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Super Wins Should Have Started With Fairbanks

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  1. PatsFans.com Article

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    Super Wins Should Have Started With Fairbanks
    By: Bob George

    Fairbanks was big time. He's at the table with both Bills. And that's one very special table....

  2. wizwor

    wizwor Rookie

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    Totally agree and thoroughly enjoyed your history lesson. Sat on those cold benches with my dad and his brother back them.
  3. PatsFanInVa

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    Being an old guy, I too remember the beauty of being a Patriots fan and the fan of an actual "player" on the NFL stage.

    I disagree with the "best team evah" tag for the '76 Pats. It's the same old fantasy football logic: name great players, cite a better balance, blah blah blah, and declare an ultimately futile effort superior to winning efforts. Granted, the differences are in the stratosphere: the difference between winning a Super Bowl and losing an AFC championship. That's a difference Pats fans didn't have to worry about before '76. Bully.

    But two points:

    1) Ring or no ring. That shall be the measure of greatness; behold, a good doctrine has been given unto you, forsake it not.

    (Don't confuse this for the all-too-common "nothing less than a ring is acceptable" idiocy. 31 teams don't win it every year. But I'll be damned if I throw teams that actually won it under the bus in favor of teams that did not.)

    2) Citing "balance" while comparing the 1976 edition to later editions is inane. Really? The team was "balanced"? Yeah okay, true. But by the same token, the game has lurched toward offensive point production, particularly aerial point production, in such a way that you can't just say "hey look, we had a more balanced attack" and have that be the slam dunk.

    2a) In terms of talent matched to the era, while you're discounting the meaning of winning the Super Bowl, you might as well crown the 2007 team. They are what you thought they were. You want to crown their... okay, you know the rest.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, Bob, but you got a little carried away there. And I'll join you in a toast to the Fairbanks Pats (the Pats of my childhood.)

    Maybe they woulda shoulda coulda done it. But I remember reading a Sports Illustrated from 76 or possibly 77 early in the season, where they declared that this would be the season the Pats finally put it all together -- and calling them "chronic underachievers."

    Really? That's the greatest Pats team ever?

    Call me conventional, but I'll put him the category as the one crying in the wilderness to announce another guy (Parcells) crying in the wilderness, before Belichick's arrival.
  4. zoostation

    zoostation Rookie

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    The roughing the passer call on Sugar Bear Hamilton against Ken 'The Snake' Stabler was a joke. Pats beat Oakland 48 - 17 in the regular season, and should have won this divisional playoff. They were screwed as refs handed Oakland the game. Raiders went on to win the Superbowl after a gift call.

    The Raiders were good that year, but the Pats were better.
  5. PatsFanInVa

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    Right, we won the woulda-coulda-shoulda bowl in 76, and the Raiders won it in 01.
  6. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid On the Roster

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    Do you ever remember reading about or hearing about that Exhibition Game ~ it might've been against the Colts ~ when the Patriots simply ran the ball something like 15 times in a row on a single Drive ~ culminating in a TouchDown ~ purportedly so that Coach FairBanks could impress upon his own team just how dominant our Offensive Line could be? I don't know how accurately I'm remembering that, but I would love to find that somewhere.
  7. zoostation

    zoostation Rookie

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    Let me rephrase. The Patriots were the most talented team in the NFL in 1976. We all know the most talented team doesn't always win it all.
  8. bagwell368

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    First thing I thought about when hearing the news is what the team was like before and after Fairbanks.

    Before, pathetic team coached by the likes of Holovak, Rush, and Mazur.
    After, pathetic team coached by the likes of Erhardt and Meyer.
    Fairbanks gave us hope, and then like Lucy snatched the ball away from Charlie Brown.

    As for being the best team? I know we would have clobbered the Vikings in the SB if we got there. But our team was:

    Meh on defense (better on the ground), poor covering kickoffs. Below average passing (very little to the WR's, mostly dump offs to the RB's and TE). Great rushing attack.

    That Steelers team had a killer D and running attack. The Steelers, Raiders and Pats were the best teams, hard to say one was clearly better then the others.

