Vincent “Ultimate” Brisby was one of the pre-eminent figures of the Patriots teams I grew up watching, which threw the ball around the sandlot before all the cool kids were doing it. These Parcells-led, Bledsoe-quarterbacked teams, however, were always in the hunt for greatness but never broke through to win it all.
Parcells’ first draft at the helm of New England was in 1993, and he picked Bledsoe with the first overall selection. The Pats had three second-rounders, and with the 56th pick, the last of the second round, they went with Brisby. A Houston native, Vincent went to UL-Monroe (then known as Northeast Louisiana), where he stood out, though the school was small and relatively unsuccessful.
Brisby’s best seasons came in 1994-95, his second and third seasons in the league, respectively. In 1995 he started all 16 games for the Patriots, catching 66 passes for 974 yards, along with 3 touchdowns. The year before, he also came terribly close to the 1000-yard mark, posting 904 receiving yards. He played just 14 games that year, having missed two due to injury. Had Brisby played a full schedule that year, perhaps he would have crested the threshold. Sadly, however, he fell just short.
He was never the same after 1995, as a string of injuries hampered his production. Eventually Shawn Jefferson took over his job in 1997, and Brisby, though healthy, started just four games that year, and never caught more than 23 passes after his 1995 campaign. Brisby had such a promising career before the injury bug hit.
Ultimate Brisby played his final season in 2000 for the Jets, but appeared in just a handful of games. He ended his career with 221 catches for 3202 yards, and 14 touchdowns in parts of eight seasons. Still, to this day, Bledsoe to Brisby remains one of my all-time favorite QB-WR tandems.