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The All-Patriots Team of the Tom Brady Era

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets wide receiver Matthew Slater (18) on the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

No NFL player in history had a better run with any franchise than Tom Brady enjoyed as a member of the New England Patriots. In 20 seasons the Patriots set a new bar for what it meant to be an NFL dynasty. During Brady’s 18 seasons as the team’s starting quarterback, New England won 17 AFC East titles, nine AFC Championships, and six Super Bowls. It was a run of excellence that may never be matched.

Tom Brady had plenty of help to achieve so much success. Bill Belichick was his head coach for his entire tenure in New England. Talented assistants and front office executives contributed to the team’s winning ways. But there were also excellent teammates, many of whom often took a backseat to their legendary head coach and quarterback combo.

An acknowledgment of the many great contributors to New England’s success was posted on Patriots Football Now after Belichick and the Patriots “parted ways” following the 2023 season. New England Patriots All-Time Staff and Roster of the Bill Belichick Era was published on PFN.

Also Read – Top 12 Moments of Tom Brady’s Patriots Hall of Fame Ceremony

As part of the “Twelve Days of Tom Brady” a presentation of the All-Patriots team of the Tom Brady Era in New England.  Unlike the “Belichick Era” this will not include staff or an entire 53-man roster. It is the “All 22” team, with four additional special teams players. The terrific 26 members of the squad:

Quarterback – Tom Brady

It’s the All-Patriots Team of the Tom Brady Era. Who else would be the quarterback?

Running Back – Kevin Faulk

Corey Dillon enjoyed the greatest single season for a running back in franchise history in 2004. Antwain Smith was the featured back on two Super Bowl champions. James White was an incredible receiving back who arguably should have been named Super Bowl 51 MVP. Faulk earns the spot with 6,983 yards from scrimmage for New England during the Brady years. It is over 3,000 more than any other back.

Wide Receivers – Julian Edelman, Randy Moss, Wes Welker

Some say Tom Brady did not have a lot of offensive weapons to work with on the Patriots. However, these three combined to make six Pro Bowls, earn three first-team All-Pro honors, win three Super Bowls, and take home a Super Bowl MVP Award. Neither Moss nor Welker won a Super Bowl ring in New England. But they did help the Patriots to a 16-0 record and AFC Championship in 2007. Moss broke the NFL record for touchdown receptions in the process.

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski

Some tight ends are dominant blockers. Others at the position are dangerous receiving threats. Gronkowski managed to be both during his record-breaking tenure in New England. This was a no-brainer selection, with all due respect to the others who manned the position in Foxboro during the Brady Era.

Offensive Line – Matt Light (LT), Logan Mankins (LG), Dan Koppen (C), Shaq Mason (RG), Sebastian Vollmer (RT)

Matt Light is already in the Patriots Hall of Fame. He was the starter for three Super Bowl champs. Bill Belichick called Logan Mankins the greatest offensive guard he ever coached. Dan Koppen edges out David Andrews, as the past four years of Andrews’ career took place after Brady’s departure. Shaq Mason and Sebastian Vollmer hold down the right side of the line, winning a combined three Super Bowls protecting Brady.

Defensive Linemen – Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork

The two greatest defensive linemen in Patriots history make a solid start to the defensive front seven. Seymour is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Vince Wilfork should join Seymour in Canton before long. Seymour was in New England for Brady’s first three Super Bowl wins. Wilfork was the only player other than Brady on the 2004 and 2014 Super Bowl championship teams.

Edge Defenders – Willie McGinest, Rob Ninkovich, Mike Vrabel

Richard Seymour can play defensive end if New England opts for a 3-4 alignment. This group provides production and versatility. McGinest and Vrabel are members of the Patriots Hall of Fame. Ninkovich is likely to join them in The Hall. Whether it was stuffing the run, setting the edge, rushing the passer, or just coming up with a huge timely play, this trio got the job done for the Patriots. Only Tom Brady’s sixth Super Bowl in New England featured nobody from this group.

Linebackers – Tedy Bruschi, Dont’a Hightower

Bruschi manned the middle in New England for Tom Brady’s first three Super Bowl titles. Hightower helped him win his next three. The men who both wore No. 54 played similar roles in terms of leadership, production and overall impact on the Patriots’ defenses. They combined for a relatively modest three Pro Bowl selections but if anyone followed the New England Patriots over the past two decades, they know what these linebackers meant to the team’s success.

Cornerbacks – Stephon Gilmore, Ty Law

These two corners easily could have taken away two of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl MVP Awards. Gilmore had a huge interception as part of an incredible defensive effort to defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53. Law recorded a pick-six off Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl 36 to help kickstart the dynasty. The Patriots have had many productive players at cornerback over their six titles, including Asante Samuel, Darrelle Revis, and Malcolm Butler, but this pairing is the cream of the crop.

Safeties – Rodney Harrison, Devin McCourty

Like the cornerbacks, a pair of players who never played together in New England, but both won multiple rings as teammates of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Harrison replaced Lawyer Milloy (excellent in his own right) following the 2002 season. He helped bring New England back-to-back titles his first two years on the Patriots (2003, 2004). McCourty transitioned from a Pro Bowl cornerback as a rookie to an outstanding safety and team captain during the most recent three titles for the Patriots.

Special Teams – Ryan Allen (P), Lonie Paxton (LS), Matthew Slater (ST), Adam Vinatieri (PK)

Fortunately, punters were not needed to play a major part for the Patriots during Brady’s 20 years in New England., Allen, however, was particularly impressive when it mattered most, helping win a battle of field position en route to a Super Bowl 53 win. Lonie Paxton, like his successor Joe Cardona, was steady. His most memorable moment was making snow angels to celebrate big wins. No news is good news for a long snapper. Matthew Slater is arguably the greatest special teams player in NFL history but had some competition to make this team, courtesy of Larry Izzo. Although Stephen Gostkowski played the most games for the Patriots during the Tom Brady Era (aside from Brady) the placekicker role is filled by Adam Vinatieri for his plethora of clutch kicks.

The New England Patriots career of Tom Brady spanned twenty years, nine Super Bowl appearances, and six Lombardi Trophies. Numerous people contributed to the team’s success over that time, but only 25 former teammates could join him on the All-Patriots Team of the Tom Brady Era.

Award-winning blogger, Dan's work has also been featured on Fox Sports, Boston Metro, Barstool Sports, MLB.com, and many other outlets.

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