NFL

Are Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe Friends?

Tom Brady is currently regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, if not the single greatest. He has six Super Bowl trophies with the New England Patriots to show for it. But Brady wasn’t always the legend he is now. There was a time when he was a backup quarterback to former Patriots’ starter Drew Bledsoe. 

Tom Brady replaced Drew Bledsoe long ago, but it begs the question: after everything that happened between the two, are Bledsoe and Brady friends? 

Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe meet at midfield after a game.
Quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady meet briefly at midfield | Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Drew Bledsoe career overview

Before Drew Bledsoe came along, the Patriots were woeful, ending up with the top pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. The Patriots selected Bledsoe with that pick. He went 5-7 in his rookie season. In his second season, he led the Patriots to a 10-6 record while leading the league in both touchdowns (27) and completions (400).  

Here’s a brief overview of what he accomplished during his career in the NFL: 

  • 194 games played
  • Win-loss record of 98-95
  • Completed 57.2% of his passes
  • 44,611 passing yards
  • 6.6 yards per attempt
  • 251 touchdowns 
  • 206 interceptions
  • Four-time Pro Bowl selection

During the 2001 season, Bledsoe had his ribs broken by New York Jets’ linebacker Mo Lewis in only his second start. He was replaced by Brady and would never reassume starting duties — though he did enter the AFC championship game against Pittsburgh when Brady went down with an ankle injury. Bledsoe helped the Patriots get to the Super Bowl they eventually won.  

After leaving New England, Bledsoe played several seasons for the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys before retiring in 2006. 

Tom Brady career overview

Now he’s the old man in the Patriots’ locker room, but he was once the young understudy to Bledsoe. The Patriots famously drafted Brady with the 199th overall pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. Here’s what he’s been able to achieve during his NFL career: 

  • 279 games played
  • Win-loss record of 216-61
  • Completed 64% of his passes
  • 73,266 passing yards
  • 7.5 yards per attempt
  • 531 touchdowns 
  • 176 interceptions
  • 14-time Pro Bowl selection

Brady replaced Bledsoe when he was injured in 2001. That was the start of an epic run achieved by no other quarterback in league history. 

Are Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe friends? 

Brady and Bledsoe are both competitive, so it seems like they’d have an almost natural rivalry due to the nature of their relationship. Years later, Bledsoe stated that at the time he put Brady in touch with his financial advisor, thinking Brady would be a backup in the league for 15 years. This shows that Bledsoe had respect for Brady, even if he was way off on his career prospects. But how is their relationship now? 

Despite the way their professional paths crossed, Bledsoe and Brady remain friends to this day. Bledsoe recounted one story about the two going skiing, in which Tom Terrific didn’t live up to his moniker

“We were up there, our family was in Montana skiing and Tommy was up there with his family. I made a couple of turns with him. But this was like two or three years ago, and he was really awful then…But I think he’s getting a lot better. He’s obviously a great athlete and he’s going to figure it out.

But at the time, he wasn’t very good and I didn’t have the patience to go teach him. I wanted to go ski. He’s got some great people around him that are helping him get better.”

It’s clear Bledsoe has no hard feelings towards Brady, though he is representative of a difficult time in the quarterback’s professional career.