Sunday, May 28, 2017

Great NFL Careers: Troy Brown

Before we start, I would like to announce this is the first post to my Great NFL Careers series, and it also happens to be the Patriots post for the 32 Greats/32 Days.

Great NFL Careers: This series will focus on players who had a great career in the NFL. Their careers will be described from the day they were drafted, to the day that hung the cleats up.

This may not always be the format my series, but I do like this setup so perhaps it might be. Now, onto Troy Brown.

To start, I would like to explain why I chose Troy Brown. No, he is not the most famous Patriot ever, nor is he the greatest Patriot ever. When discussing Patriots all time greats, his name is often left in the shadows of Tom Brady, Stanley Morgan, John Hannah, Tedy Bruschi, and man other Patriot greats. The thing wrong about this, is that almost no one demonstrates The Patriot Way more than Troy Brown. This post will describe Troy Brown’s career in depth, from the moment he was drafted, until the moment he retired.

Troy Brown, New England Patriots

Position: Wide Receiver, #80

Years played for the New England Patriots: 1993-2007 (192 games)

Height/Weight: 5’10”/196 Pounds

Hall of Fame Class: Patriots Hall of Fame, 2012



Year Age Team Position Number Games Games Started Targets Receptions Yards Yards/Reception Touchdowns Yards/Game Catch %
1993 22 NE PR 80 12 0 5 2 22 11.0 0 1.8 40%
1994 23 NE PR 86 9 0 4 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0.0%
1995 24 NE WR 80 16 0 25 14 159 11.4 0 9.9 56%
1996 25 NE WR 80 16 0 27 21 222 10.6 0 13.9 77.8%
1997 26 NE WR 80 16 6 69 41 607 14.8 6 37.9 59.4%
1998 27 NE WR 80 10 0 35 23 346 15.0 1 34.6 65.7%
1999 28 NE WR 80 13 1 56 36 471 13.1 1 36.2 64.3%
2000 29 NE WR 80 16 15 119 83 944 11.4 4 59.0 69.7%
2001 30 NE WR 80 16 13 142 101 1199 11.9 5 74.9 71.1%
2002 31 NE WR 80 14 13 141 97 890 9.2 3 63.6 68.6%
2003 32 NE WR 80 12 10 60 40 472 11.8 4 39.3 66.7%
2004 33 NE WR 80 12 0 29 17 184 10.8 1 15.3 58.6%
2005 34 NE WR 80 13 3 59 39 466 11.9 2 35.8 66.1%
2006 35 NE WR 80 16 9 75 43 384 8.9 4 24.0 57.3%
2007 36 NE WR 80 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0.0%
Career N/A N/A N/A N/A 192 70 846 557 6366 11.4 31 33.2 N/A

There was a time, when the Patriots were not dominant. They were somewhat a laughingstock. The Patriots of the early 1990s were nothing compared to the powerhouse they are now. This wouldn't change until the late 1990s. From 1990-1995, the Patriots racked up multiple losing seasons, including two seasons with 2 wins or less. Their 2-14 record netted them the first overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft, which led them to pick Drew Bledsoe. In Bledsoe's tenure with the Patriots, he played well enough to not be labeled a bust. He was selected to four Pro Bowls, and led the Patriots to much better seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance that resulted in a loss. However, looking back on the 1993 draft, there was a hidden gem the Patriots picked. That hidden gem was the 8th round, 198th pick- Troy Brown.

Coming off of a 16 touchdown, 101 reception, 1654 yard 1992 campaign that concluded with a National Championship, it was quite a surprise that Troy Brown was drafted so late. Brown attended Marshall University, and was the best receiver on the Division I NCAA team. Aside from his receiving skills, he was an exceptional return man in college, leading college football in return yard average in 1991. That year, Troy Brown and his team lost in the National Championship. However, a year later (Brown's senior year), Troy Brown and Marshall returned to the big game and ended up coming out victorious. Troy was more of a receiver than anything, but from time to time Brown played defensive back. In the final minutes of the game, Brown ended up getting an interception that sealed the deal. To say the least, Brown set a legacy at Marshall University. He holds numerous NCAA records that still stand to this date; notable records being kickoff return average and kickoff return touchdowns. Brown cemented his place into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

After getting drafted by New England in the final round of the 1993 draft, Brown had to prove what he was, which is no easy task. Sadly, Brown's first few years with the Patriots was a disaster. In 1993, Brown barely played, and the moments he did get gametime, it was mostly just fielding punts and kicks. At the end of 1993, he was waived by New England, but eventually ended up getting resigned. 1994 was similar to his previous season, with Brown getting almost no playing time. He received little to no playing time as a receiver.

