Patriots Memories: Your First Patriots Game

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Mike the Brit, Apr 15, 2007.

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  1. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target Supporter

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    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the threads started by NoCalPatriot this off-season about following the Patriots in the old days. I bet you never thought when you were having all those wild times that, thirty years on, people would be so happy to relive them with you!

    I can’t go back that far but I thought that it would be fun to start a thread for people to reminisce about their first Patriots game. Mine meant a lot to me. Though I’ve followed the Patriots since the 1981 season, it’s been at a distance. Last season, though, I came to New England and, thanks to some help, got the chance to go to my first game.

    And what a game it was! At home to the hated and despised J*E*T*S, coached by the Perfidious Penguin himself, Eric Mangini. The day was one continuous downpour, soaking right through everything that I had on so that, by the time I got home, I was shivering from head to foot. Oh, and (in case you’ve forgotten) we lost!

    I don’t have a car, so I had to take the train from South Station. I think that this was the slowest train I’ve ever been on that wasn’t in the Third World. Foxboro is, what, twenty miles from the center of Boston, but the train took more than an hour and a half to get there. At one point we seemed to go past the stadium and come back in reverse. Anyway, we were due to get to the stadium at 12:15 and I was to meet up with my companion by the pro shop at 12:30. But it was after 12:30 when we arrived and I had to make a dash through the rain. Fortunately, he was there and, having exchanged photographs, we had no trouble recognizing each other even though we already looked like drowned rats.

    No time for tailgating and socializing but we did take the long way through the stadium to get to our (pigeon-perch) seats. I’ve been to some big sports stadia in my time (old Wembley, Olympiastadion Munich, etc., etc.) but Gillette feels the biggest. The impression is quite different from a European sports stadium – the fans are further back from the pitch and there isn’t the enclosed “bowl” feeling. I can’t compare it with other football stadia but however loud you shout from seats like ours (and shout loud I certainly did!) your sound doesn’t link up with what’s going on lower down or across the other side. Not like “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at Anfield. The whole thing seems incredibly spacious – there’s lots of room on the ramps and under the seats for concessions and so on. Of course, I couldn’t go to a football game without BEER. $7 for a Bud Light – but there you go. The best bit was that I was carded by the guy selling the stuff, to the great amusement of my companion (hint: I was born in the same year as our esteemed coach).

    One thing that interested me all the way through was the crowd. The atmosphere on the train was very good – a bit less exuberant than I might have thought (it was raining so hard, of course, and I presume that most of these folks were season ticket holders who had been to plenty of games already) but friendly. The crowd was definitely well mixed socially and by age – predominantly “blue collar” (just my guess) and with more older folks than I’d expected. One kid had on a Harvard sweat shirt and a Patriots hat which I thought funny. I don’t imagine you get many Oxford University t-shirts at Chelsea games! At the stadium there were quite a few Jester fans but they behaved pretty well. Naturally, they were pleased with the way things went and let everybody know about it but the obnoxiousness was of the right kind, if you get what I mean – part of the craic, not the kind of threatening aggression you get at soccer. I stood in the queue for the men’s room behind a guy with a Jets Ty Law jersey on, which I thought was pretty funny (“Yeah. He screwed you – and he screwed us too!”, he said when I commented on it.) I can remember when going to soccer was like that – you could shout and cheer and have a laugh with the other team’s fans too. I thought it was great.

    The less said about the game itself, of course, the better. Watching from such a high viewpoint, you can forget about understanding much about the line play but you can certainly see how the play develops with defensive backs and receivers in a way that you never can on TV (except when Mike Carlson does replays on British Channel 5). Given the way things went that day, this wasn’t altogether a good thing …

    On the way back to the train, I had the great pleasure of being introduced to Big Al and Mrs B. They were as gracious as you would have expected, despite being somewhat occupied trying to dismantle a reluctant canopy in pretty dismal weather.

    All in all, the occasion was great. The way I look on it is if you can go to the stadium in lousy weather and watch the team lose and still enjoy it then this is probably for you. I can’t wait to try to score a ticket to a game next season. Next ambition: to get to a tailgate, if I can. And big, big thanks to Miguel for making it possible!
  2. LloydBraun

    LloydBraun Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    I was down to see the pats and Fins in Nov. of 96, the year that Parcells was so h0rny to get to NY that he kept kicking to Desmond Howard during the Super Bowl.

