Drew Bledsoe: Watching Tom Brady win Super Bowl left me ‘disheartened’

Drew Bledsoe is only human, and he has the grace to be honest about it.

At the conclusion of the first episode of “Man In the Arena,” a 10-part ESPN+ docuseries on Tom Brady’s career, the New England Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl 36 in early 2002, and Bledsoe was candid about how he felt at the time that his understudy had gotten the glory.

“I remember being excited for our guys, but at the same time a little internally disheartened,” Bledsoe said. “‘Like man, battled through a lot of stuff to try to get to this point, and now I’ve arrived here and the other guy got to play.’”

The documentary went out of its way to stress how Bledsoe kept these emotions internal, and was the consummate mentor to Brady even after losing the starting job to him — something easily seen in footage of the Super Bowl 36 pregame, when they were hyping each other up.

“What I respect so much about him is he never let any of those emotions negatively impact me in any way,” Brady said.

It was the day after the Super Bowl when everything cascaded for Bledsoe, and he broke down in tears.

Drew Bledsoe was left watching as Tom Brady got the Super Bowl 36 glory.
The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“By about 11 o’clock the next morning, I was sitting in a chairlift skiing in Whitefish, Montana, and I remember I got on the chairlift, all by myself, and I cried,” Bledsoe said. “I just sat there and it was the first time I let it all come crashing down on me.”

As a quick refresher, Bledsoe entered the 2001-02 Patriots season as the unquestioned starter. He suffered a lung injury when he got hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis during Week 2. Tom Brady, an unheralded sixth round pick in his second season, would never relinquish the starting job. The Patriots, who had begun the regular season 0-2, finished 11-5.

Had Bledsoe not gotten hurt that season, it is not a stretch to say that the entirety of the last 20 years of NFL history would have been much different.

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