Ranking The 25 Greatest New England Patriots Ever
The Patriots are among the greatest franchises in professional sports, winning six Super Bowl championships (XXXVI, XXXVII, XXXVIII, XLII, XLVI, and LI). They have also played in 15 AFC Championship Games, going 11-4 in those games.
Whether you’re a fan of the Patriots or not, there’s no denying that they have some of the best players ever put on pads. This post will count down the 25 greatest Patriots players of all time.
Some big names will be on this list, so make sure you read until the end.
25. Matthew Slater
Matthew Slater has always been one of the most underappreciated players in the NFL. A phenomenal special teams player that has been a part of three Super Bowl championship teams and an unsung hero of the second Patriots dynasty in the 2010s.
Slater is a true team player and always puts the team first while being a great role model for young players. He sets a good example for being a professional athlete. He is genuinely one of the best people in the NFL at what he does and deserves more recognition than he receives.
24. Jon Morris
Center Jon Morris is one of the most successful Boston Patriots players ever. A seven-time pro bowler and one-time All-Pro selection, Morris was a dominant force on the offensive line for the Patriots in the 1960s.
Morris’s combination of strength, agility, and intelligence makes him unique. He read the defense and made quick adjustments, allowing him to dominate opposing linemen. He also had a ferocious attitude on the field, never giving up an inch. His play earned him the respect of his peers and the admiration of Patriots fans.
23. Raymond Clayborn
Clayborn had an illustrious career with the Patriots, playing for them from 1977 to 1989 before finishing off the last two years of his career in Cleveland. And his play at DB was a big reason why the Patriots made it to their first Super Bowl in 1985. He is also a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and was voted onto the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1970s.
22. Steve Grogan
Grogan was known for his toughness and ability to make big plays when the team needed them most. To be honest, I think he was a bit underrated as he played during the lean years with the club.
Grogan’s career with the Patriots ended after 19 seasons, but he will always be remembered as one of the franchise’s greatest quarterbacks that should absolutely be recognized.
21. Troy Brown
Brown played for the team for 15 seasons and was a significant contributor on offense and special teams. He was named to the Pro Bowl three times and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2001.
Brown’s versatility was his biggest asset, as he was a valuable player on both offense and special teams. He also had a knack for making big plays in big games, which helped the Patriots win three Super Bowl championships.
Brown’s contributions to the Patriots cannot be overstated. He was an integral part of their dynasty in the early 2000s and remains one of the most beloved players in team history.
20. Randy Moss
Moss spent only three full seasons with the Patriots, but his impact on the team was undeniable. His 2007 season is arguably the most dominant by any player in football history, regardless of position. He caught 23 touchdowns with almost 1500 receiving yards to boot.
Yes, he wasn’t able to win a Super Bowl with the Patriots, but his impact was immense. Moss’ combination of speed, size, and athleticism made him virtually impossible to cover, and he routinely made spectacular catches that seemed impossible. His time in New England was a brief but memorable one nonetheless.
19. Drew Bledsoe
Drew Bledsoe is one of the most iconic players in New England Patriots history but tends to be overshadowed by his successor in New England. But people forget how good of a player he truly was. He was integral to the Patriots’ early success and helped lay the foundation for future championships. He deserved to be recognized on this list.
18. Matt Light
Matt Light was a stalwart on the offensive line for the Patriots, providing protection for Tom Brady and opening up running lanes for the team’s running backs. His play was a key factor in the Patriots’ championship run in 2001, and he continued to be a top performer for the team until his retirement in 2012.
Light was also a respected leader, served as a captain for the Patriots for several years, and was known for his hard work and dedication. He was a popular player with fans and teammates and will be remembered as one of the all-time greats in New England Patriots history.
17. Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman was the Patriot’s successor to Wes Welker in the slot, and he didn’t miss a beat. He has caught countless big passes in big games over the years and is a three-time Super Bowl champion. He was also named the MVP of Super Bowl LIII after catching ten passes for 141 yards in a 13-3 victory.
Edelman was a crucial part of their success and is one of the most popular players on the team. He will go down as one of the best players in franchise history for his postseason performances.
Big players make big plays. And Edelman did just that.
16. Stanley Morgan
Stanley Morgan ranks second in team history in receptions (677), receiving yards (10,352), and touchdown catches (68). Even more impressive is that he accomplished all this despite playing during some lean years for the Pats. The team had just two winning seasons during Morgan’s first nine years in the league.
But that didn’t stop Morgan from becoming one of the most productive receivers in NFL history. He was selected to four Pro Bowls and was named First-Team All-Pro twice.
Morgan was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame for his achievements in 2007.
15. Logan Mankins
Logan Mankins was drafted by the Patriots in 2005 and was a mainstay on the offensive line. He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and was a first-team All-Pro.
Mankins was known as a hard worker who put the team first and never complains about his role or playing time. It’s a shame he couldn’t win a championship with the team, as he played with the Patriots during their ten-year Super Bowl drought from 2005 to 2015.
14. Vince Wilfork
No defensive lineman played better for the Patriots than Vince Wilfork. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time Super Bowl champion and was named to the Patriots’ 50th-anniversary team.
He spend the majority of his career in New England and was undoubtedly a fan favorite and even a ballhawk with three career interceptions!
13. Willie McGinest
Willie McGinest was a dominant force on defense for the team for over a decade, and his play earned him three Super Bowl rings. He ranks second all-time in Patriots history with 73.5 sacks, and he was a vital part of the team’s record-breaking defense that led to three Super Bowl championships in four years.
His ability to get after the quarterback made him a feared player around the NFL, and it was a big reason why the Patriots were so successful on defense.