    The night before the game we stayed at the End Zone INN down from the stadium. The state troopers were there to arrest some old guy that was with some lady that looked like a prostitute. The troopers argued with him for a while before chasing him acrossed the yard and arresting him.

    Before the game, Will McDonough passed outside the proshop and said it was gonna be a cold one and that we would freeze. We were ok. It also took us a few hours to find scalper tix.

    The game was classic Bledsoe. He started slow and the "faithful" were screaming for Zolak. But, Bledsoe ended up lighting up the fish for 42 pys I believe.

    There was also a fight behind us in the stands b/w a Pats and Fish fan. Classic.

    To top it off, the alternator in my buddies car went on the way home to Canada, just inside the Maine border. It was one of those trips that you'll remember forever.
  3. p8ryts

    p8ryts Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    1965 Fenway Park against the Raiders. Great day. Working in DC, got a free flight on an Eastern shuttle Sunday morning, took the T to the game had a great time, don't remember who won but the 65 team had some players, Jim Nance, Nick Buonoconti, Larry Garron, flew home after the game. Great day.
  4. BradfordPatsFan

    BradfordPatsFan In the Starting Line-Up

    #11 Jersey

    My first game was in September of 1996 vs Jacksonville. Not one of the capacity crowd thought, at any point, that we'd be watching an AFCCG preview.

    They had lost their first two at Miami and Buffalo, then shut out the Cardinals at home. The Jags were starting to hit their stride with Brunnell, Natrone Means, Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, and Andre Rison.

    What stood out most to me were two things:

    1st was a Jacksonville hail mary completed in the end zone in front of me at the end of the first half. They completed another one, nearly in the same spot, but the player went down at the 1 at the end of regulation.

    2nd was the crowd's reaction towards Adam Vinitieri. He was villified for his inconsistencies early in that season, his rookie year. After making an xp, he had missed one earlier, someone behind me yelled "Did you let him throw it through there!?"

    The Pats moved the ball well early, Martin cut through the Jacksonville defense with ease. However it didn't last.

    After Jacksonville tied the game at 25 people were grumbling. Same old Pats, blowing a 22-0 lead.

    However, in overtime the Pats went right down the field and AV hit the winning fg, 25-22 in overtime. Great first game.

    It was the start of a stretch for me where I went to games in four seasons (not consecutively) where the Patriots went to the Super Bowl (vs SD in 01, vs Jacksonville and Miami and 03, vs Cinci in 04).

    To this day, the Pats have never lost a game I've been to.
  5. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    hello mike the brit

    mike, good to see your post. glad to know you came to new england. would love to get your impressions of the culture change. BTW, is a "canopy" what we call an umbrella?

    i converted from an oilers fan to ze patriots after a 1967 pats-oilers playoff game. it was my first exposure to oilers fans and i hated it.
    didn't get to a pats game until, maybe, 1975. the teams of that era remain my favorites.
    it was still the era of the 270-lb lineman. julius adams, 'sugar bear' hamilton, steve nelson, don blackmon, and a secondary comprised entirely of 1st round draft picks. grogan, lenkaitis, hannah, leon gray, pete brock. sam 'bam' cunningham, the man responsible for integrating SEC college football.
    don calhoun, mack herron.
    'all-world' russ francis, and don hasselbeck (yes, the dad) were the TEs. in 1976, randy vataha and darryl stingley were WRs.

    i believe i saw a patriots-dolphins game in september. 1975 or '76. patriots trounced the fish. i remember being able to holler at players; they heard it and sometimes responded. pats jerseys were not easy to get, franchises had not yet discovered merchandising. i remember fighting, not on the order of european football, but definitely to the point where a pats game was not a suitable family outing. it was also the era of streaking (people running onto the field, naked) and flashing.

    must say, as a former texas high school footballer, that the old foxboro stadium was worse than any texas 1940s-era municipal facility i'd seen. there was nothing to recommend, except that was the PATRIOTS' stadium and they were no longer a vagabond franchise (more on that if you want). the seats were closer to the field tho.

    my most vivid memories of that era concern the 1978 game in which darryl stingly returned to foxboro. in a wheelchair. it was the infamous 'monday night football' game, where 2 fans actually FELL OUT of the stadium, maybe 150 were arrested, and 55 went to hospitals.
    there was a threat of rain, so fans brought rain gear. i had a fifth of tequila concealed in an unopened umbrella. the guard surely felt the bottle, he'd grabbed my umbrella. he let me go in. that's about one-third of my recollections. if anyone wants the entire story say so.
  6. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target Supporter

