Brady

F.P. Santangelo was a career .245 hitter who totaled 21 homers in his seven seasons playing mostly outfield and a little infield with four major league teams.

But he changed the fortunes of the NFL, the New England Patriots and a certain 18th-round Montreal Expos’ draft pick from Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., forever. 

Brady’s baseball days as a catcher at Serra are well-documented. MMQB takes another spin through it in a story that recalls Brady visiting both the Kingdome in Seattle and Candlestick Park in San Francisco for baseball workouts while he was being scouted. 

Santangelo, now a broadcaster for the Washington Nationals, was then a 27-year-old outfielder who was assigned to be the 17-year-old Brady’s chaperone for his day at Candlestick before the Expos played a game there. 

In the clubhouse, Santangelo and other Expos were talking to the catching prospect about the other sport he played.

“We were telling him. ‘Why would you make $800 a month in the minor leagues when you can be the quarterback at the University of Michigan?" Santangelo told MMQB. "You’re a good-looking guy, you can probably have a lot of fun off the field, too.’

“We told him: ‘Go play football at Michigan! Are you kidding me?’”

The rest, of course, is football history. Goodbye, 507th overall pick in the MLB draft. Hello, 199th pick in the NFL draft.

The last quote in the MMQB story is from Expos scout John Hughes, who recalled what he told his friends years later as he watched a Super Bowl.

“If I could’ve signed this guy, I would’ve changed the entire history of the NFL,” Hughes said. “The NFL would’ve never been the same. Who would’ve known?”

Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team


Poll ranks Patriots as NFL's most 'badass' team

Five-time Super Bowl champions. Seven-time AFC champs. Fourteen-time AFC East champs. Now, Bill Belichick's Patriots have another title.

NFL's most "badass" team.

The Tampa Bay Times polled a panel of 43 NFL writers and asked them for the top three most "badass" teams and players in the NFL.


The defending Super Bowl champion Patriots came out on top with 29 top-three votes. 

Here's a sampling of the panelists' comments:

"They keep winning in a league designed to discourage dynasties." -Terez A. Paylor, Kansas City Star

"Hands down. They take a three-touchdown lead and keep throwing, and throwing, and don't give a damn what anybody thinks." -Tyler Dunne, Bleacher Report

"For a decade they've been toying with and laughing at the rest of the league. The biggest bullies on the block." — Ralph Vacchiano, SNY

"Behind the glitz and glamour of having the game's greatest quarterback, the Patriots ranked among the league's top 10 scoring defenses each of the past five seasons, including No. 1 in 2016." — Ryan Wood, Green Bay Press-Gazette

The most badass player? Veteran Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The highest-ranked Patriot on the list? Tom Brady at No. 6. Rob Gronkowski was tied with Raiders linebacker Khalil Mack at No. 8. Julian Edelman was among the others receiving votes. 

Here are the full rankings: 


1. Patriots (29 votes)

2. Seahawks (27)

3. Steelers (18)

4. Raiders (9)

5. Ravens (8)

6t. Broncos (6)

6t. Cowboys (6)

8. Bengals (4)

9t. Cardinals (2)

9t. Packers (2)

9t. Panthers (2)

9t. Texans (2)

Also receiving votes: Chiefs, Falcons, Rams, Titans (1 each)


1. James Harrison, Steelers LB (14 votes)

2t. Marshawn Lynch, Raiders RB (10)

2t. J.J. Watt, Texans DE (10)

4t. Kam Chancellor, Seahawks S (8)

4t. Ndamukong Suh, Dolphins DT (8)

6. Tom Brady, Patriots QB (7)

7. Von Miller, Broncos LB (6)

8t. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots TE (5)

8t. Khalil Mack, Raiders LB (5)

10. Aaron Donald, Rams DT (4)