Just like the NFL the world of blogging is a copycat league. All the credit for this idea belongs to Mike Gilligan who yesterday wrote “All-Time Throwback Celtics Jerseys: Obscure Edition”.
I loved it. It was one of my favorite blogs I’ve read on this website because of the attention to detail and the incredible names that were associated with that blog despite the strict rules. So I asked Gilli if I could steal his idea but put a Patriots twist on it. Of course he agreed, told me I was more qualified to do so anyways, of which I’m not sure about that but thanks anyways! Plus we are partners on a podcast so if he had said no it would have made things super awkward between us.
For this exercise I will be using the same rules as Gilli did for his Celtics version.
- Played 1 season or less as a New England Patriot.
- Era: 1970 – Present.
- No one who only played last season but is projected to still be on the team for 2020: Jarrett Stidham, Mohamed Sanu etc.
- Had to make the official 53 man roster out of training camp and play in a regular season game. Sorry to Tim Tebow, Reggie Wayne and Demaryius Thomas.
- Players who wore a different jersey number for less than a season are NOT eligible.
- Player must be notable, in some way shape or form. Yes, a Tiquan Underwood #10 Patriots jersey would be wild as hell to see, but it’s a little too bizarre for this list.
- Some positions will have more selections than others. Like in real football you sometimes have multiple running backs and receivers and such than say quarterbacks or kickers. So when there are multiple guys at a position, I’m not taking the easy way out, I’m sticking to reality. But you will find 11 players on both sides of the ball.
#14 – Vinny Testaverde (2007)
This was surprisingly a little tougher than expected. Vinny was my number one clear choice but there are two other guys who could have taken home this award. A Heisman Trophy winner in 1986 with the Miami Hurricanes, number one overall pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in the league for 20 years. Most Patriots fans probably remember him as the hated signal caller for the New York Jets in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. But he played with the Patriots in 2007, during their undefeated regular season completing two of three passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. The pedigree Testaverde’s name carries makes him a strong start to this list.
Honorable Mentions: Jacoby Brissett (2016), Michael Bishop (2000)
Running Back’s (2)
#35 – Jonas Gray (2014)
This was an easy choice. Jonas Gray wasn’t just a one year wonder, he was a one game wonder. Week 11 of the 2014 season on Sunday Night Football against a surging Colts team, and this no name running back out of Notre Dame tore the Colts, one ply toilet paper thick rush defense to shreds. He ran the ball 37 times to the tune of 201 yards and four touchdowns and I am sure still stands as a fantasy football legend for some people today. But we all know the story, the success went straight to his head, showed up late for practice that very next week and was then buried on the depth chart. In fact in the AFC Championship game against the same Colts defense later that year, Gray saw his final four touches as a New England Patriot. Yet whenever someone in New England mentions Jonas Gray we all remember who he is making him a very worthy submission.
#39 – Steven Jackson (2015)
Back in the 2004 NFL Draft the Patriots needed a running back at pick number 21. Instead they went with a nose tackle out of Miami by the name of Vince Wilfork and the St. Louis Rams took a bruising running back our of Oregon State at 24 by the name of Steven Jackson. The Patriots instead traded for Corey Dillon, and Wilfork enjoyed a fantastic career with the Pats, so everyone won in this scenario. Jackson did eventually find his way to Foxboro late in the 2015 season. He played in only four games with the Pats, between the final two regular season games and the two playoff games that year. Jackson also carried the ball 31 times for a grand total of 45 yards for the Pats. He was done by the time he got to New England and the numbers proved that and the Pats were his final stop in his NFL career. But he was still a three-time pro bowler and rushed for over 1,000 yards eight times in his NFL career.
Honorable Mentions: Marion Butts (1994), Amos Zereoue (2005) (Fred Taylor played two seasons for those wondering)
#44 – Fred McCrary (2003)
Not a ton of choices here. Most notable fullbacks play multiple years for one team and Mike Alstott or Lorenzo Neal did not make pit stops in New England. However semi-well known bruiser Fred McCrary did play in New England during the 2003 season. He spent 11 seasons in the NFL for the Eagles, Saints, Chargers, Falcons and Seahawks and has one championship ring thanks to the Patriots.
