I’m sitting here with my feet in the sand on vacation in Maine. My wife is reading a book and my kids are playing in the sand and a thought popped into my head: What if the Patriots missed out on Tom Brady?
Now, Brady was drafted 199th overall, so every team in the league passed on him multiple times, but I remember Bill Belichick talking about how he was high on their board in the fifth round, and they passed on him twice. Can you imagine what would’ve happened if some other team had taken him before the Patriots had a chance to do so at 199?
The Patriots were first on the clock in the fifth round at 161. They decided to take Jeff Marriott, a defensive tackle from Missouri who never played a snap for them. Then, in the sixth round, with 187, they took Antwan Harris, a cornerback from Virginia. You may remember Harris as the guy who scored the touchdown off the blocked kick in Pittsburgh during the AFC Championship Game in 2001. Troy Brown picked it up and pitched it to Harris just before he got tackled.
Of course, we don’t know how many other teams took random players who never played for them instead of taking Brady. Who knows if anyone even had him on their draft board, but imagine living with the regret of choosing between Jeff Marriott and Tom Brady? It’s not just that they wouldn’t have taken him, it’s that they strongly considered it, and then decided against it.
Anyway, these are the things that rattle around in my head when I’m supposed to be relaxing on vacation. So, this week, when you’re enjoying a few cold ones, make a few toasts. Make one to the greatest country in the world. Make one to the two GOATs, and don’t forget to make one to the other 31 teams, for allowing the Patriots to draft the great Jeff Marriott and still be able to take Tom Brady 38 picks later.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats