Image Source----me, I painted this in high school.
Well, maybe not officially official until he's inducted and gets his 68 regular red jacket (jk he's has slimmed down post-retirement), but my all-time favorite New England Patriot, Vince Wilfork, will be the 32nd member of the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Vince shared the ballot with Mike Vrabel and Logan Mankins, two more of my fuckin dudes, but only one player makes it per year due to team rules. There's gonna be a massive backlog with all the guys deserving of that honor, but I'm so pumped to see Vince get his due. Maybe if Vrabel's Titans didn't end Brady's Patriot career (very rude), he'd be in by now?
As I said earlier, Big 75 is my all-time favorite Patriot. I love Brady and Gronk, but as a big man, I was drawn to Vince. His career spanned from my 7th grade year until I graduated college (which just so happens to be 7 years ago today). I got his jersey for my 16th birthday and was, unfortunately, wearing it on February 3rd...actually fuck that; let's not talk about that tragic day during this time of celebration.
Vince is one of the most athletic big men to ever play in the NFL, his stats might not blow you away, but that's only because he was busy getting doubled, sometimes triple-teamed, setting up plays for other Pats to get tackles and sacks. He didn't record a stat on the Butt Fumble, but that iconic play was all him; he tossed the Jets lineman into Mark Sanchez with ease, like you, or I would open a screen door.
Hopefully, this recognition is the first step towards an eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he's more than deserving of that honor. Wilfork was the premiere nose tackle of the late 2000s and early 2010s. He's a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro and bookended his Patriot career with Super Bowl rings.
On a personal note, Vince is indirectly responsible for May 8th (5/8) being Dozah Day. When I was a freshman in high school, and we were getting assigned jersey numbers, I was originally given 74 and was the only frosh to say anything when the coaches asked if anybody wanted something different. I asked for 75, which they claimed wasn't available because one of the jerseys was missing (two years later, one of my friends ended up with it when we got new uniforms). I now had the choice of 57 or 58. I think 57 is super ugly, but I briefly considered it since it's 75 backwards, but opted for 58 because I liked it better, and the Papelbon factor certainly didn't hurt; his era was under 1.00 that year! One of my friends ended up with 74, which fit him much better as it was his dad's number in college (very cool).
Congratulations, Vince. Next stop, Canton. I love you. I wish your parents got to see your Patriot Hall of Fame career, but I know (well, hope) they're looking down today incredibly proud of their son.
I rarely miss a Patriots game, I can count on one hand how many I've missed since 2003 (6th grade), but in 2014 I didn't get to finish the Raiders game because I had tickets to The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant at the Garden that night with three buddies, but I'll never forget hearing his game-winning interception on the radio! Three career interceptions for a DT. That alone should get him into Canton.