Wide Receivers (3)
#85 – Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson (2011)
One of the first names that I am sure popped into many people’s heads when they read this headline and what this blog was about. Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson played one season in New England which ended up being his last team in the NFL after his antics in Miami on Hard Knocks basically kicked him out of the league. As everyone remembers, spirits were high after the Pats added the six-time Pro-Bowler and two time All-Pro but those quickly faded as he soon showed either an inability to learnt the playbook or earn Brady’s trust or he was just finished. He collected just 15 catches and scored one touchdown and made just one catch in the post season which actually came on his only target in the Super Bowl against the Giants. He was a Wes Welker dropped pass away from getting a ring. Maybe Brady should have thrown it to Chad instead…
#14 – Brandin Cooks (2017)
A sort of surprising one year wonder. Many people, myself included, expected Brandin Cooks to be in New England for awhile after Belichick shipped off a first round draft pick for him. And the season Cooks gave the Pats seemed justified for the first round pick. 65 catches, 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns and if he doesn’t get knocked out of Super Bowl 52 who knows how that game truly plays out. But Belichick ever the value seeker traded away Cooks for a first rounder, actually improving upon that pick for a single season of number one receiver production. The Cooks era was exciting, but brief.
#17 – Antonio Brown (2019)
This one might be the most notable and remembered of the bunch and another just one game wonder. And it happened soon enough that we all know what happened, I won’t bore with the story you all already know. But just imagine being in a bar whenever we get to go back to them, watching a Pats game and you see someone walk by you with a Pats, Antonio Brown jersey. You would think “Daaaaaaaaamn that’s cool” and that is why he is on this list.
Honorable Mentions: Brandon Lloyd (2012), Reche Caldwell RIP (2006), Tim Dwight (2005), Joey Galloway (2009), Kenny Britt (2017), Michael Floyd (2016), Austin Collie (2013)
Tight Ends (2)
#82 – Alge Crumpler (2010)
Easily one of the coolest names in football, but still behind Bubba Franks. A four time Pro-Bowler in consecutive seasons from 2003-2006 with the Falcons and was arguably the second best tight end in the league at that time behind only Tony Gonzalez who oddly enough eventually filled the void Crumpler left behind in Atlanta. But Crumpler did not do much in New England stat wise but perhaps his impact is greater than what meets the eye. He was a veteran tight end on a team that had two rookies named Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Who knows how much Crumpler taught those two about the ins and outs of the position. Crumpler had only six receptions for 52 yards and a pair of touchdowns during the regular season. And then out of nowhere in the Pats Divisional round loss at home to the Jets he almost equaled his entire season output with three catches, 39 yards and a score. Unfortunately one of the worst losses of the Brady-Belichick era was Crumpler’s final game of his career.
#82 – Kellen Winslow Jr. (2012)
It was all of nine days in a Patriots uniform but Kellen Winslow Jr. the former 6th overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft played in one game and made one single catch for the Patriots during the 2012 season. The Pats brought him in after Aaron Hernandez went down with a high ankle sprain. Winslow played right away for the Pats but then asked for his release because he “wasn’t getting enough playing time.” LOL, ok Kellen. He is currently facing jail time of about 12-18 years after being found guilty of rape, but his sentencing has been postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. So actually in retrospect maybe don’t go jersey hunting for this one…
Honorable Mentions: Kyle Brady (2007), Dan Gronkowski (2011),
Offensive Line (4)
#54 – Brian Waters (2011)
Ok this one might be slightly cheating but in reality offensive line is a tough one. You don’t see many high profile offensive lineman switching teams for just one year at a time. They aren’t exactly divas like some skill positions. However Brian Waters was a huge addition for the Pats in 2011. Coming from Kansas City where he went to five Pro-Bowls and was named an All-Pro twice he played at a pro bowl level for the Pats in 2011. Which is technically the only season he played with the team. What makes this technically not a one year wonder was that he was still technically a Patriot the following season. He sat out the 2012 year while waiting for a new contract that never came before the Patriots released him that off season and he finished his career in 2013 with his hometown Dallas Cowboys. Again offensive line was hard to find notable, noteworthy names that played in Foxboro for only one year. Either they were terrible and moved on out of our memories or they were good and stuck around for more than one season.
