Three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi joined ESPN as a NFL analyst in August 2009, one week after announcing his retirement from pro football. The former New England Patriots linebacker provides analysis on Sunday NFL Countdown, Get Up, First Take, SportsCenter and ESPN Radio, and he contributes to ESPN’s annual coverage of Super Bowl week and the NFL Draft.
In his first season with ESPN, Bruschi joined the Monday Night Countdown crew at both Patriots’ Monday Night Football games, including the season-opener at Gillette Stadium, to share his insider’s perspective. That same night he was recognized on the field at halftime as honorary defensive captain of the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team — a distinction team owner Robert Kraft bestowed upon him immediately after Bruschi announced his retirement. Patriots coach Bill Belichick called him “the perfect player.”
Kraft and the Patriots also honored Bruschi in a special ceremony during halftime of the Patriots’ ESPN MNF game against the division rival Jets in December 2010. Three years later, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Bruschi played in five of the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances and in 189 career regular season games (and 22 playoff games) during his 13-year career (1996-2008), all with the Patriots. New England selected him in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft. A defensive team captain for seven seasons, Bruschi helped lead the Patriots to nine playoffs, eight division championships, five conference titles and three Super Bowl crowns (XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX). He also helped guide the Patriots to the first undefeated 16-0 regular season record in NFL history in 2007.
A 2004 Pro Bowl selection, Bruschi finished his career with 1,134 tackles, 30.5 sacks and 12 interceptions. He is the only player in NFL history to return four consecutive interceptions for touchdowns.
In addition to his relentless work ethic and intensity, Bruschi was equally well known for his determination and professionalism off the field. After suffering his first stroke in February 2005 (he has since recovered from a second stroke, known as a TIA, in July 2019), he endured months of rehabilitation before being medically cleared to play football and returning to the lineup in October. Bruschi was named the 2005 NFL Comeback Player of the Year and the recipient of both the Ed Block Courage Award and the Maxwell Football Club’s Spirit Award.
Bruschi wrote the memoir Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery, and My Return to the NFL in 2007 about his personal experience. One of the Patriots’ most active players in the greater Boston community, Bruschi remains a spokesman for the American Heart Association and founded Tedy’s Team, a foundation that raises funds for stroke research. In 2012, he ran the Boston Marathon with other members of Tedy’s Team, finishing in five hours, 26 minutes and two seconds. He has since completed his second and third marathon with Tedy’s Team, improving his finish times to four hours, 47 minutes and 44 seconds in 2014 and four hours, 35 minutes and 35 seconds in 2019.
Bruschi was the 2006 recipient of the Senator Paul E. Tsongas Award for Exemplary Public Service and the 2010 Walter Camp Alumni Award for distinguishing himself in the pursuit of excellence as an athlete, in his personal career and in doing good works for others. In May 2011, he participated in a NFL-sponsored climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with other former players and coaches in support of the Wounded Warrior Project.
A 2013 College Football Hall of Fame inductee, Bruschi attended the University of Arizona where he was a two-time consensus All-American (1994 and 1995) and winner of the 1995 Morris Trophy as the PAC-10’s best defensive lineman, compiling 185 tackles (137 solos) with 74 tackles for loss and tying the NCAA Division I-A sack record (52). He received his degree in communications in 1996. A current member of the Arizona Football staff, Bruschi was named senior advisor to head coach Jedd Fisch in February 2021.
Bruschi’s two favorite hobbies are bass fishing and disc golf. He is also an avid bowler who once bowled a perfect round of 300 and an accomplished saxophonist who has played at the prestigious Boston Symphony Hall as part of a benefit for the Longy School of Music.
Additionally, Bruschi was inducted into the Rhode Island Italian-American Hall of Fame in 2006.