I don’t think Bruce Armstrong can my claim to being the best Patriots left tackle in team annals. I think Matt Light gets that nod. But Armstrong was a special player, and occupies a unique niche in team history. Drafted in 1987, he blocked for Steve Grogan. He blocked for Drew Bledsoe. And for a handful of plays in 2000, he blocked for a rookie backup named Tom Brady. Armstrong, a six-time Pro Bowler who started 212 of 220 games (including his last 118 in a row), was the bridge between the hapless Pat logo teams of my childhood and the embryonic dynasty Flying Elvis Patriots of this millennium.
He was a great blocker, a great teammate, and a great Patriot. His #78 is one of only seven jerseys retired by the team (I suspect there are more coming). I only wish he’d been able to stick around one more year to get a ring.