Drew Bledsoe brought an inspirational story to the 2019 Orange Helmet Awards Dinner. Drafted first overall by the New England Patriots in 1993, he enjoyed a productive 14-year NFL career with the Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys. It didn’t take the Washington State alum long to establish himself as a franchise player the Patriots needed to get them to the next level. Drew led the NFL in passing yards in just his second season, earning his first Pro Bowl selection in the process.
In 1996, he led the Patriots to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI against the Green Bay Packers. He would earn his first Super Bowl ring to cap off his tenure with the Patriots in February of 2002. Taking over for an injured Tom Brady, Drew led New England to an upset victory over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship, setting the stage for Brady’s last-minute drive that took down St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Drew then joined the Buffalo Bills and was selected to his fourth and final Pro Bowl in his first season in upstate New York. Drew’s final NFL stop in Dallas saw him throw for over 3,000 yards for the ninth consecutive season and help groom young Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for a long career.
Drew retired in 2007 with the fifth-most passing attempts and completions in NFL history and was seventh all-time in passing yards. The product of Walla Walla High School left Washington State University as the school’s all-time leader in single-season passing yards and was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Post-football, Drew has been successful in the wine industry as owner of Doubleback Winery in his hometown of Walla Walla.