Weekend in New England…
Well, it’s time to pay off one of my two debts owed to Julia of Julia’s Rants for several wager losses. I should have been more responsive to my obligation but business travel and work have been very challenging lately.
The two losses were the final regular season series loss by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the Halloween dismissal of the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots. It goes without saying which teams Julia was pulling for. Sadly for me, the results were in her favor.
For the loss by the Yankees, I owe Julia a couple of signs on my blog. I promise that I’ll have them up by Thanksgiving. With the loss by the Vikings, I have to write a blog about Julia’s favorite football team. I know this is very off-topic for a baseball blog but keep in mind this is for Julia…
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
When I was a kid, I remember reading about the old American Football League (AFL) and its original members. The Boston Patriots were one of those teams. In fact, when they were awarded their franchise in 1959, they were the eighth and final team.
Mike Holovak is the guy who stands out to me as the head coach of the Patriots in the 1960’s, however, it was long-time Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban who was the team’s first head coach.
My first real meaningful recollection of the Patriots was after they moved to Foxboro and became the New England Patriots. By that time, the head coach was Chuck Fairbanks. The year that stands out for me is 1974. The Patriots started season 5-0 behind QB Jim Plunkett, RB Sam “Bam” Cunningham, and WR Randy Vataha. They would only win two more games that season to finish 7-7, but one of the wins came at the expense of my Vikings.
Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
I know, Julia‘s favorite was actually this guy (Steve Grogan)…
Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots did play in one championship game, the 1963 AFL Championship. They lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers, and would not advance to post-season play again until 1976. They won their first AFC East division championship in 1978, but like in 1976, they were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.
My next significant memory of the Patriots happened in 1985. The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but it coincided with the great Super Bowl Shuffle by the legendary Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears as the Patriots lost 46-10.
Sorry Julia, but it’s hard to pass by Walter Payton’s name without giving him some sort of tribute. He was one of the greatest players to set foot on the gridiron…
As the organization moved into the 1990’s, their long history of futility began to change. In 1993, Bill Parcells was named the head coach and the following year, the team was acquired by owner Robert Kraft. Parcells would get the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1996 but they’d lose to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. Hmmm, no wonder Julia dislikes #4!…
Brian Bahr/Allsport/Getty Images
After Parcells left, Pete Carroll was brought in for a few seasons. Despite making the play-offs two of his three seasons, the results were unimpressive and he was discharged. Still, a decade of some success had transformed the organization into one with a winning tradition despite the absence of Super Bowl success.
The arrival of the 21st Century also brought championship success for the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl in three of four years (2001, 2003, and 2004). If memory serves correctly, the new century also had a positive impact for another Boston area team that shall go nameless! ;) With head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, the Patriots emerged as the team to beat in the 2000’s.
The Patriots did miss out on football immortality in 2007 when the team went undefeated during the regular season but lost to what I felt was an inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl. How many teams can say that a 18-1 record was a failure? None, except the New England Patriots. I am sure that there were a few former Miami Dolphins celebrating that day…
The Patriots remain a championship quality organization and they have been able to successfully replace aging stars and over-priced free agents through the years. They are currently tied for the division lead in the AFC East with a 6-2 mark and seem well positioned for much success in the second half of the season. With Tom Brady at the controls, it is a certainty that they’ll have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011.
P.S. They won’t miss Randy Moss but I think I will… L*
*Brought to you by the Fire Brad Childress Immediately Committee.