The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon Technologies has launched a new exhibit called Slot Machines just ahead of the Patriots 2022 home opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
The exhibit takes a close look at how the Patriots successfully utilized slot receivers Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Troy Brown, who rank 1-2-3, respectively in all-time franchise receptions, through the first two decades of the 21st century.
With small, fast, tough receivers operating out of the slot, long-time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was able to keep the chains moving throwing to those reliable targets. While Danny Amendola battled some injuries during his Patriots career, his postseason performances certainly make him part of the slot machine mix.
Brown’s career took off in 2001 under head coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. He became the first receiver in Patriots history to amass more than 100 single-season receptions (101) while helping the Patriots to a Super Bowl XXXVI championship.
The end of his career coincided with the start of Wes Welker’s Patriots tenure. Welker caught 672 passes in six seasons with the club while leading the team in receptions in each of those seasons, including a franchise-record 123 grabs in 2009.
When Welker left via free agency, Edelman was waiting in the wings, and the team also added Danny Amendola. Edelman emerged to catch 105 passes that season, and he and Amendola also became known for huge playoff performances.
The offense, during that time, was built around Brady’s strengths, which included reading defenses, unloading the ball quickly and accurately and keeping the chains moving through an efficient passing attack.
The exhibit examines the slot receivers’ ability to convert first downs, excel on third down and take punishing hits. It looks at the needed skill set to thrive operating from the slot. It also delves into the history of the slot receiver position dating back to the days of coaches Sid Gillman, Al Davis and Dan Coryell while highlighting different types of slot receivers from smaller players like Wayne Chrebet to the speedy Roy Green to bigger receivers like Art Monk and Andre Reed and even a punishing blocker Hines Ward. It also takes a look at how a star tight end like Rob Gronkowski positively impacts the slot receiver.
Watching the Patriots offense for 20 years, which included six Super Bowl champions, there is no doubt that the team hit the jackpot with the “Slot Machine” receivers.
The exhibits artifacts from Edelman, Welker, Brown, Amendola and Brady and launches Friday, September 23.