#77 – Trent Brown (2018)
The NFL’s version of The Mountain from Game of Thrones, Brown is a behemoth of a man. Standing 6’8, 380 pounds he was acquired by the Pats from San Francisco for the low cost of a 3rd round pick. He was worth that and more for the Pats in 2018 solidifying the left tackle position for Tom Brady in all 19 games during that championship season. Brown played every snap during the playoffs and was flagged a grand total of five times during the regular season. He secured the bag as the kids say last winter with a four year, $66 million contract from the Raiders and made the Pro-Bowl despite playing in just 11 games.
#69 – Ross Tucker (2005)
Not exactly known for his time playing football or even with the Patriots. He only played one game with the Pats in 2005 but he is now more known as a media personality. He hosts a few different podcasts, works with CBS Sports and sometimes fills in for the Dan Patrick Show, and talks about his time with New England quite a bit for a guy who was there for just one season.
# 74 – Rich Baldinger (1993)
Probably not the Baldinger you are thinking about. I am sure you are thinking of Brian Baldinger, this guys brother, who does the incredible film breakdowns on twitter. Like I said offensive line was a tough one to find notable one year wonders. Rich however did find some post career media success working for CBS until he found himself in some legal trouble in 2009.
.@nyjets @Revis24 v @Patriots #RandyMoss . Great battle; 2 of the very best to ever play. But in 2009 #Revis owned the @nfl receiving Corp. We haven’t seen anything like it since. #RevisIsland #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/xs1UJFWkOg
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) May 14, 2020
Defensive Line (4)
#94 – Shaun Ellis (2011)
Most people remember Shaun Ellis as nightmare fuel of the Patriots wearing green and white, not navy and silver. After 11 seasons with the Jets and 72.5 career sacks with 12 of those coming against the Pats. Ellis was released by the Jets and found his way to rival New England for his final NFL season. He wasn’t the same terror however for the Pats, recording two total sacks in the regular and post season and 17 total tackles.
#92 – Albert Haynesworth (2011)
2011 was certainly a season marked with low risk, high reward gambles for Bill Belichick and no one was more that than Albert Haynesworth. Chad OchoCinco and Shaun Ellis were one thing, but Albert Haynesworth and the baggage he brought was a completely different issue. He was an All-Pro defensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans in 2007 and 2008 but behavior issues forced his way to Washington Redskins in free agency for one of the worst contracts in NFL history, seven years $100 million dollars. Eventually, he was traded by Washington to the Pats for a 5th round pick. He lasted just six games with the Patriots recording only three tackles and no sacks before being cut mid season, only to be picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, finish the remainder of the season and hasn’t been heard from again. But everyone still knows who Albert Haynesworth is.
#72 – Akiem Hicks (2015)
As you can tell, most of the guys on this list were notable names on the downturn of their careers. This is possibly the one guy here who was on the up turn and one of the biggest Belichick mistakes in letting a player leave Foxboro. Akiem Hicks was a promising player for the New Orleans Saints for three seasons, but never had a break out season. Thus he was traded to the Pats in exchange for tight end Michael Hoomanawanui during the 2015 season. He played in 13 games for the Pats that year, registering three sacks and 21 tackles. But despite the solid production from the defensive tackle position, Belichick let Hicks walk in free agency. It has turned out to be a rare mistake by Belichick as Hicks has quietly turned into one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. In four seasons with the Bears now he has played in all 16 regular season games three times and has 24 total sacks. Sure could have used that in New England.
