THE 2007 New England Patriots went down in history as one of the greatest teams in history.
As one of only three teams to go unbeaten in a regular season, one of the keys to their success was a core of veterans including center Dan Koppen.
Although he preferred basketball to football as a high school student in Pennsylvania, according to his interview with Lehigh Valley LiveKoppen played as a center for Boston College for three years.
Koppen was named an All-Big East second-teamer three times and was ultimately selected in the fifth round (164th overall) by the Patriots in the 2003 NFL Draft.
Koppen had been a starting XI for New England since the second week of his rookie season and never looked back.
Between 2003 and 2010, he started 119 games as a center offense for Bill Belichick and blocked in three Super Bowls for league legend Tom Brady.
But while they brought in the Vince Lombardi after XXXVIII and XXXIX, Eli Manning’s New York Giants proved too much for the then-undefeated Pats of 2007.
While in New England, Koppen was named to a Pro Bowl and a second-team All-Pro, but his career as a key wheeler ended abruptly in 2011 when a week 1 fracture in his ankle ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
When he dropped out the following offseason, his time as a snapper for an NFL legend was over and he switched instead to the Denver Broncos, where he became the only player to snap for both Brady and Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
Comparing the two ESPNKoppen explained: “Tom is more of the relaxed type. And Peyton has more of a coaching attitude.”
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“He really always grinds. And both approaches work for everyone. To each his own.”
However, both had their similarities.
Koppen said, “You want people out there who know what’s going on so they don’t have to worry about anything else.”
“They want to know that the line is taken care of and that the big guys up front are ready and they don’t have to worry about that.”
A starter for the 2012 Broncos, Koppen suffered a cruciate ligament tear during training camp in 2013 and never played down again.
He retired the following offseason.
Careers as a broadcaster and high school football coach followed before he took his hobby “to the next level” in 2018.
That year, Koppen co-founded the LineSider brewery in Rhode Island Sports Business Journal: “I learned and started homebrewing from my brother-in-law.
“And then I had a mutual friend who was a home brewer and was looking for a career change.
“We got together and it took a couple of years to get it going, but we planned it and brewed a lot of beer.”
“That’s where it came from: It was just homebrewing, and we wanted to take it to the next level.”
But shortly after the opening said Koppen Boston.com Brady hasn’t had a visitor yet – something he wanted to fix.
“One day we’ll make it,” he said.
“For everything we went through nine years playing, I think he owes me one of my beers.”
It’s unclear if Brady ever visited or not, but if not, now that he’s retired from the league, he may find time for a trip to Rhode Island in the future.