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    Re: hello mike the brit

    Ciao, Duke! :rocker:

    Canopy: a covering (usually of cloth) that serves as a roof to shelter an area from the weather.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2007
  7. miDeuce

    miDeuce Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #50 Jersey

    I was too young to remember exactly what game it was... sometime in the mid-80's at the old stadium, I think at the time it was called Sullivan Stadium?? Anyway, the only thing I remember, and I have a very clear memory of it, was that our seats were near the end of the stadium so you were basically looking out into the parking lot and I remember looking down there and seeing my first ever drunken brawl. No idea who the pats played or what the score was, but I remember watching those two drunk guys beat the crap out of eachother before being taken away in handcuffs.
  8. thomas144

    thomas144 Practice Squad Player

    Do you mean, actually attend a Patriots game in person?

    I have never done that, and as far as I know, I've never been to Foxboro. A few months ago my wife and I drove to Rhode Island, and past through the area, I found that interesting.

    I would be interested in attending a game someday, but I hate the thought of spending money to see a professional football game, plus my impression has always been that the experience would be far less fun than watching the game on television.
  9. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    some folks say pro football was made for tv

    for me, going to a game is about getting there early, tailgating for awhile, going in to look at warmups, and do serious people-watching.
    the only american crowds more fun to watch than a pro football crown are:
    1. college football
    2. boxing

    it has gotten so that, for me, nfl football is better seen on tv.
    and in the revenue picture, stadium attendance is only the third-largest revenue source
    in my impression, the top 6 are:

    national tv contracts
    local media rights

    it could be that, 25 years from now, nfl games will be played in a studio.
    we'll pay to watch games, and pay for sirius.
    national and local media will be out of the picture.
  10. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah Supporter Supporter

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    Re: some folks say pro football was made for tv

    It's probably a sign of geezerhood but I'm not sure. Memory fades. I was young. I THINK my 1st game was the one vs the Houston Oilers in Hahvid Stadium. Blanda was QB, Hennigan and Groman were the receivers. You could walk out right next to the players who mingled with the crowd. I couldn't believe how tall the Houston guys were (guys I mentioned were about 6'3") and how short the Pats players were,e.g. our TE Tony Romeo could not have been over 5'10".
  11. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker Supporter Supporter

    Re: hello mike the brit

    Mike, isn't New England so much better than Old England ? Just kidding, I love both. This is a great thread, and you are a great Patriot's fan. I give you tons of credit for coming to the colonies to see an American football game. you are truly a dedicated, highly knowledgable Pat's fan !!

    As far as my first experience, I've been a Patriot's fan since 1976. I grew up in New York City, and was brainwashed by my dad to become a NY Jets fan, but in 1974, watching NFL highlites on Saturday nights, I became fascinated with "Little" Mack Herron, and my fascination with the Patriots began, and become a full time fan in 1975 & 1976.

    I finally got my first tickets in 1979 when my family and I were going on a trip to Boston, and went to a Pats/Jets game in old Foxboro stadium (I think it was called Schaeffer Stadium at the time) on September 6th 1979. I couldn't ask for a better first Pat's game, the Pats won 56-3 !!! My first Pat's game was the biggest Pat's rout in the history of the Patriots. They could do no wrong in that game, bombs from Grogan to Stanley Morgan, Harold Jackson, Russ Francis. Ran all over them with Sam "the Bam" Cunningham, Don Calhoun and Andy Johnson. Defense just crushed the Jets led by Steve Nelson (my favorite Patriot at the time). It was a great time had by all (except my mom and dad who are big time Jet's fans).

    Went to another Pat/Jets game on Oct 28th 1984, Pats won again 30-20, despite being behind at half time, basically crushed them in the second half.

    I haven't been since then, haven't been to the new stadium. I moved to San Francisco in 1999, and lived there until Oct 2006. Now I'm back in NYC, and plan on getting tickets for a game in October 2007.

    Great thread and great memories, I love this stuff, and love Pat's history.
  12. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah Supporter Supporter

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    Re: some folks say pro football was made for tv

    My favorite early Pats game memories were the cheap Friday night games sitting in the bleachers in Fenway Park. Billy Joe, a fat RB for Denver killed us. I saw San Diego's Lance Allworth "Bambi" one of the most acrobatic wideouts I ever saw kill us. I saw Chuck Shonta (a native American player for the Pats) have an INT bounce right off his chest, over his head and then caught by the enemy wideout who scored a TD. Me, I hated Indians for years after that experience. There was no PC police back then.
  13. Sean Pa Patriot

    Sean Pa Patriot Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    1978 - went to shea stadium in ny pats vs jets, leahy missed a fg at the end of that game, and the Pats won 19-17.. Richard Todd started for the Jets, and gave way to Matt Robbinson...

    My first game at Foxboro Stadium was in Oct 94 .. Against the fish and the Pats lost that one 20-3....
  14. Murphys95

    Murphys95 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Right with ya Sean - 1978. November 12, 1978 to be exact.

    I was just a kid; my dad and I took a charter bus from Springfield to Schaefer Stadium. The 8-2 Pats took on the 6-4 Oilers. It was a turnover, slopfest but the Pats jumped out to an early 23-0 lead on Bum Phillip's team. The final score though - Houston 26, New England 23. Ugh.

    No matter the score, I was hooked. Loved the Pats ever since.
  15. Jimke

    Jimke In the Starting Line-Up

    My first game was the inaugural game against the Broncos in 1960.

    The parking was so lousy that I had to park near Kenmore Square

    and run to the game. The final score was Broncos 13 Pats 10.

    Cornerback Chuck Shonta tried to intercept a pass and missed. The

    result was a long pass completion which eventually resulted in a game

    winning field goal by Gene Mingo.
  16. patriotsdynasty12189

    patriotsdynasty12189 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Jacksonville in the play-offs 2 years ago. Greatest time ive ever had. Asante's INT sent the roof up. Willie McGinnest was an animal in that game.

    Guy in front of me and my dad was texting someone right before Ben Watsons' touchdown. His friend told him to watch this.
  17. italian pat patriot

    italian pat patriot In the Starting Line-Up

    #12 Jersey

    i love this kind of threads too
  18. Patriotic

    Patriotic Supporter Supporter

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    1976 in Foxboro against the Bills . . . Mike Haynes became the first Patriot to return a punt for a TD . . . O J Simpson & Mel Lunsford got in a fight and were thrown out of the game - O J used to kill us back then so it was advantage Pats when they both got thrown out . . . Pats won. Rowdy crowd . . . all sorts of mayhem . . . lots of heavy beer drinking . . . saw folks smoking weed in that grassy area in the SW corner of the stadium. . . . the old dirt parking lots were third worldish compared to what I saw last season when attending the new stadium for the first time.
  19. ilduce06410

    ilduce06410 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    weed in the SW stadium corner?

    hell, i sat there in the stands and went thru a gram of c_ke at one game. the typical reaction when you lit a joint was that people wanted a toke. same in my beloved fenway bleachers.
    kraft and sons were there in those years. it was definitely not a family atmosphere. it got worse into the late '70s. but you never knew. i remember patrick sullivan telling me face-to-face, in late 1984, that the worst group they'd ever had was a bunch of insurance agents from hartford.

    if i remember correctly, no 'smoking materials' are allowed in the the razor. i haven't smoked a joint in 20 years, but it would be hard to watch someone get dragged off for lighting up a cigarette, much less herb.

    the parking lots were as much fun as the games. but by the time ya entered the so-called stadium, those interesting folks who'd been tailgating (drinking) were stiff and ready to be bad. i understand the crowd at a jets game is one of the nfl's worst.

    for me, i want to go to an oakland raiders home game before i die. look at those people on the tv screen. skulls and the like. friend of mine had season tix for the LA incarnation of raiders. he and wife were at every game for years. he said it was a nice crowd, that it was like halloween. he also said the danger was in the tailgating.

    you never know about them california people.
  20. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker Supporter Supporter

    I was at that game at Shea too, and in 1979 also (I believe, might have been 1980). The 1979 or 1980 game, the halftime entertainment at Shea was some strange radio controlled flying machines. One guy had made a flying lawnmower, it took off from the middle of the field, through the goal posts (I thought that part was cool) and then went out of control, crashing into the lower levels of Shea. It hit's some guy right in the head, and the guy later on dies in the hospital. The guy was a Patriots fan !!! What are the freakin odds of it hitting a Patriot's fan in a sea of 60,000 Jet's fans ? You can't make this sh*t up, (I have never been able to find that story online anywhere). I wish I could, but I'm not that good a writer, I'm no Stephen King.

    I had season tickets at Shea (and the Meadowlands) for about 5 years, so people in my section liked me 7 outta 8 home games, lol.
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