“I remember that ’96 season, when we had the privilege of hosting our first Championship game, and these four people were in the game,” owner Robert Kraft said Friday at Gillette. “I remember the thrill I had getting that first Lamar Hunt trophy, and then unfortunately we didn’t win the big game, but five years later, those same four players were on the team and we were able to win [Super Bowl 36].”
Bledsoe is making the cross-country trip from Washington state to be at the game on Sunday.
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Although he was replaced by quarterback Tom Brady, Bledsoe replaced an injured Brady during the 2001 AFC Championship at Pittsburgh and helped New England to a 24-17 victory.
Bledsoe was selected first overall by the Patriots in the 1993 draft and was the face of the franchise for the next eight years. He led the Patriots to the playoffs four times in his first six seasons.
During his nine-year Patriots career, Bledsoe broke the team’s career passing records for attempts (4,518), completions (2,544) and yards (29,657).
Bledsoe was elected into the Patriots Hall of Fame in September.
Tune in to the AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens Sunday, January 22 at 3pm on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV. Pregame coverage begins with a special two-hour Patriots GameDay on WBZ at 11:00am, with Patriots Preview beginning at noon on the Hub!