FOXBORO — The Patriots are going back to the future for the AFC Championship this Sunday.
Drew Bledsoe, a member of the franchise’s Hall of Fame, will serve as the team’s honorary captain for the AFC Championship Game this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was Bledsoe who guided the Patriots to a berth in Super Bowl XXXI in 1996 with a 20-6 victory over the Jaguars on Jan. 12, 1997, the first time the Patriots ever hosted the AFC Championship Game.
“Drew Bledsoe played such an integral role in our efforts to rebuild the Patriots,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “He gave fans hope for the future by providing many memorable moments during his record-breaking career. For a franchise that had only hosted one playoff game in its first 35 years, winning the AFC Championship Game at home in Foxboro and taking the Patriots to the playoffs for three consecutive years were unimaginable goals prior to his arrival.”
It was also Bledsoe who stepped in for an injured Tom Brady and led the Patriots to a 34-27 win over the Steelers in the 2001 AFC Championship game in Pittsburgh, leading of course to the Patriots’ first Super Bowl win over the Rams one week later.
New England will play in its 14th AFC Championship Game, its 13th under the ownership of Robert Kraft, the eighth at home and its seventh at Gillette Stadium, when they host the AFC South Champion Jacksonville Jaguars with a trip to Super Bowl LII on the line.
To help celebrate Championship Sunday, Bledsoe will be a part of the pregame festivities when he will accompany the team captains at midfield for the coin toss prior to the game.