#92 – Ted Washington (2003)
Another giant man on this list that makes you wonder how someone can be THAT large. The definition of a nose tackle, Ted Washington was 6’5 and 365 damn pounds. The dude was the immovable object. He came to the Pats around midway through the 2003 season and helped sure up a defensive line and great defense en route to a championship. Prior to coming to New England he was a four time pro-bowler and an All-Pro with the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears. In ten games with New England he had three sacks and 40 combined tackles. I will never forget, going to Gillette Stadium with my Dad to watch the send off of the team as they left for Houston and the Super Bowl. Ted Washington was easily recognizable and when he stepped on the bus the whole thing shook. He was a giant human being and a great inclusion to this list.
Honorable Mentions: Chris Long (2016), Michael Bennett (2019), Derrick Burgess (2009)
#51 – Bryan Cox (2001)
Let me just say this. As a young kid just learning about the Patriots and football back in 2001, Bryan Cox was freaking awesome. He was the most intimidating player to me, and the neck brace just made him that much cooler. Sure some guys had the neck roll, but not Bryan Cox he had the entire pad. It looked like he was playing with a chair strapped to his back. He didn’t have a huge impact on the field but he was definitely one of the leaders of a young Patriots team that season and was one of the first guys out of the tunnel at the Super Bowl when the Patriots changed team introductions at the biggest game of the year forever, choosing to be introduced as a team. He was a four time pro bowler for the Miami Dolphins during the 90’s and a mainstay on the Jets defense as well. But his one year in New England is not soon forgotten.
#92 – James Harrison (2017)
The third different #92 on this list and a future NFL Hall of Famer, it was truly odd to see James Harrison in a Patriots uniform. A five time Pro-Bowler, a two time All-Pro and Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. Harrison had seen plenty of the Patriots during his time with the Steelers. He only played in one regular season game in 2017, even recording a sack in said season finale. Many Patriots fans wondered what the hell he was doing in Foxboro. Was he simply a decoy? Was he going to get any playing time? Could he actually have been a spy for the Steelers set to destroy the Patriots from within? He actually proved in the post season to be pretty effective. He played in all three playoff games, racking up 8 tackles and three QB hits. The loss in Super Bowl LII though to the Eagles would mark the end of his NFL and Patriots career at age 39.
#51 – Barkevious Mingo (2016)
The former 6th overall pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2013 NFL Draft never lived up to the hype or honestly his awesome name. Barkevious Mingo should be a name synonymous with dominant defensive play but instead it just reminds us of mediocrity. He does have a ring thanks to the Pats rallying back from being down 28-3 to the Falcons. But he didn’t do much in a Pats uniform. He played in only 5% of the teams defensive snaps that year. Bingo was mostly usedas a garbage time outside linebacker, and pitched in on special teams a lot. But still a #51 Mingo jersey walking around Foxboro would catch some eyeballs.
Honorable Mention: Shea McClellin (2016), Andy Katzenmoyer (1999-2000)
Defensive Backs (4)
#24 – Darrelle Revis (2014)
I’m sure this one was one of the first guys many of you thought of for this list. Arguably the best player on this list, and one of Belichick’s most successful “low-risk, high-reward” additions. Darrelle Revis was the sworn enemy of the New York Jets who just always tormented us and was the only guy who could slow down Randy Moss. He played at an All-Pro level his one season in New England and was rewarded with his fourth and final selection to the All-Pro team. He helped anchor a defense that did not allow a touchdown in the second halves of ten straight games or some silly stat like that. Revis was the real deal for the Pats and Belichick got one final great season out of him, and Revis got his ring and then both parties went their separate ways, happy.
Interestingly enough the Pats would not have gotten Revis had Aqib Talib not left for Denver that off season. An interesting “What-If?” scenario for another day.
