Where are they now? Tom Brady's prior backups

Right now, the New England Patriots' quarterback situation is "chaos". And I use that term lightly because they could put a cardboard cutout of Steve Grogan under center against Buffalo in 8 days and still somehow win the game by two touchdowns.

Tom Brady's four game Deflategate suspension was originally supposed to be a preview of the future, wher Jimmy Garroppolo would methodically tear apart every team in the NFL not named the New York Giants, but injuries to both Garroppolo and the 3rd stringer Jacoby Brissett, who presided over New England's 27-0 dismantling of Houston, the Patriots may need a newcomer to take over the whooping duties for their showdown with Rex Ryan's Bills next Sunday.

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If both Garroppolo and Brissett are unable to go for next week's tilt...remember, Bill Belichick has had 10 days to prepare for the Bills...who will be the Patriots' stand-in? Twitter gave us some lively suggestions after Thursday's shutout, but look no further than Brady's other backups!

From 2002, his first full-time season as the Patriots' starter, up through this season, Brady missed just 15 games, all in the same 2008 season. Needless to say, his backups didn't get much work back then, but the Pats could call any of them back now to fill in! Here are some of the names that sat behind Brady and what they're up to now...

(Note: This only documents Brady's #2 quarterback during the regular season. So, no, Tim Tebow does not count)


Super Bowl XXXVI: St. Louis Rams Vs. New England PatriotsGetty

Then: Bledsoe was the New England franchise quarterback, presiding under center for the Pats since being selected with the top pick in the 1993 draft. When Bledsoe was injured on a big hit from Jets LB Mo Lewis, it set the stage for Brady to change the course of NFL history. Despite his reduced role, Bledsoe came through in the clutch during the 2002 AFC Championship game, leading the Patriots to victory when Brady got injured himself.

Now: Despite being usurped by Brady, New England fans did not forget Bledsoe's contributions to the franchise, as he was inducted into the team's fan-voted Hall of Fame in 2011. He would play five more seasons in the NFL, serving as the starter in Buffalo and Dallas before retiring in 2006. Currently, Bledsoe is the offensive coordinator for his sons' high school team in Bend, Oregon.

DAMON HUARD (2001-03)

New England Patriots Vs. New York Giants At MetLife StadiumGetty

Then: After he failed to succeed Dan Marino in Miami, losing that job to Jay Fiedler, Huard joined New England where he ended up winning two rings as Brady's backup, serving as the 3rd stringer for Super Bowl XXXVI and as the backup for Super Bowl XXXVIII.

Now: Huard lasted five more seasons in the NFL, all with Kansas City, where he started 21 games, posting an 83.3 passer rating. He remained active with his alma mater at Washington University, serving as the football program's Chief Administrative Officer. In 2014, he opened a winery with Marino.

ROHAN DAVEY (2002-04)

Cincinnati Bengals v New England PatriotsGetty

Then: A 4th round in 2002, Davey struggled to make a name for himself in New England. He plated seven games in mop-up duty in three seasons, throwing neither a touchdown or an interception.

Now: Davey went on to have success in NFL Europe, winning the developmental league's Player of the Year award in 2004, a year his Berlin Thunder won the World Bowl. Released by New England in 2005, Davey briefly spent time with the Cardinals before spending several seasons in the Arena League.


Indianapolis Colts vs New England Patriots - November 7, 2005Getty

Then: The final stop of his long football career (he had also played with the team in his first NFL stint after becoming a local hero at Boston College), Flutie's brief time in New England was eventful. Entering for mop-up duty in a win over the Jets, in the final Monday Night Football game broadcast on ABC, the 43-year old Flutie faced off with 42-year old Vinny Testaverde, the first time in league history a pair of 40+ quarterbacks faced off in the same game. A week later, Flutie kicked an extra point via a drop kick, which had not been done in the NFL since 1941.

Now: Flutie's illustrious careers in both the college and CFL levels was recognized with inductions into their respective Halls of Fame. Flutie recently competed in Season 22 of Dancing With the Stars, finishing in 9th place. He currently provides color commentary for Notre Dame football games on NBC.

MATT CASSEL (2005-08)

New England Patriots v Buffalo BillsGetty

Then: Cassel became the first poster child that "anyone" could succeed in the Belichick offense. Though he had started a single game in a four-year career at USC, he was nonetheless selected by the Patriots in the 7th round of the 05 draft. After Flutie retired, he became Brady's backup, and he finally got to taste the field, throwing for 3,693 and 21 touchdowns when Brady suffered a season ending injury in the opening game. Despite missing the playoffs, Cassel led the team to 11 wins.

