Patriots greats QB Drew Bledsoe and C Jon Morris were inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame Saturday evening in front of a large crowd outside the Hall at Patriot Place. The ceremony started at 5 p.m. ET, and I arrived a little after 4 p.m. The area near where the stage was set up in front of the Hall was full and the large staircase that leads down from the CBS Scene entrance to the Hall was about half full. I found a spot on the steps and before long, the entire staircase was filled save for an area kept free for traffic.
There were several former Patriots on hand for the ceremonies, including Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Todd Rucci, and Patriots Hall of Famers Steve Nelson, Andre Tippett, Steve Grogan, and Gino Capelletti. The long-time voice of the Patriots, Gil Santos, emceed the event.
Jon Morris, who played center for the Patriots from 1964 to 1974, opened up and gave a very entertaining speech. Morris played way before my time so I admit that my knowledge of him is limited, but he certainly won me over as a fan with his humor and several accomplishments, including being selected as an AFL All-Star his rookie year. He called his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame the, “crowning achievement for me in football.”
The star of the day though was QB Drew Bledsoe. The crowd was awash with #11 jerseys and chants of “Dreeeeeeewwwww!” rang out throughout the event. Bledsoe noted that he was “overwhelmed” that so many turned out for the event. One his best lines of the night was in reference to Tom Brady, the guy that replaced Bledsoe and led the Patriots to three Super Bowl championships.
“I had a horrible backup, that number 12 guy,” said Bledsoe. “He didn’t really understand the backup part.”
The line drew some laughter from the crowd. Todd Rucci, who played guard for the Pats from 1993 to 1999 and is a close friend of Bledsoe, shared a story about a practical joke he and Scott Zolak played on Bledsoe, and how Drew returned the favor. Rucci and Zolak, late at night after returning from an away game, buried Bledsoe’s vehicle at the stadium in snow. Before Bledsoe could get to his vehicle, it had sleeted and froze his vehicle in a snow ball. Bledsoe would have the last laugh though. On Christmas eve, he hired a moving company to move all of Rucci’s stuff out of his condo and into the basement. Everything from the furniture to the dishes were removed, and only his dog was left in the empty condo.
It was a great night and I really have to commend Robert Kraft for making this event free and open to the fans. It’s a phenomenal way to honor Patriots greats and for fans to see their heroes for perhaps one last time and offer their gratitude. Congratulations to both Drew Bledsoe and Jon Morris, the 2011 Patriots Hall of Fame inductees.