Earlier this week, everybody’s favorite big man, Vince Wilfork, was elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame. Any Patriots fan over the age of 10 probably remembers something about Vince, and it’s important for us to honor his impactful career on the field.
Talented From The Beginning
Vince Wilfork was selected by the New England Patriots with the 21st pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Standing at 6″2 and well over 300 pounds, Wilfork possesed raw power and skill that very few Nose Tackles carried. His talent was one-of-a-kind, and he was due for a successful career ahead of him.
Wilfork hit the ground running in his Rookie year, starting six games but playing in all 16 of them. Wilfork amounted for 27 solo tackles, two sacks, and two passes deflected; all solid numbers for a Nose Tackle, yet alone a rookie who has limited experience in the game.
Not only did Wilfork show promise during the regular season, but he also appeared in the playoffs for 3 games, eventually winning the Super Bowl.
By his second season WIilfork was the clear cut, number one starter; starting in all 16 games with the team and amounting for over 100 total tackles. While Vince’s sack and deflected pass totals saw a slight decrease, his overall ability to disrupt the flow of the game and make quality tackles was showing. Vince Wilfork was showing promising development.
<img class="lazyload" decoding="async" src="https://i0.wp.com/sportshub.cbsistatic.com/i/r/2021/06/16/797bafcf-8f5a-4cc6-a8fc-8783fa2fb07f/thumbnail/1200x675/a85f0722f263875b862031c27aaf67d6/gettyimages-462639140.jpg?w=880&ssl=1" alt="Vince Wilfork voted into Patriots Hall of Fame: Five-time Pro Bowl DT was a two-time Super Bowl champion - CBSSports.com" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Vince Wilfork during Super Bowl XLIX (via CBS Sports)
Vince Wilfork Continues to Impress
For the next four seasons Wilfork only missed 3 regular-season games, continuing to be a ferocious player. In the 2008 season, after amassing his first fumble recovery of his career and over 80 total tackles in the regular season, the 325 pound Nose Tackle was awarded his first Pro Bowl along with All-Pro recognition.
By the time the 2008 season ended, everybody knew that Vince Wilfork was not stopping. Already heavily respected within the Patriots organization, Wilfork was getting respect from the entire league. Vince certainly didn’t crack under the pressure, as his next few seasons would be the greatest of his entire career.
Despite missing 3 games in the 2009 season, Vince Wilfork was top-5 out of all Nose Tackles in combined and solo tackles. Wilfork also accumulated a ridiculous 26 total tackles in a 2009 Wild Card match-up against the Ravens. At just 28, Vince already had one Super Bowl, two Pro-Bowl selections, and one All-Pro selection. The future was bright.
Following the best year of his career, Wilfork would see even more increase in his game, playing in all 16 regular season games and collecting 122 total tackles. He also saw more and more reward for his outstanding performances; collecting yet another Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.
From the beginning of the 2009 season to the end of the 2010 season, Vince Wilfork would accumulate 204 total tackles, two Pro Bowls, and All-Pro recognition.
<img class="lazyload" decoding="async" src="https://i0.wp.com/www.masslive.com/resizer/tZA1V6i3p8U5FbEI5fY_dMPPC8w=/1280x0/smart/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/advancelocal/OCYPVXGZDRATXIBSC2IXA32H4A.jpg?w=880&ssl=1" alt="Vince Wilfork voted to Patriots Hall of Fame, edging Mike Vrabel, Logan Mankins - masslive.com" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Vince Wilfork fashioning a smile (via masslive.com)
Wilfork Continues To Shine
At the beginning of the 2010 season Wilfork was well into his prime. But Vince, by no means, saw any decrease in his game, consistently climbing on a yearly basis.
Fast forward to three-straight Pro Bowls, three-straight All-Pro selections, and a promising playoff-run in 2014, and Vince Wilfork and the New England Patriots were only one game away from winning the Super Bowl, again.
Thanks to relentless fight, spirit, and a Malcolm Butler interception, Vince Wilfork and the New England Patriots got their second Super Bowl ring in ten years. There from the beginning, Wilfork witnessed the heartbreaks, the heart-stoppers, and the miracles. Although his name isn’t stapled to most big plays, without Vince it is unclear whether the team would be the way it is today. His leadership and performance affected the team in a way that could not be justified by statistics.
2014 would be Wilfork’s last year with the Patriots. He signed a short, two-year contract with the Houston Texans, before announcing his retirement in 2017.
Thank you, Vince.
<img class="lazyload" decoding="async" src="https://i0.wp.com/turnto10.com/resources/media2/16x9/full/1015/center/80/3edec84f-9b36-453d-858f-223165ad3b92-large16x9_TexansWilforkFootba_Alle.jpg?w=880&ssl=1" alt="Former Patriots standout Wilfork officially retires from NFL | WJAR" data-recalc-dims="1" />
Vince Wilfork celebrated Malcolm Butler’s iconic interception in the Super Bowl (via WJAR)