#39 – Brandon Browner (2014)
What a year 2014 was for the Patriots secondary. Opposite of Revis was Brandon Browner who was also with the team for just a single season. Standing at 6’4 and 221 pounds, Browner, was a huge corner. He provided the physicality to Revis’ athleticism and quickness. He is also most known for in Patriots lore for being the guy who told Malcolm Butler that he was going to jam Jermaine Kearse at the line of scrimmage so that Butler would be free to jump the lane and make the play.
#29 – Shawn Springs (2009)
Shawn Springs was the 3rd overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft to the Seattle Seahawks out of Ohio State. He never really ascended to the expectations of someone drafted that high however, making just one pro bowl in his second season with the Seahawks. Seattle however three picks later made a slam dunk pick with Hall of Famer, Walter Jones, at 6th overall. Tony Gonzalez was the only other Hall of Famer in that first round going 13th to the Chiefs. And New England in that draft took defensive back Chris Canty. Springs however spent seven years in Seattle and five in Washington before ending his career in New England in 2009. He appeared in 12 games and recording one pick.
#21 – Deltha O’Neal (2008)
A two time Pro-Bowler for the Broncos and Bengals, Deltha O’Neal, finished his NFL career with the Pats in 2008. He actually seemed to still have some gas left in the tank, playing in all 16 games for the Matt Cassel, led Patriots, that season recording three interceptions and 32 tackles. A far cry however to when he led the league with 10 picks in 2005 for Cincinnati.
#84 – Cordarrelle Patterson (2018)
Cordarrelle Patterson was a kick return threat that the Patriots hadn’t seen in quite some time. He made a big impact in the one season he donned a Pats jersey. He was also quite useful for the Patriots on the offensive side of things showing his speed on reverses and gadget plays designed for him. I still to this day am not sure why Tom Brady targeted him twice in overtime at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship Game. But whatever, it all worked out.
#33 Leon Washington (2013)
This was seemingly a match made in heaven between the Pats and Washington. But ended as a brief failure due to an ankle injury. If not for Devin Hester, Washington would be better remembered by the football community as one of the best kick returners of his time. And it seemed like he would fit in perfectly with the Patriots, the one time All-Pro and two time Pro Bowler coming to the Special Teams loving Patriots. But the relationship ended just two games into the season after Washington couldn’t shake an ankle injury
Honorable Mention: Jeff Demps (I so badly wanted to make this one work but he never technically played a regular season snap for the Pats, still a #42 Demps, Pats jersey would be awesome)
#5 – Shayne Graham (2010)
This one was actually somewhat hard to find as for the last 25 years the Patriots have been incredibly stable at a position that sees a lot of turnover league wide. Shayne Graham was a pro bowl kicker for the Bengals in 2005. Honestly, he belongs on many lists just like this for many other teams. He played for almost a third of the NFL in his 15 year career. He made stops in Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, New York, Miami, Baltimore, Houston, New Orleans and Atlanta. Actually fun fact about Graham, he came to the Patriots in 2010 after Gostkowski went down with an injured thigh, because he had lost the starting kicker battle in Ravens camp to Billy Cundiff. And he even joined the Ravens for a game during the 2011 season before being let go. How does history change is the Ravens decide to go with Shayne Graham over Billy Cundiff…
Honorable Mention: Kai Forbath (2019), Nick Folk (2019)
#18 – Todd Sauerbrun (2006)
A three time Pro Bowler and a two time All-Pro, Todd Sauerbrun was in a New England uniform for just two games during his illustrious thirteen year career. More impressive is that this dude is a punter but look at how jacked he is! This guy obviously did not skip arm day I mean wow. Also a shout out to the fact that he wears an arm band as a punter. I’m getting Jay Feely vibes from Sauerbrun here and I like it.
Honorable Mention: Jeff Feagles & Tom Tupa, both played more than one season.
So there you have it the top one year one year wonders of Patriots lore and that jersey that if you saw it walking around would think damn that’s cool and I remember that guy. Nothing says I am more than an average fan than an obscure jersey. I think my choice is still a #51 Bryan Cox jersey, that would be so sick.