Now: Cassel parlayed that success into a starting job in Kansas City, where he was traded shortly after the end of the 2008 season. He signed a 6-year, $62 million dollar with the Chiefs, and while there were some good times, like an AFC West title in 2010, ironically subbing for an injured Brady in that year's Pro Bowl, Cassel was never able to duplicate the success he had with the Pats. Departing Kansas City in 2013, he has since started for Minnesota, Buffalo and Dallas, and currently serves as Marcus Mariota's backup in Tennessee.

BRIAN HOYER (2009-11)

Super Bowl XLVI: New England Patriots Vs. New York Giants At Lucas Oil StadiumGetty

Then: Despite a solid college career, helping turn Michigan State football into a force to be reckoned with, Hoyer went undrafted in 2009, but a solid preseason earned him the backup job with the Pats. He started no games in New England, but threw 43 passes in mop-up work, including a lone touchdown pass to Brandon Tate. Hoyer also threw the pass that allowed Rob Gronkowski to set the NFL record for most receiving yards by a tight end in 2011.

Now: After stops in Pittsburgh and Arizona, Hoyer moved onto Cleveland, where he provided a rare commodity, unheard of for Browns football...hope. Hoyer went 3-0 as a starter before an injury ended his 2013 season...but that didn't stop the Browns from drafting some guy named Johnny Manziel. Despite guiding the Browns to a 7-7 record in 2014...which might as well be 10-4 in Cleveland...Hoyer finally lost out to Manziel. He left Cleveland shortly after, taking a majority of snaps with the Houston Texans last season, starting 9 games after another former Brady backup lost the job. Hoyer helped get the Texans to the playoffs, but he threw 4 interceptions in said playoff game, a 30-0 loss to the Chiefs. Hoyer signed on with the Bears this offseason, and is expected to start on Sunday night with Jay Cutler's injury.

RYAN MALLETT (2011-13)

New England Patriots v Philadelphia EaglesGetty

Then: Mallett was the first to wear the "heir apparent to the Brady empire" title, labeled a steal when the Patriots took him in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft. Mallett had previous played at Brady's alma mater of Michigan before transferring to Arkansas. He threw four passes, including an interception, in Patriot blue.

Now: Mallett was traded to Houston late in the summer of 2014, meeting former Pats offensive guru Bill O'Brien. In his first start, Mallett was very effective, posting a 95.3 passer rating in a win over Cleveland, but an injury ended his season. He lost out on the starting job to Hoyer in 2015...and by what I'm sure was a pure coincidence missed practice the day after the announcement was made. Blaming oversleeping, Mallett later nonetheless played during the season, but his ineffectiveness sent him over to Baltimore, where he currently serves as the backup, after the Texans released him.

Did we forget anybody? Tweet @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation going.

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Touring all 31 NFL stadiums:

Touring all 31 NFL stadiums (Architectural Digest)
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Touring all 31 NFL stadiums (Architectural Digest)

In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Carolina Panthers play before 75,400 fans at Bank of America Stadium. Completed in 1996, the venue was designed by Populous.

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Gillette Stadium has been the home of the New England Patriots since 2002. Situated just outside Boston, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the Populous-designed venue can seat 68,750 fans.

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Ford Field is where the Detroit Lions have played since 2002. Designed by the locally based firm Rossetti Architects, the hometown venue has a capacity of 65,000.

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The Dallas Cowboys play before 80,000 in the HKS-designed AT&T Stadium. Built in 2009, the venue is located in Arlington, Texas.

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When the Rams return to Los Angeles this year (after a ten-year run in St. Louis), they’ll take residence in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Completed in 1923 by architects John and Donald Parkinson, the venue is also home to USC’s college football team. The two will only have to share the stadium until 2019, when the Rams move into their soon-to-be-built City of Champions Stadium, designed by the Dallas-based firm HKS. Estimated at $2.6 billion, the new venue would be the world’s most expensive sports complex.

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In 1972, the Kansas City Chiefs’ new home was opened in Kansas City, Missouri. Designed by the locally based firm Kivett and Myers and renovated in 2007–10 by Populous, Arrowhead Stadium holds up to 76,400 fans.