1995 was a different monster to Brown. Brown did end up seeing a slight increased role in playing time, especially at wide receiver. He caught 14 passes for 159 yards, but these 14 catches were distributed among four weeks. Meaning for 12 weeks Brown went catchless. In 1996, Brown once again saw another increase in playing time. He was targeted in nine of the last eleven weeks, catching 21 passes on 27 targets. The Patriots went on to finish the season 11-5, with a loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.

In 1997, Brown put up his best statistical season to date. He caught 41 passes for 607 yards, and six touchdowns. The Patriots once again made the playoffs, only to lose a heartbreaker 7-6 to the Steelers. 1998 was a down year compared to his last, catching 23 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown, though Bledsoe and New England went 9-7 but lossed in the wildcard to the Jaguars. 1999 was a similar season to his last. He only scored 1 touchdown, with 36 catches for 471 yards, and the Patriots failed to make the playoffs.

The year 2000, the Patriots had a change in the coaching staff. The Patriots parted ways with Pete Carrol, and there was a new man in charge - Bill Belichick. A new system with Brown coming off an off year, Brown was set up to fail this season. However, Brown came less than 60 yards shy of acquiring 1000 yards. He caught 83 passes for 944 yards, and tacked on four touchdowns. He played every game, and caught at least one pass in each game. This year was truly his first year as a full time starter. Despite his good year, the Patriots still managed to go 5-11.

Troy Brown started the 2001 season like he never left his 2000 self. The first game, Brown caught 7 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. Then week 2 came along. Brown had a great first half, then in the third quarter of the game, Bledsoe went down. Bledsoe's backup quarterback was 6th round, 199th pick Tom Brady. Brown's first few games with Brady at quarterback were rough. A combined 8 receptions for 68 yards through two games. Then, the wheels started to spin. Brown exploded the next two games - 11 catches for 117 yards, and 8 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Brown finished the 2001 season with what would end up going down as the best season of his career. 101 catches, 1199 yards, and 5 touchdowns. On top of this, the Patriots finished off the regular season on a six game win streak, getting them a first round bye. The Patriots won the divisional game thanks to clutchness and the tuck rule, r/oaklandraiders. The AFC Championship game against the Steelers is where Troy Brown stood out. Returning a punt for a touchdown, and scooping up a blocked field goal, then pitching it to a teammate. On top of this, Brown caught 8 passes for 121 yards. He was an important piece of this victory. Then, came the Super Bowl. It was the Patriots versus the Rams. Going into the game, the Rams were 14 point favorites against the Patriots, who were still led by pick 199. It looked nearly impossible for New England. They were playing the “Greatest Show on Turf”, after all. But the Patriots didn't get phased. Troy caught six passes for 89 yards, including this 21 yard catch that would set up Vinatieri’s game winning field goal. It was a successful year for Troy Brown and the Patriots.

In 2002, Troy Brown put up another solid season. He caught 97 passes for a little less than 900 yards, and tallied 3 touchdowns. The Patriots finished the year with 9 wins and failed to make the playoffs, despite winning the Super Bowl the previous year.

The 2003 season, Brown only participated in 12 regular season games. He caught 40 passes for 472 yards and added 4 touchdowns. Brown also recorded the longest catch of his career this season, in a week 7 game vs. Miami. The game went to overtime, tied 13-13. Brady had a lot of time, allowing Brown to find space, and they connected for an 82 yard game winning touchdown. The Patriots finished the season 14-2, clinching them a first round bye. In the divisional game, they were set to play the Tennessee Titans. It was all tied up late in the fourth quarter, with less than four minutes left. A key defensive stop by New England forced the Dolphins punt it, to our man Troy Brown. His return put New England in great field position, as they only gained 13 yards and Vinatieri managed to hit the game winning 46 yard field goal. In the AFC Championship Game, the Patriots took on Peyton Manning and the Colts. Brown converted a first down on a 4th and 8, on a drive that would end with a Patriot touchdown. The Pats finished the game with a 24-14 victory, advancing them to Super Bowl XXXVII. Looking to win their second ring in three years, the Patriots knew the task was tough. After holding Carolina to a stop, Brown once again had a great punt return of 28 yards, putting his team in great position. Brown had minor contributions throughout the game, which ended with an Adam Vinatieri game winner.

