New England Patriots: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
27 of 30

Embed from Getty Images

47. . EDGE. (1982-93). Andre Tippett. 4. player

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 2008)
  • NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
  • NFL Defensive Player of the Year (1985)
  • 5x Pro Bowl (1984-88)
  • 2x First-Team All-Pro (1985, 1987)
  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (1986, 1988)
  • New England Patriots Hall of Fame

It’s all hall of fame players pretty much from here on out. Outside linebacker Andre Tippett is without question one of the greatest players in Patriots history, and for good reason. The guy was utterly sensational coming off the edge for New England in the 1980s.

Tippett first came to the Patriots as a second-round pick out of Iowa in the 1982 NFL Draft. He would play all 11 of his professional seasons with the club that drafted him. During that time, Tippett was one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL. Even more impressive, his career overlapped that of the great Lawrence Taylor with the New York Giants.

After playing sparingly as a rookie in 1982, Tippett had 8.5 quarterback sacks in 15 games as a second-year player in 1983. That sensational sophomore campaign would catapult Tippett into his prime over the following five seasons. In year three, Tippett made his first of five straight Pro Bowls with a ridiculous 18.5 quarterback sacks.

Though that would be a career high, Tippett didn’t garner an All-Pro selection that year somehow. Well, all that would change in 1985 when Tippett won NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He had 16.5 quarterback sacks and a career-high four fumble recoveries. Tippet was First-Team All-Pro, as the Patriots made it to their first-ever Super Bowl.

Though New England ran into a buzzsaw that was the 1985 Chicago Bears, Tippett was there to stay as the best player on the Patriots defense for the rest of the decade. He made an All-Pro team each of the next three seasons through the 1988 campaign.

While his productivity wore off, Tippett did give the Patriots four more solid years before retiring after the 1993 NFL season at the age of 34. At the time of his retirement, Tippett amassed precisely 100.0 quarterback sacks. That remains a franchise record, as well as his recovering a franchise-best 18 fumbles.

In the years after his retirement, Tippett earned enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1999. Tippett earned his rightful spot on the NFL 1980s All-Decade Team for being the great pass-rushing force that he was.

Finally in 2008, Tippett got the call he had always hoped for. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after waiting for over a decade. While the Patriots weren’t great during his time with the organization, Tippett was easily the best defensive player on all three of the New England teams that made the playoffs in his playing career.