The answer to that would be "negative intangibles." He may be viewed by some as the immobile statue who struggled in Buffalo and was tossed to the curb by the Bills as being done and has yet to win anything in Dallas. That, of course, would completely overlook the two occasions he got New England to the Super Bowl. It would overlook his professional demeanor and leadership. And frankly, it would overlook his numbers.
Now let's say, for the sake of the argument, Bledsoe has a real good year. Let's say he throws 26 touchdown passes. This would be his third most ever in a season and the fourth best in Cowboys history. So it would be very good but not record-setting. That would put Bledsoe eighth all time in touchdowns throws. The seven men ahead of him would be named Marino, Favre, Tarkenton, Elway, Moon, Unitas and Montana. You see where we're going. You can find each of their busts talking to John Madden's in Canton.
Those are the numbers, or would be. You can't argue with them. They are what they are. If Bledsoe should add a win in Miami in early February, you might have to make a stronger case for keeping him out than putting him in.
For the record, by the way, Drew Bledsoe claims not to be thinking these thoughts. Asked after Monday's morning practice if he ever thinks about the Hall of Fame, Bledsoe said, "Not yet, not really. I watched Troy's speech Saturday. It's a cool thing. Obviously it's the greatest honor you can get as a player, and a few guys I know like Troy and Kelly and Elway and Marino have had that. But I'm not done yet. I'm just focused on playing."
Yes, we understand that, Drew. Thanks. But you're human. You've been doing this 14 years now. Are you aware of your numbers? Do you think about where you stand in comparison to the best who ever played?
"The numbers are what they are," says Bledsoe, with a shrug and a look in his eye you maybe once saw in a Cowboys camp from a stoic, solid oak from UCLA. "I'm proud of what I've accomplished, but I'm not there yet. I want to win that final game of the year. As far as what other people think, look, you're not going to see a whole lot of me when I'm done. What matters to me is how I'm viewed by the teammates I've had and the people I've played against."
Who's writing his stuff, Aikman?
This doesn't mean Bledsoe is taking the Harry Carson approach that membership to the Hall is of no consequence to him.
"To be mentioned alongside guys like Marino and Elway, guys who were my heroes growing up, that's heady stuff," he admits. "These were the guys I pretended to be at recess. That's very heady stuff."
It would mean more to Bledsoe, as it seems to have for Aikman and Carson and others, because of what it would mean to his family, to "the people who have been along for the whole ride, which has been pretty bumpy at times."
The ride's not over. Drew Bledsoe is not doing this to get into the Hall of Fame. But if he has another season or two like he and the Cowboys would like to have, the conversation may be impossible to stop.