Sunday, January 12, 2020

Heads Up Quads #23 - I finally caught the whale!

I've mentioned a few times in my quest for Heads Up Quads completion that the toughest card to get would likely be the Patriots quad.  At one point I even questioned its existence.  After adding a few cards to the set at Christmas though, I decided to put out an all call on the Blowout card forums to see what I could find.  And surprisingly, less than a week later, this white whale is finally mine!

Many thanks to the Blowout user who dug through his collection of Patriots to pass this beauty on to me.  So without further adieu, let's see who wins this epic card:
Tom Brady, among numerous other accolades, is one of just two active players in this set (Which isn't too crazy considering this set is from 2002).  The other active player is Drew Brees, who actually was on two different cards in the set.  Both guys have spent their time since 2002 developing Hall of Fame resumes and winning Super Bowls, so it's no real surprise that they're both still hanging around, even if Brady's star feels a little duller these days than Brees'.

Brady gets tons said about him in the world these days, so I'll spend the rest of my front of card chatter on Drew Bledsoe.  Whereas Brady is the clear cut #1 QB of all time in New England, Bledsoe was becoming that guy before Brady came around.  In just nine seasons in New England, Bledsoe had already set the mark for most passing yards in Patriot history and was within 16 TD of the passing lead (Steve Grogan held the mark of 182 at the time).  I think it's fair to argue now whether Bledsoe or Grogan would sit at 2nd to Brady, but had Brady not come around, it's pretty safe to assume that Bledsoe would've been seen as the best QB in Patriots history.  Alternative histories are pretty neat.

Instead, the Patriots traded him to the Bills for a 2003 1st round pick.  The Bills received three solid seasons of a productive passer, including a Pro Bowl trip for Bledsoe in 2002.  The Patriots used that pick and others to move up a spot in the 2003 draft and select Ty Warren, who was never super good in New England but did hang around for eight seasons with two Super Bowl wins.  Pretty fair trade overall all things considered.

After three years in Buffalo, Bledsoe signed in Dallas (Under old Pats coach Bill Parcells) to be the Cowboys QB of the present and future.  Year one went pretty good, but year two was so rough that Bledsoe was benched for Tony Romo and Romo never looked back.  Bledsoe retired at the end of the year, putting an end to his 14 year NFL career.

The back of the card:
Troy Brown spent 15 years in New England, and is understandably remembered as a Patriots favorite.  While his career stats aren't the kind that really get you into Canton (One 1,000 yard season with his only Pro Bowl coming during that same season), he won three Super Bowls during his time in New England and finished his career first in team receptions (He's now 3rd behind Wes Welker and Julian Edelman).  He also returned kicks and punts, played a bunch of defense in 2004 (With three regular season interceptions), and even acted as the team's emergency QB from time to time.  Finishing 181st in career receiving yards may not seem like much (Especially since I recently diminished the efforts of Ike Hilliard, who finished 179th in yards), but Brown will always be one of the most fondly remembered Patriots by true fans.

And then we have Patrick Pass.  Wikipedia tells me that Pass actually spent his college summers in the Marlins' minor league ranks before deciding to stick with football full time.  A 7th round draft pick in 2000, I remember Pass as a guy who was constantly shifting between roles, be it RB, FB, or returner.  As with most guys of that era, he won three Super Bowls with the Pats over his seven years in town.  He spent one additional game with the Giants in 2007 before retiring with the Patriots a year later.

So who wins the card?  It's Brady obviously, but Troy Brown deserves an honorable mention for being the man.  This card is awesome and I'm so glad I finally have it!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on catching this whale! I really like that they put Bledsoe and Brady together on this card.