Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Flash Points: Patriots' defining moment
By Tim Graham
What key event significantly changed the fortunes of the Patriots -- for better or worse? Give us your take and we'll give you our definitive moment on May 26.
Unlike the other AFC East clubs, the New England Patriots' heaviest moments have been recent. Their early years were mostly nondescript, a long span of mediocrity (at best) interrupted occasionally by a triumphant interlude or two.
The team's culture changed in 1993, when Bill Parcells was named head coach and the Patriots drafted quarterback Drew Bledsoe first overall. Bledsoe started as a rookie, and the combination -- plus Robert Kraft's purchase of the team a year later -- awakened a slumbering fan base and raised expectations.
Kraft hired Bill Belichick in 2000. That year, the Patriots drafted quarterback Tom Brady with a sixth-round compensatory pick. Belichick-Brady didn't carry the same immediate punch as Parcells-Bledsoe did. Belichick wasn't as much of a known coaching quantity, having failed with the Cleveland Browns, and nobody had any idea Brady would overtake Bledsoe and blossom into a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
But Belichick and Brady propelled the Patriots to four Super Bowls, winning three in a four-year stretch.
One of the great debates is whether Belichick made Brady or vice versa. That's for you to decide in this poll.
Submit your vote with the SportsNation poll. If you vote Other, please give us your suggestion in the comments area below this article.