    Edit Add:

    Of course Drieth should burn in hell for his call which he admitted later was bogus. The NFL never had him call another Pats game although he was a ref for many years after. It's easy to get that Cheshire Cat grin when someone goes off about "the tuck". That's not near as bad - calling the rule vs. purposely fudging the outcome of the game for a team you thought "had class" and an owner that you liked. I could never get sick of watching BB rip Davis off in deals for Moss and Seymour either, too bad he wasn't alive still, in 3 years we could get 2 #1's and 2 #2's for TB from him.
  9. patsfan13

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    Actually there was a second horrible call that happened before the final Raider drive, Villapiano hit R Francis well before the ball arrived and held his arms the pass hit him in the chest no call, the pass would have resulted in a first down and the Raiders never get the ball.
  10. PatsWickedPissah

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    I thought I was the only one who remembered this. Yup, he was behind Russ, grabbed his biceps and the ball bounced off Francis' chest. No PI call.

    I'll never forget the game or the RTP call. A friend jumped up and pounded his fist on the table shattering it. His old immigrant Italian grandfather who spoke no English was horrified and totally confused.

    RIP Chuck.
  11. crew1954

    crew1954 Rookie

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    This pisses me off:

    "The Patriots missed the playoffs in 1977 because of some strange tiebreaker fluke which rewarded the Colts for purposely losing a home game in December against the awful Detroit Lions".

    The NFL wasted another good Pats team with that BS.

    Have the ever changing NFL tiebreaking rules ever benefited the Pats?

    Recently 2002 and 2009 were years the Pats got hosed.

    I remember that ass wipe Jones laughing it up that game. He was always a cawky punk. Roger Carr had some blazing speed though.

    edit: and for those who didn't see that Raiders playoff game and/or who focus on the Sugar Bear call, the entire game reffing was a joke.

    How about the no call on Atkinson punching Francis and breaking his nose?

    The no call on Villepiano for pass interference on a throw to Francis where the ref was standing right there and Phil pulled both of Russ's arms back so the ball bounced off his chest? That catch would have sealed the game even more than Welker catching the ball 2 years ago in the SB.

    Villipiano admitted later it was interference but it was his only hope of breaking up the catch.
  12. Pewsterbaby

    Pewsterbaby Rookie

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    Yeah, I'm right with you and Wicked Pissah on this. I mean, that call just adds insult to injury. It makes what Dreith (Drieth?) did even worse. He KNEW The Pats were "owed one" in the makeup call department and he still... that's STILL threw the flag on Sugar Bear.

    It was the precise moment in my life when I first became aware of The New England Patriots. I was 10 years old.
    I was with my mom in the kitchen that Sunday afternoon. I didn't yet watch the NFL on t.v. I was almost at that stage, but not quite there yet.
    That was until my dad stormed into the kitchen all irritated about something. He started complaining about how the umpires or some such type of man had ROBBED his football team of winning this all-important game I'd not heard about. I was of the impression that the evil umpire man had lied to everybody and gotten away with it, remember, I was only 10 at the time.
    Well, I was very interested in this incident which had the importance to make my dad so mad. Otherwise, he was such a relaxed and laid back person.
    I thought this is something important I need to get on board with my dad on.

    And there it is. Next season (1977) I was all-in. At our home in Fairfield, Connecticut, he'd go up onto the roof to adjust the antennae right before the games started, usually being broadcast on some obscure UHF station outta Hartford. He'd yell down,"How's that?!" I'd yell back,"Pretty good, I guess. You can almost read the uniform numbers and tell who is who." He'd yell,"Okay!" and he'd come down off the ladder and we'd sit on the couch together, squinting our eyes to see through the snowy reception to make out what was happening on the field up in this magical place called Foxboro.

    I was in love with this HOME team who wore these awesome red, white, & blue uniforms with this mad revolutionary war guy hiking the ball on the helmets. The stadium looked so cool too. The retainer wall between the stands and the field was painted in this ultra kick ass American Flag motif that was all skewed and angular. I was SO PROUD to be a Patriots fan.
    I could never come to grips with why anyone living in New England wouldn't be as obsessed or as passionate about this home team as I was. In junior high school, mean kids would actually hit me in the arm for wearing my Sears & Roebuck Steve Grogan #14 jersey. I hated them for liking other teams instead. I love that jersey so much, I'd stare down at it during class and not really even pay attention to the teachers. It was so perfect.

