While Buffalo and Dallas fans might think the idea preposterous, Brad Sham argues that Drew Bledsoe is on the Hall of Fame bubble and could be a shoe-in if he takes the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl this year.
I am not going to try to run Bledsoe by you as a Hall of Famer. Not yet. But permit the case to be made that the Cowboys’ quarterback has numbers you may not realize. He may be an intangible away from being the third Dallas quarterback in the Hall of Fame.
Right now, this minute, before he throws a pass in anger in 2006, you can count on the fingers of one hand the number of quarterbacks who have completed more passes in NFL history than Bledsoe and have a thumb left over. The only one of the four not in the Hall of Fame is still playing (Brett Favre) and he’ll be a first-ballot guy.
Not impressed by completions? Understandable. How about yards? We begin this season with six quarterbacks ahead of Bledsoe on the career passing yardage list: Four HOFers (Dan Marino, John Elway, Warren Moon and Fran Tarkenton) plus Favre and septuagenarian Vinny Testaverde, whom Bledsoe will surpass this season when he reaches yard 1,806. In other words, before Halloween.
Just numbers, I hear you say. A quarterback’s job is to put his team in the end zone. Fair enough. Where is Bledsoe on the career touchdown list? Currently tied for 13th with Peyton Manning and John Hadl.
He may be viewed by some as the immobile statue who struggled in Buffalo and was tossed to the curb by the Bills as being done and has yet to win anything in Dallas. That, of course, would completely overlook the two occasions he got New England to the Super Bowl. It would overlook his professional demeanor and leadership. And frankly, it would overlook his numbers.
Now let’s say, for the sake of the argument, Bledsoe has a real good year. Let’s say he throws 26 touchdown passes. This would be his third most ever in a season and the fourth best in Cowboys history. So it would be very good but not record-setting. That would put Bledsoe eighth all time in touchdowns throws. The seven men ahead of him would be named Marino, Favre, Tarkenton, Elway, Moon, Unitas and Montana. You see where we’re going. You can find each of their busts talking to John Madden’s in Canton.
Those are the numbers, or would be. You can’t argue with them. They are what they are. If Bledsoe should add a win in Miami in early February, you might have to make a stronger case for keeping him out than putting him in.
For the record, I think Sham’s right. People seem to forget how awesome Bledsoe was his first eight seasons with the Pats. And, while their first Super Bowl win is rightly credited to Tom Brady, who took over for an injured Bledsoe that year and kept the job, people forget that Bledsoe stepped in for an injured Brady and won them the AFC Championship game.
Certainly, a Drew Bledsoe with a second Super Bowl championship ring would be a strong contender for Canton. If he led the ‘Boys to two Super Bowl wins (hey, a fan can dream, right?) then he’d be a first ballot guy.
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