10 years ago Drew Bledsoe was trying to scramble for a first down and decided to lower his shoulder to get the first down instead of sliding or running out of bounds. Unfortunately for him, Jets linebacker Mo Lewis had him lined up for a hit and absolutely destroyed him. The hit sheared a vein in his chest, causing his lung to fill with blood and then collapse. Little known backup Tom Brady entered the game and had no effect on the game, going 5 for 10 with 46 yards. When news got out that Franchise QB Bledsoe was probably done for the year, and looking at Brady’s poor play, Jets fans celebrated.
Unfortunately hindsight is 20/20, Brady ended up being the perfect QB for what Belichick was trying to do. Instead of having to corral a gunslinger QB like Bledsoe, Belichick instead was able to mold Brady into a possession QB who wouldn’t cost them the game. The Defense and the running game would win games, with Brady doing the minimal amount of damage to the team to allow them to win.
There are those that claim that Brady was the QB of the future or that Belichick would have replaced Bledsoe, but I don’t see either happening. Bledsoe had just signed a record setting 10 year 103 million dollar contract. Even after Brady won the Super Bowl there was still a debate in Foxboro over who to trade, Brady or Bledsoe. I also don’t see the Krafts giving Belichick power to dump Bledsoe. Up to that point in his head coaching career Belichick was anything but a genius, in 6 seasons for the Browns and Pats he only had 1 winning season.
Was Belichick going to be successful with Bledsoe at QB? Most likely not. He had already lead the team with Bledsoe at QB to a 5-11 season, and was off to a 0-2 start. Mo Lewis knocking out Bledsoe was the greatest gift he was ever handed. Otherwise he was going to have to find a way to win with Bledsoe at QB, and over 18 games he really hadn’t figured out how to.
New England should hang Mo Lewis’ Jersey somewhere, or retire his number. Without his absolute crushing hit on Bledsoe, the Pats probably struggle through the last decade. They probably don’t get anywhere near the Super Bowl while Tom Brady disappears into the UFL, XFL or AFL and Belichick goes crawling back to Parcells again in Dallas or Miami. Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel continue to be non-entities in the football world (much like they are today) instead of destroying Notre Dame and Cleveland. Randy Moss gets traded to the Packers and Favre wins his last Super Bowl with Moss on the Pack and retires on the first try. The Red Sox never win the World Series, well because if I’m coming up with an alternate history the Sox never win the series. Let’s not forget that Mangin and McDaniels never get a chance to setup their pretend Belichick regimes in NYC and Denver.
It’s a wonderful world to wake up in, and it all would probably be true if not for Mo Lewis destroying Bledsoe with what should be one of the most infamous hits in Jets/Pats history. So if your a fan of the Patriots you should thank a Jets fan this week. Without the Jets you probably are fighting the Bills for the AFC basement this last decade.