    The next year after my initial '77 campaign, another horrible thing happened in Oakland. The preseason game. I needn't remind you what it was, I'm sure you're already well aware. Well, I was still only 12 years old and hearing about it and all the after effect discussions really scared me. My God, by this time, my hatred of The Oakland Raiders was seething.
    I don't even want to HEAR about the tuck rule. It was PAYBACK, 25 years in the making.

    .... and today, at 46 years of age, when I walk down the Manhattan streets of my adult home, proudly wearing my red throwback Andy Johnson #32 jersey, nobody punches me in the arm anymore.

    So... yeah. Rest In Peace, Chuck Fairbanks.
  13. Jackson 2

    Jackson 2 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    For me, the worst thing was listening to Dreith on the radio decades later all but admit that he threw the flag because he hated the Patriots. He was actually taunting the radio hosts on WEEI and bragging about screwing NE.
  14. patsfan13

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    As to the tuck rule call, again a blown call, Woodson hit Brady in the head, the roughing the passer call & 15 yard penalty should have taken precedence over the tuck call.

    But since the tuck was more painful to Davis and Raider nation I am good with it. :D
  15. crew1954

    crew1954 Rookie

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    For those to young to remember or those who choose to forget, the NFL pretty much admitted that game was fixed.

    Did anyone see the highlights of that 1976 playoff game on any station anywhere Sunday night?

    No you didn't, because the NFL would not allow any station to play them until Wednesday of that week. I was at school in Williamstown, Mass then and even the Albany stations had no film. The Boston stations stated that the NFL wouldn't release the highlights.

    Why, after an exciting playoff game that came down to the wire, would not Roselle want to showcase his product?

    I wrote him a letter then asking that question. Never got any answer back from the NFL.
  16. Jimke

    Jimke Rookie

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    Bob George seems to downplay the squabbles between Fairbanks and
    Chuck Sullivan. This was probably the main reason Fairbanks left for
    Colorado.

    Like Belichick, Fairbanks was both coach and general manager. He
    was involved in contract negotiations. After the 1976 season, Fairbanks
    got John Hannah and Leon Gray to agree to new contracts. Chuck
    Sullivan stepped in and overturned the agreements.

    Hannah and Gray staged a holdout which extended into the season.
    Without these two, the Patriots lost a couple of early games and later
    missed the playoffs.
  17. Off The Grid

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    Of course.

    The Counterfeit Roughing The Passer "Penalty" getting more Noise is only because it was called.

    ...Not because it was more Evil.

    ...Of course, there is great Comfort in reflecting that the uncalled Pass Interference happened on the bottom of the screen ~ on my pathetic little 12'' Screen in my Bedroom, by the way, across a room dominated by an almost admirably hideous orange ~ yes: orange ~ shag rug which'd seen its best days about a decade earlier ~ which of course was precisely the section of the TeleVision that, 25 Years, hence, saw another Defensive Back ~ name of Emperor Tyraneous ~ blast across the screen to pluck Kurt Warner's Fluffy Duck on the way to a magnificent Pick 6...and thus officially knock the Planet off its Axis...2 weeks after the Glorious Tuck Rule Game which shockingly, wonderfully, exquisitely, and magnificently set the entire Cosmos back in its Rightful Place, 25 Years after the Atrocities of The Dreith and'is Ill Conceived, Verminous, Pestilential Ilk.

    Now...regarding The Dreith...

    I take my most satisfying Solace in my understanding of Human Nature, which reminds me that only pathetic vermin living excruciatingly painful, bitter existences would do what The Dreith did.

    No joke, that.

    What he did may've enraged me...but it couldn't upset my fundamental Happiness...

    ...an Emotion which his very actions inform me that The Dreith has never and will never enjoy.

    Because the fundamental nature of Man ~ this being something we all instinctively sense, even those of us who constantly flout it and pay the relentlessly bitter consequences ~ is that if you live an unjust Life, you live every single Moment under a cloud of self-loathing and, hence, Misery...a Fate which no number and no degree of transitory Pleasures can assuage: Pleasure can never replace Happiness, nor indeed even catch a glimpse of its fundamental Contentment and Joy.

    In English: The Dreith's very Actions betray the fact that he has long since ~ decades, since ~ known his last Moment of Contentment, Happiness, or Joy, if indeed he ever enjoyed one, however he may protest.