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Since 2002, the Seattle Seahawks have played in the 69,000-capacity CenturyLink Field. The Seattle stadium was designed by Minnesota-based firm Ellerbe Becket.

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Located in Landover, Maryland, FedEx Field is home to the Washington Redskins. The 82,000-seat stadium was designed by the New York-based firm Populous in 1997.

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The Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans is the home field of the Saints. Built in 1975, the 73,200-capacity stadium was designed by the locally based firm Curtis and Davis Architects.

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Ralph Wilson Stadium is where the Buffalo Bills pack in 71,870 screaming fans. Located in Orchard Park, New York, the venue was designed by HNTB in 1973 and renovated by Populous in 2013.

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Back in 1995, Populous completed its design of Jacksonville, Florida’s EverBank Field, home to the Jaguars. The venue can accommodate 67,245 ardent supporters.

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Since 1992, the Atlanta Falcons have called the Georgia Dome their home. Built by the Philadelphia-based firm Heery International, the structure can seat 71,250 fans. Plans for the Falcons’ new home, the HOK-designed Mercedes-Benz Stadium, are in the works, with construction expected to be completed by 2017.

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The Baltimore Ravens play before 71,000 exuberant fans at M&T Bank Stadium in their home city. The structure was completed in 1998 by Populous.

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Some 70,560 spectators pack into Qualcomm Stadium to cheer on their beloved San Diego Chargers. Built in 1967, the venue was designed by the San Diego–based firm Frank L. Hope and Associates.

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Lincoln Financial Field has been the Philadelphia Eagles’ home field since 2003. Located in the team’s home city, the 69,600-capacity stadium was designed by the New York-based firm NBBJ.

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Designed by Populous in 1999, Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, can pack in some 69,150 fans to cheer on the Tennessee Titans.

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The 68,400 faithful that pack Heinz Field each game day come to support the Pittsburgh Steelers. Built in 2001 by Populous, the venue is located in the team’s home city.

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In Green Bay, Wisconsin, some 81,435 fans can pack into Lambeau Field to cheer on their beloved Packers. The Green Bay–based firm Somerville built the iconic venue in 1957.

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Completed in 2014, Levi’s Stadium is the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. Located in Santa Clara, California, the 68,500-capacity venue was designed by HNTB.

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Sports Authority Field at Mile High is home to the Denver Broncos. Located in the team’s home city, the venue was completed in 2001 by the New York–based firm HNTB and can accommodate 76,125 spectators.

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The Cleveland Browns have played in FirstEnergy Stadium since 1999. Designed by Populous, their hometown stadium can seat 67,430 fans each game.

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Lucas Oil Stadium has been the home field of the Indianapolis Colts since 2008. Located in downtown Indianapolis, the HKS-designed venue was completed in 2008.

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The Houston Texans play before 71,500 fans at NRG Stadium in their home city. The venue was completed in 2002 by Populous.

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Raymond James Stadium has been home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since 1998. Some 65,890 fans can pack into the Tampa, Florida, venue, another Populous project.

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The recently completed U.S. Bank Stadium is the new home of the Minnesota Vikings. The HKS-designed structure is located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis and can seat 66,200 fans.

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Back in 2000, Paul Brown Stadium became the new home of the Cincinnati Bengals. Created by NBBJ, the venue can hold up to 65,515 spectators.

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Although it’s called New Miami Stadium, the Dolphins’ homefield was actually completed in 1987, by Populous. The stadium can currently hold 65,325 people.

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MetLife Stadium is the only NFL venue that is home to two teams. Both the New York Giants and the New York Jets play in the 82,500-seat East Rutherford, New Jersey, stadium, which was designed by the Missouri–based 360 Architecture and completed in 2010.

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The Arizona Cardinals have been playing at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, since 2006. Created by New York–based Eisenman Architects, the structure has seating for 63,400 fans.

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Built in 1966, the Oakland Alameda Coliseum in California—home to the Oakland Raiders—is among the oldest operating NFL stadiums in the country. Designed by the Chicago-based firm SOM, the team’s hometown venue has a capacity for 56,055 fans.

(Photo via Getty)

The iconic Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears. Situated along Lake Michigan, the venue was completed in 1924 by Holabird and Roche. In 2003 the stadium underwent a renovation by Wood + Zapata, which enhanced crowd capacity to 61,500 and made it the first-ever LEED-certified NFL stadium.

(Photo via Getty)


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