12. Bruce Armstrong
Bruce Armstrong was drafted by the New England Patriots in 1987 and played for them until his retirement in 2000. He is considered one of the best offensive linemen to ever play for the Patriots, and many fans rank him as one of the team’s top all-time players.
Armstrong was a 6-time Pro Bowler named on the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. In 2012, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Armstrong’s size, strength, and speed allowed him to dominate opposing linemen. But what set him apart was his intelligence and technique. He read the defense and made the proper adjustments on the fly, which often led to big plays for the Patriots.
He retired right before the Patriots first Super Bowl in 2001, but his leadership led the way for future championship teams in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
11. Tedy Bruschi
No one played harder or meaner for the New England Patriots than Tedy Bruschi. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and was voted to the Patriots’ 50th-anniversary team.
Bruschi’s talent, accomplishments, and dedication to the game and his team make him unique. After suffering a stroke in 2005, Bruschi made a fantastic comeback, returning to play later that season. His determination and resilience are an inspiration, and he will always be remembered as one of the greatest Patriots ever.
10. Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri is the most successful kicker in NFL history, a 10-time Pro Bowler, and a two-time AFC kicker of the year. He has played for both the Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts and won four Super Bowls (three with New England, one with Indianapolis).
Vinatieri made countless clutch kicks to help them win games and a few to win Super Bowls. You can’t write the history of the Patriots without Adam Vinatieri’s name, which gives him a top 10 spot on this list.
9. Nick Buoniconti
Nick Buoniconti was a vital part of the team’s success in the early days of the franchise. A local kid, Buoniconti’s toughness and passion for the game were evident whenever he took the field. He helped set the foundation for future success during those years in the 1960s.
8. Richard Seymour
Drafted by the Patriots in 2001 and quickly established himself as one of the best defensive players in the league, Seymour was a crucial part of the Super Bowl championship teams in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
Seymour was a dominant force on the defensive line, and he regularly disrupted opposing offenses. He was also a good teammate and helped build the culture of winning in New England today. After spending nine seasons with the Patriots, Seymour was traded to the Oakland Raiders in 2009.
Seymour finished his career with 57.5 sacks and seven Pro Bowl appearances. He is without question one of the greatest players in Patriots history, and he deserves to be remembered for his contributions to the team’s dynasty.
7. Wes Welker
Welker had an uncanny ability to get open and make catches in traffic. He was also a dangerous punt returner, which added an extra dimension to the Patriot’s offense. During his time with the Patriots, Welker caught 672 passes for 7,459 yards and 37 touchdowns. He also returned 238 punts for 2,078 yards and another three touchdowns.
His accomplishments speak for themselves, and there’s no doubt that he will go down as one of the greatest slot receivers of all time. He changed the game.
6. Mike Haynes
Mike Haynes was drafted by the New England Patriots in 1976, played nine seasons with the team, and was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1999. He was a ballhawk racking up 22 interceptions in his first four years as a professional while taking home defensive rookie of the year in 1976.
5. Ty Law
Ty Law played for the Patriots from 1995 to 2004 and helped the team win three Super Bowls during that time. A five-time Pro Bowler and a two-time All-Pro. He was also named to the 2000s All-Decade Team.
Ty’s most memorable moments came during Super Bowl 36 against the Rams. He intercepted a pass from Rams quarterback Kurt Warner which was returned for a touchdown. That play helped the Patriots win their first Super Bowl in franchise history and sparked their dynasty run.
4. Andre Tippett
Tippett was drafted by the Patriots in 1982 and spent his entire career with the team. He was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro. Tippett placed third in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 1984.
He ranks second on the Patriot’s all-time sack list with 100.5 sacks, and he is one of just six players in NFL history to reach 100 sacks and 1,000 tackles. Tippett’s accomplishments speak for themselves, and he is without question one of the greatest players in Patriots history.
He was an integral part of the team’s success during the 1980s and early 1990s (making the Super Bowl in 1985), and his legacy will continue to be remembered by fans for years to come.
3. Rob Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski is one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history and an absolute nightmare for opposing defenses to deal with. He is a five-time Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots.
Gronk has set numerous records for tight ends, including the most receiving touchdowns in a season (17) and the second-most receiving yards (1,327). He has set several records for the Patriots, including the most receiving yards and touchdowns by a tight end. He is also one of the most productive players in postseason play in NFL history.
Gronkowski was also a fan favorite and one of the most popular players in the NFL, and he always puts on a show for the fans. Truly knowing how to entertain the crowd.
2. John Hannah
John Hannah was a crucial part of the team’s success in the 1970s, and his impressive play earned him several accolades, including being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
His unique blend of size and speed set Hannah apart from other players. He was swift for a player his size, which allowed him to make plays that other linemen couldn’t. He was an integral part of the franchise in the 1970s and 80s, and his impressive play left a lasting impression on the franchise.
1. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is the most successful quarterback in NFL history and the obvious number one on this list. He played for the Patriots from 2000-2019, and during those two decades won six Super Bowls. In 2017, Brady became the all-time leader in playoff wins by a quarterback, with 30. He is also a five-time Super Bowl MVP, more than any other player in history.
He is also a great role model for young athletes and is known for his dedication to training and fitness. An advocate for healthy eating and has released his cookbook, “The TB12 Method.” No player will ever be more important to the Patriots franchise than Tom Brady.
Could Add To The List:
- Donta Hightower
- Deion Branch
- Bob Dee
- Devin McCourty
- Ben Coats
- Kevin Faulk
- Rodney Harrison
- Rob Ninkovich
- Stephon Gilmore
- Lawyer Milloy
- Gino Cappelletti
- James White
- Malcolm Butler
- Stephen Gostkowski