New England Patriots of the Past: Andre Tippett

Andre Tippett
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 2: Andre Tippett of the New England Patriots poses with his bust after his induction during the Class of 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium on August 2, 2008 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Since the franchise’s inception in 1960, the New England Patriots have had a plethora of great players. Among them have been a fair share of defensive studs. During the 1980s the franchise featured a pair of stud linebackers, one of which will be discussed here.

Over the course of the 2018 off-season, the New England Patriots office at Last Word on Pro Football will be featuring a different Patriot legend each week leading up to the regular season. Last week, the first great New England quarterback Vito “Babe” Parilli was profiled. This week we take a look at Hall of Famer Andre Tippett.

Andre Tippett: An NFL Legend

Before the NFL

Andre Tippett was born in Birmingham, AL in 1959. Tippett moved to New Jersey and attended Barringer High School. His college football journey started out at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa. There he was discovered by the Univerity of Iowa and transferred there before the 1979 season.

Tippett became a stud for the Iowa Hawkeyes. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection for the Hawkeyes. He helped lead them to their first winning season, a Big Ten Championship, and a Rose Bowl appearance in two decades. Tippett was selected as a Consensus All-American in 1981. He left Iowa as the all-time leader in tackles for loss.

Tippett as a Patriot

Tippett was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. His 35.0 sacks from 1984 to 1985 are the most in a two-season span in NFL history. He was the best linebacker in the NFL outside of Lawrence Taylor during the 1980s. As a result, he helped lead the Patriots to their first Super Bowl in 1985. The 1985 AFC Champions lost to the legendary Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX. Tippett’s 1985 season earned him Defensive Player of the Year, AFC Player of the Year, Pro Bowl, and First Team All-Pro honors.

Tippett’s elite ability to disrupt the passing game can be attributed to his sixth degree black belt in Uechi-Ryu karate. Over his career, Tippett recorded 100.0 sacks in only 151 games. His 100.0 sacks are a Patriots franchise record. Due to his frequency of getting to the quarterback, Tippett was named AFC Linebacker of the year for three straight seasons from 1985 to 1987. Tippett also finished his career with 18 fumble recoveries and 17 forced fumbles. Tippett’s career ended after the 1992 NFL season. He finished his career as a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time First Team All-Pro, two-time Second Team All-Pro, NFL Defensive Player of the Year, AFC Player of the Year, and a member of the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1980s.

Life After Football

Tippett has stayed around football and the Patriots since his retirement in 1992. He was inducted to the team’s Hall of Fame in 1999. His alma-mater inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2007. Tippett finally received pro football’s highest honor in 2008, getting inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that year. Tippet currently resides in Sharon, MA with his wife Rhonda. He is currently a Pop Warner football coach and the Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs.

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