By Tom E. Curran
In the end, the hard-luck finish to Drew Bledsoe's New England tenure didn't overshadow his years of meritorious Patriots service. On Monday, it was announced that Bledsoe had beaten out former head coach Bill Parcells and AFL great Houston Antwine in a fan vote for induction to the Patriots Hall. Bledsoe is the 17th player and 18th member to enter the Patriots Hall of Fame. According to Patriots.com, Bledsoe earned the highest percentage of votes for any candidate and becomes the first player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. That the internet was invented while Bledsoe was still playing for the Patriots no doubt helped with that.
"Drew Bledsoe played such an integral role in our efforts to rebuild the Patriots brand," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "He gave fans hope for the future and provided many memorable moments during his record-breaking career. I will never forget Drew's record-setting performance in that come-from-behind victory against Minnesota the year I bought the team. It sparked a seven-game win streak and put the Patriots back in the playoffs for the first time in a decade. For a franchise that had only hosted one playoff game in its first 35 years, winning the AFC Championship Game at home in Foxboro and taking the Patriots to the playoffs for three consecutive years were unimaginable goals prior to his arrival."
Bledsoe will join Jon Morris, who was selected to the hall of fame by the senior selection committee, as the 2011 honorees. Bledsoe and Morris will be inducted in a public ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon on Saturday, Sept. 17. The event is free to the public and Patriots fans are encouraged to attend.
The induction will by held the day before the Patriots 2011 home opener against the Chargers unless the ongoing disgrace that is the NFL lockout continues.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran.