Up until the now boringly successful Belichick-Brady era, the New England Patriots had traditionally been one of the more mediocre franchises in NFL-AFL history. It took the team 15 years from its inception just to make it to the playoffs, and when they finally made it to the Super Bowl after 25 years of existence they promptly got curb-stomped by the Chicago Bears. But in the last 30 years they have had their three best QBs and their two best coaches ever and in the last decade and a half have thrived with the one of the best coach-quarterback tandems the NFL has ever seen. The results have been an endless stream of division championships and playoff appearances with seven Super Bowl appearances and four wins in the last twenty years. Beyond the past two decades however the Patriots had a much wider variety of characters behind center. Here is the definitive ranking of all of the quarterbacks who have started for the New England (and Boston) Patriots over the past 40 plus years. Spoiler Alert: Tom Brady is ranked #1. But you know that already so read on to see where everyone else made it on the list.
29. Joe Kapp
After a stellar career at the University of California Berkeley, where he lead them to their last Rose Bowl in 1959 Joe Kapp was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 1959 NFL Draft. He was never contacted by the team however so he played the next few years in the Canadian Football League. He finally made it to the NFL in 1967 with the Minnesota Vikings. Despite leading the Vikings to a 12-1 record in 1969 and an appearance in Super Bowl IV, Joe Kapp had a fairly unimpressive four year career as an NFL quarterback and was especially bad in his only year playing for the Patriots. With a 1-9 record, 44.7% completion rate and only three TDs against 17 interceptions Kapp was out of the league the next year.
28. Jeff Carlson
After playing his college football at Weber State, Jeff Carlson was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round with the 102nd overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. He ended up playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons, playing in three games and starting one. He threw for just over 400 yards with a 47% completion rate and one touchdown before he ended up in New England where he was one of four QBs who started for the Patriots during the 1992 season. He only completed 36% of his passes as a Patriot with one touchdown and three interceptions. He had a career 43% completion rate, with two touchdowns and nine interceptions over his three years in the league.
27. Bob Bleier
A cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, Bob Bleier made the most of his opportunity to play in the NFL during the 1987 strike shortened season. Belier played in three games in his only year in the league with the New England Patriots. After playing his college football for the Richmond Spiders he joined the Patriots as a replacement player during the strike. He was able to start two of the games during the strike with the Patriots, winning one of his starts and losing the other. He finished the season and his career with a 35% completion rate to go along with 181 yards while throwing one touchdown and one interception. He was also sacked three times and fumbled twice.
26. Don Trull
An All-American at Baylor University, Don Trull won the Sammy Baugh Trophy twice and finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1963. He was drafted in the 14th round with the 111th overall pick in the 1963 AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. He played three seasons in Houston before he headed to the Patriots in 1967. In three starts for the Patriots they lost three times and he had a 33% completion percentage to go along with one touchdown and seven interceptions. He did a little better over his full career completing 43% of his passes and throwing for almost 4000 yards over seven seasons with 30 total touchdowns and 28 interceptions. Needless to say, Trull’s time with the Patriots was not great.
25. Tom Greene
The second quarterback to ever start a game for the New England Patriots, back when they were known as the Boston Patriots, was Tom Greene. Greene played his college football for the Holy Cross Crusaders before joining the Patriots for their first season in 1960. He is one of only twenty players who have been inducted into the Holy Cross Ring of Honor. Green started in two games in which the Patriots went 1-1 with him behind center. Over the course of his only season in Boston, Greene passed for 251 yards. He also completed 42% of his passes and threw one touchdown and six interceptions with the Patriots. He played in one game with the Dallas Texans in 1961 but did not compile any additional stats.