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  1. PatsRI

    PatsRI PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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  2. aabtec

    aabtec Rookie

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  3. Willie55

    Willie55 Rookie

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    Good story. Wasn't Henderson and the snow plow honored a few years back when they honored some old time Patriots at a game. I want to say it was the 40th anniversary team they did in 2000.
  4. PatsDeb

    PatsDeb PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Here's the story:

    "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

    We New Englanders love this weather. As long, that is, as there's a football game to be played in it.

    It seemed such a waste yesterday, having all that snow swirling down, and the only football game to watch being telecast from sun-drenched Hawaii, where the palm trees, and hula girls, sway enticingly.

    What, really, was the point of shovelling the driveway if you didn't have to drive to Foxboro to see the Patriots?

    When the weather has been most frightful, that's when our beloved Pats have been particularly delightful.

    Some of the best games in club history -- or, at least, some of the most memorable -- have been played in the worst conditions.

    Remember the Snow Bowl, four years ago, when Tom Brady's fumble was fortuitously ruled a "tuck," and Adam Vinatieri made the greatest kick of his life (yes, better than his two, game-winning, Super Bowl boots) by driving a frozen football 45 yards, on a low line, through the driving snow, for the field goal that sent the AFC semifinal playoff game against Oakland into overtime?

    That was the last game ever played in the old Foxboro Stadium, and may well have been the best. Vinatieri won it with another field goal in overtime, that one from 23 yards, and the Patriots went on to win their first Super Bowl by upsetting the Rams, 20-17, on a 48-yard field goal by Vinatieri as time expired.

    But -- perhaps it was the snow plows crunching down the road -- it was Mark Henderson, and Ron Meyer, and Don Shula, and John Smith who came to mind yesterday.

    It was the Snow Plow game, even more than the Snow Bowl, that brought back warm memories on a chilly afternoon.

    It was criminal, Shula insisted, what Meyer did in sending a plow on to the field to clear a spot in the ice and snow for Smith to boot what would turn out to be the game-winning field goal in a 3-0 victory for New England over Miami. And that was before Shula learned that the plow-driver, Henderson, was a convict on work-release from Walpole State Prison, where he was serving time for burglary.

    It was Dec. 12, 1982, and the two longtime AFC East rivals were in the fourth quarter of a scoreless tie. Both teams were having trouble moving the ball [and the officials had trouble seeing the yard markers, which was why the plow was on the field]. Passing was next to impossible, with winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour and the fingers of the quarterbacks and receivers as cold as icicles. So both offenses kept the ball on the ground.

    Players on both teams, and on both sides of the ball, were slipping and sliding throughout the frigid afternoon, the linemen looking like snowbound cars, spinning their wheels in a desperate attempt to gain traction.

    The Patriots' only scoring opportunity -- a chip-shot field-goal attempt from just 18 yards late in the second quarter -- had gone awry when Smith slipped and kicked the ball off a lineman's helmet.

    So, when the Pats finally got another chance, reaching Miami's 16-yard line with just 4:45 left to play, they weren't going to take any chances. They called a timeout, and Smith dropped to his knees and began to scrape at the snow, hurriedly trying to clear a spot from which to kick.

    Suddenly, his efforts were interrupted by the roar of a tractor heading his way. Waved on to the field by Meyer, Henderson swept along the 20-yard line, then abruptly veered over to where Smith and his holder, Matt Cavanaugh, were trying to clear the ground.

    "I was just trying to find a spot to put the ball down," Cavanaugh recalled. "The next thing I know, the tractor was coming up behind me. I didn't know what to make of it."

    Meyer at first denied he had signalled to Henderson to go on to the field, even though the coach had been spotted running along the sideline, waving frantically.

    "I was just waving at the kicker," he insisted.

    But, with the smile of a small boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar, Meyer finally had to admit the truth.

    "I waved him on," Meyer acknowledged. "I wanted him to brush off the snow."

    Shula most certainly wasn't smiling. Despite the frigid temperature, he was boiling hot under the collar.

    "It's hard for me to think," he said indignantly, "that anyone would take pride in doing that. I believe there's a rule in the book dealing with unfair acts. The officials never should have let it happen."

    Bob Frederic, who refereed the game, explained the "official" point of view.

    "At the time when the sweeper came out," he said, "it was not under our control or jurisdiction in any way."

    Frederic added that, had the Dolphins been able to move into position for a game-tying field goal, he would have insisted that a spot be plowed for them, too.

    But that was no consolation to Shula, who said Meyer would "have to live with" his decision.

    Pangs of conscience seldom plagued Meyer, who came to New England from Southern Methodist, where he had resurrected a moribund program by recruiting the likes of running backs Eric Dickerson and Craig James. Not long after Meyer's departure, SMU received the "death penalty" from the NCAA for egregious and repeated rules violations.

    "I think the whole incident was blown out of proportion," Meyer said of the Snow Plow Scandal. "I was unaware of any illegal aspects. It was just a spur-of-the-moment decision. There wasn't anything malicious about it.

    "I saw John on his hands and knees, trying to get the snow cleared, and, all of a sudden, it hit me: 'Why not send a plow out there?' "

    That mark left in the snow by Henderson and his infamous plow left an indelible mark on Patriots history."
  5. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    Thanks (I think) for reminding me why I always disliked the humorless and self-righteous Shula.
  6. stcjones

    stcjones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    Shula


    although a good coach....was a whining crybaby......much like Steve Spurrier....and even the STEALER head coach......Bill Coward....
  7. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Rookie

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    25,716 fans attended that game. I wasn't one of them, we had season tix but couldn't make it in from Western Mass. because of the road conditions. Three weeks later there were only 36,000 Patriots fans at Schaefer for the game to clinch a playoff spot.

    Nice to see the New England writers are finally covering the Patriots. :)

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