2004 showed Troy Brown’s true Patriot. During a mid season game, Patriots star cornerback Ty Law was injured, and would be out for the season. Aside from law, other Patriots cornerback Tyrone Poole was also injured for the season. This left the Patriots in a whole, but it did not stop them. Troy Brown stepped up, and partially played defensive back from time to time, mostly when New England played nickel. In his first season playing defensive back (keep in mind, he was playing both sides of the ball), Brown managed to intercept three passes, with one of those interceptions being thrown by Ben Roethlisberger. On the offensive side, Brown finished the year with 17 catches for 184 yards and a touchdown. New England once again finished 14-2. In the playoffs, they cruised by Peyton Manning and the Colts once again. In the AFC Championship, Big Ben’s 15-1 rookie season was no match for Tom Brady’s Patriots. The Patriots were looking to go back to back, and win their third in four years. And that is exactly what they did. They beat Donavon McNabb 24-21, cementing themselves as a dynasty.

The 2005 season Troy Brown caught 39 passes for 466 yards and 2 touchdowns. They would only go on to finish 10-6, and they lost in the divisional round. In 2006,, Brown caught 43 passes for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. New England finished 12-4 but lost to Peyton Manning and the Colts in the AFC Championship. The 2006 season was really Brown’s last productive season, as he only saw playing time in one game in the 2007 season.

Troy Brown officially hung up the cleats after 14 long seasons with the Patriots. Here is a transcript of his retirement speech that took place in September of 2008. It was definitely a sad day for Patriots fans. Brown was a fan favorite in New England, not only for his play on the field, but also for what he did off the field. He always interacted with fans, he always said the right things, and most importantly, Troy Brown was a true Patriot.

User Thoughts: I asked users for their favorite Troy Brown moments. (Idea credit to u/sssl3)

  • u/venture70

    2001 playoff game against the heavily favored Steelers. Patriots offense looked anemic. And then Brown took a kick return TO THE HOUSE. He was clutch. And he played every position. And, of course, how can you not love the guy? Look at that smile.

  • u/326874615678

    The FG block by Seymour that he scooped and pitched to Antwan Harris too. Troy had so many clutch moments from 2001-2004

  • u/DeBarkulator

    I was only young when he played but I love the guy, the fact he played on both sides of the ball, that strip against the chargers, and the fact he just worked hard, he did his job!

  • u/mcgrawwv

    I loved it when he lined up on Defense. The Punt Return in the AFCCG against the Steelers was awesome. He also made a ton of clutch catches in the Tuck Rule game. His catch and run to get out of bounds in the 01 Super Bowl is so underrated, if he didn't get out of bounds, no way we have the time to get a kick off, head into OT, just as the Rams were heating up. Too many key plays... one of my Favorites.

  • u/merlindegr8

    Divisional game. Chargers intercept Brady, Troy Scrambles back and forces fumble.

  • u/johnnyredshorts

    It wasn't even a great play on his part, more of an example of how smart he was as a player. In the 2005 divisional playoff game, after Ben Watson tackled Champ Bailey near the end zone sending the ball out of bounds...I saw Troy Brown making the touchback signal, trying to get the refs attention. The refs went on to blow the call, which should have resulted in Pats ball at the 20, and a possible victory against Denver. Troy got it right in real time, and the refs couldn't even get it right using replay. Troy Brown is the greatest "Patriot" evah! Sure, others have had longer careers, more points, receptions and all that, but nobody epitomizes the Patriot Way better than TB80. And you'd be hard pressed to find a more dependable and clutch slot man, I'd take TB80 in his prime over Welker, Edelman or Amendola, and I love all those guys too.

  • u/Librarycook

    The guy intercepted a ball thrown by Drew Bledsoe in 2004!

  • u/lostanotherfnpasswor

    I'll never forget Troy on defense. cornerback Troy :)

Notable Videos Regarding Troy Brown:

Submitted May 28, 2017 at 10:42AM by iCabra
via reddit

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