    That...is a fundamental Truth of Human Nature: all Vermin know themselves for Vermin, no matter how long and loud they run their mouths...and all Vermin detest themselves.

    That...is inescapable.

    I would rather die a thousand Deaths than live with the knowledge that I've deliberately done Evil to good and just men with my own hand.

    I don't know how that scumbag lives with'mself.

    But I can promise you this: he is miserable.

    Every...waking...hour.
  18. DaBronxPats14

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    Well Said/Typed! I remember that game like it was yesterday. Funny in '76 I became a Pat's fan (Grogan) I was a Vikings fan had a Fran Tarkenton Jersey and if it wasn't for that BS call it would have been Pats/Vikes in that superbowl not Oakland and I think Pats would have beaten Vikes.


    So when Pats played Raiders in "infamous" Tuck Rule Playoff Game I DEFINITELY had a shi'eatin grin on my face. Lil payback, Sweet Revenge.
  19. patfanken

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    That's the first thing I think about in that game, NOT the Drieth call. It was by FAR the worse call. There could be a least a whiff of controversy on the roughing call, the non-call on Francis was SO blatant and obvious, it was a crime that it wasn't called.

    There was one other play that affected that game that no one really remembers anymore. It was on that final Pats drive that ended in the Francis non-call. It was on 1st down, Sam Cunningham ran around end and stepped out of bounds 9 yds later. It was a play that, if he wanted to, he could have easily lowered his shoulder and gotten that extra yard. No one thought much about it then, because it it was 2nd and 1, and the Pats had been running well all game. IIRC the Pats got a penalty the next play and now it was 2nd 6 and everything had changed, ending in the Villiapiano mugging of Francis

    It wasn't something you blamed Cunningham for, and I don't recall it ever being used as a reason for why we lost, but still I wonder .....IF.

    BTW- Compared to the felony that occurred that game, the "snow bowl" was hardly even a mistormeanor. Raider fans should be ashamed of themselves to complain when they were given such a blatant gift of MULTIPLE calls
  20. Pewsterbaby

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    Grid, as Lugosi says in White Zombie - "You paint a charming picture, Monsieur. One I would like to see myself."

    But in reality, Off The Grid, you couldn't be further "Off The Mark". Your beliefs on the fundamental nature of man and your claims as to what the fundamental truth of human nature is come across as naive. And that's an understatement.
    I know you march to the beat of your own drum and all, and more power to you for that. In many ways, you're a presence around here which I welcome whenever I see you. But reading your take on people in general up there raises a red flag to me.
    I dunno, maybe it's one of your literary trademarks. Are you trying to put across some sort of rose-colored-glasses sarcasm and see if we bite? If that's the case, well done and stuff.
    If not, well then, you've got a fundamental defect in your thinking which I'd be concerned about.
    Grid, for people who think the way you do about people's natures, it's just a matter of time before someone takes full advantage of that and really screws you over.
    .... and contrary to what you may think, they WILL sleep well afterwards.

    I dunno, maybe you live in some sort of "closed society" up in Vermont or something. I always envision you as being holed up in a hippie commune in 1969 or thereabouts.
    Grid, I mean, it's the only way anyone over 25 would see human nature the same way you do.

    Grid, ya gotta be pulling my leg up there. If you're not, there's a whole profession that'd be happy to teach you otherwise. It's called psychology. Know what you got in there? Deep psychoanalysis on sociopaths and psychopaths. Talk to a prison psychologist some time and hear what they have to say about your stance on the nature of man.

    Hey Grid, did you know that one out of every 200 people is a sociopath?

    Or better yet, I'll extend an open invitation to you to come on down to my neighborhood in BROOKLYN. I'll take you by the hand as we transverse down the ugliest alleyways of the human psyche of some of my scummy neighbors.

    ... and rest assured when I tell you that every last one of these thieves, rapists, & murderers sleep very well at night and have no problem looking themselves in the mirror when they wake up.

    Alas Grid, you do paint a charming picture. I'm just not sure you're being serious and just not typing some loopy Off The Grid "let's throw this against the wall and see if it sticks" or "let's raise this up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes" dealio.

    Grid, no whayyy you're that naive.

    If you are, it's just a matter of time before some sociopath sees you as a juicy victim ripe for the picking. In all sincerity, it's concerning to me.
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