Kevin Garnett is having his number retired by the Boston Celtics next season. Some people have questioned the decision based on how long he was with the team, but there’s a few simple reasons why he’s going up to the rafters, no matter how long he was here: he helped bring a championship to Boston, and changed the way the team played basketball during his time in town.
I thought the Celtics’ recent announcement was the perfect opportunity to take a look at the New England Patriots and see which players might deserve a trip to the franchise’s Hall of Fame even though they weren’t here for very long.
First, for some reference, was the man inducted this past year, Rodney Harrison. The former defensive back played for the Patriots for the same amount of time Garnett played for the Celtics, six seasons. Again, he changed the way the team played defense and was a big part of not one, but two championships, as well as the 16-0 regular season in 2007. This was enough to get him in the Hall, and it was well deserved.
Let’s start by taking a look at another guy who spent six seasons in New England, Wes Welker. He was obviously a huge part of the 16-0 team, and had the infamous drop in Super Bowl 46. He also put together one of the most prolific group of seasons in NFL history: Welker finished his six campaigns in New England with 672 catches for 7,459 yards. He also tore his ACL in Week 17 in 2009, and was back for Week 1 in 2010.
One of the toughest players to ever play the game, and Tom Brady’s favorite target the entire time he was here. He’s often forgotten about because he didn’t win a championship here, left to go to the Denver Broncos, and because of the performances of Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola since he left. But, no one has ever had a stretch like Welker, and, in my opinion, he therefore deserves a spot in the Patriots Hall.
Speaking of Danny Amendola: he only played in New England for five years, but he made some of the most important catches in franchise history. Touchdowns in two Super Bowl comebacks against the Seahawks and Falcons, including the game-tying two-point conversion against Atlanta. Two touchdowns in the comeback against the Jaguars in the 2017 AFC Championship. Two touchdowns in the comeback win over the Ravens in 2014, including the catch from Edelman, and countless others.
Amendola’s stats may not be off the charts (he never topped 660 yards or four touchdowns), but he was one of the most reliable receivers Brady has ever played with. He was a guy who would be very quiet during the season, and then make a bunch of huge catches in the biggest games. His time as a Patriot isn’t officially over yet, as there are rumors he might be coming back (assuming Tom Brady returns), but he’s already done enough to have a strong case for The Hall.
The last guy deserving a spot in the Patriots Hall of Fame is Randy Moss. Moss was only here for 3.25 years, but his impact cannot possibly be overstated. He finished all three of his full seasons with the Patriots with over 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Obviously, he had 23 in 2007, but he also had 11 with Matt Cassel in 2008, and 13 when Brady returned from his season-ending ACL injury in 2009. He finished his Patriots career with 50 receiving touchdowns, good for a third-place tie in team history.
Yes, he was only here for a short time, and saying that things didn’t end great would be putting it nicely, but he was a fan favorite while he was here and is the single most dominant wide receiver with whom Brady has ever played. With all that being said, I think he deserves a spot in The Hall.
There are a ton of very deserving players that will be eligible in the coming years, so it’s going to be a tough vote to crack, but all three of these guys, regardless of how long they were here, had a profound impact on this franchise — an impact that will hopefully someday see them immortalized in the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast
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