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August 14 in Pats History: Mike Vrabel

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jmt57

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Today in Patriots History
Mr. Versatility: Vrabes


Happy 46th birthday to Mike Vrabel
Born Aug 14, 1975 in Akron, Ohio
Patriot LB, 2001-2008; uniform #50
Signed as a free agent on March 16, 2001

Mike Vrabel was a 1997 third round pick by Pittsburgh, out of Ohio State. He never started in four seasons with the Steelers, departing when his contract expired and he became a free agent. Ironically his only notable play during that time involved the Pats. Vrabel sacked Drew Bledsoe to clinch a 7-6 Steeler victory over the Patriots in the '97-'98 divisional round playoff game. That turned out to be the first of twenty postseason games for Mike.

Bill Belichick saw something in Vrabel that he liked, and signed Vrabel in 2001; it was probably one of the best decisions he made in his twenty-plus years as a general manager. Mike became a starter and proceeded to miss just three games over seven seasons with the Patriots.




In 2007 Vrabel forced three fumbles, had three sacks, recovered an onside kick, and caught a touchdown pass - all in one game. He finished his career with 10 receptions on 14 targets - with all ten going for touchdowns. On defense Vrabel was an effective force not only at defensive end and outside linebacker, but also when injuries necessitated him to play inside linebacker in 2005 and 2006.

Over eight seasons with the Patriots Vrabel recorded 606 tackles (412 solo), 48 sacks, 11 interceptions (with one touchdown), 24 pass deflections, 13 forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

Late in the 2001 season Vrabel intercepted a pass in a game at the Jets. The turnover was clutch, triggering a momentum change which led to the Patriots outscoring New York 17-3 in the second half, to win 17-16. Then in Super Bowl 36 it was Mike Vrabel who applied the pressure on Kurt Warner that forced a bad pass that was intercepted by Ty Law, returned 47 yards for a touchdown.

Early in the 2002 season Vrabel lined up as a tight end and grabbed a one-yard TD pass to give the Pats a 14-7 lead at San Diego. In doing so Mike became the first New England defensive player to catch a touchdown pass since 1974, when John Tanner caught a two-yard TD from Jim Plunkett. Little did any of us know at the time this would be the first of many.




The following year Vrabel had three sacks in a 9-3 win over Cleveland; at the time it was the most sacks in a single game in franchise history, tying Henry Thomas' record set in 1998. (That mark has since been surpassed by Willie McGinest with 4.5 in '06, and Andre Carter with 4.0 in '11.) Mike had 9.5 sacks in '03, the most by any Patriot in the Bill Belichick era, and most by a Patriot since McGinest had the same amount in 1996. All that was accomplished despite missing three games Vrabel capped off the 2003 season with a strong postseason, finishing with three sacks - including two in Super Bowl 38. He also had another touchdown reception in the fourth quarter which was crucial, changing a 22-21 deficit to a 29-22 lead with 2:51 left to play; that was the first offensive touchdown by a defensive player in a Super Bowl since Refrigerator Perry scored in SB 20. And earlier in the game Vrabel's hit on Jake Delhomme late in the first half caused a fumble which was recovered by Richard Seymour deep in Carolina territory. The Patriots would score four plays later to take a seven point lead. Super Bowl 38 was simply an incredible game by Vrabel.

On December 26, 2005 Mike Vrabel became the first player in NFL history to record two touchdowns and a sack in a single game, since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. Herm Edwards had no answer for Vrabel that day; Mike also had a game-high six tackles as the Pats won 31-21 in New Jersey. In 2006 Vrabel was captain on a Pats defense that set a franchise record by allowing just 14.8 points per game. That defense allowed 237 points, the fewest by any Patriot club in a 16-game season.

Along with his versatility, Mike Vrabel was clutch. He had four strip-sacks in the postseason. The first came with the Steelers to clinch a 7-6 Pittsburgh win in the 1997 divisional round against Drew Bledsoe. There was another on Jake Delhomme in the Super Bowl (see above), and a year later one on Peyton Manning in the 20-3 win against the Colts. Vrabel also had a strip sack on Philip Rivers in the epic 24-21 2006 divisional round game against the Chargers; that was recovered by Tully Banta-Cain and led to a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.




Mike Vrabel is a member of the New England Patriots All-Decade Team of the 2000s as well as the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team, alongside linebackers Andre Tippett (HoF), Nick Buoniconti (HoF) and Steve Nelson (who should be in the HoF).

After retiring as a player following the 2010 season, Vrabel was the linebackers and defensive line coach at Ohio State for three seasons. His NFL coaching career began in 2014 with the Houston Texans as their linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator, before becoming the head coach of the Tennessee Titans in 2018. During that time the Titans have improved from third place to second to first in the AFC South, compiling a 29-19 record with playoff victories at New England and Baltimore in the 2019 offseason. All that occurred while navigating an undesirable quarterback situation that compelled the difficult decision to bench Marcus Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 draft.


Best of Mike Vrabel | Offense and Defense Highlights (4:04)



A look back at the career of Mike Vrabel | Patriots.com (14-page slide show)

Mike Vrabel: A career retrospective | Patriots.com (21-page slide show for Pats HoF voting)

Apr 30, 2019: Patriots Hall of Fame: The Case For Mike Vrabel | Patriots.com

July 13, 2019: Mike Vrabel's wife responds to his 'I'd cut off my d--- to win' comment

 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
August 14


Aug 14, 1959: the first league meeting of the American Football League was held in Chicago, and the league was publicly announced in a press conference on this day. Charter memberships were given to Dallas, New York, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.


Aug 14, 1960: the Boston Patriots play their first home game at Harvard Stadium. The Pats lost the preseason game - or, exhibition game, as they were referred to then - 24-14 to the Dallas Texans, before a crowd of 11,000 fans on that Sunday afternoon.










 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Tebowmania!


Happy 34th birthday to Tim Tebow
Born August 14, 1987 in the Philippines
Patriot QB, 2013 offseason; uniform #5
Signed as a free agent on June 10, 2013

In 2010 the Ravens traded down, sending the 25th overall pick of the draft to Denver. Baltimore used those picks on Sergio Kindle, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson; Josh McDaniels used that Bronco draft pick he moved up for on Tim Tebow. The quarterback had won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and the BCS championship in 2008 with Urban Meyer's Florida Gators.

On Jan 8, 2012 Tebow threw a pass to Demaryius Thomas that went for an 80 yard touchdown to shock Pittsburgh in the divisional playoff game. That turned out to be Tebow's final victory as an NFL quarterback. A week later the Pats pounded the Broncos 45-10, sacking Tebow five times while limiting him to 9-26 with 136 yards passing.

In the offseason Denver signed Peyton Manning, after the Big Forehead had been released following Indy's successful Suck For Luck season. Tebow was traded to the Jets for a bag of footballs, and released after a typical dysfunctional Jete season.




The Pats signed Tebow as an unrestricted free agent, but he magnificently underwhelmed in training camp and preseason games. In 2015 he spent the offseason with the Eagles, and was unsuccessful at beating out Matt Barkley as the third string QB. After several years of playing minor league baseball, this summer Tebow is attempting to make a football comeback - this time as a tight end - with the Jacksonville Jaguars.





The de facto catch phrase for Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow: "All he does is win games."

Well, there were no games to win on the practice field at Gillette Stadium on Friday as the Patriots opened training camp.

So, what did Tebow do instead?

For starters, he was clearly the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Ryan Mallett.

Tebow's footwork was sloppy. He threw passes into coverage, he had passes batted at the line of scrimmage, and he held onto the ball too long and scrambled at least twice in drills, being forced to scramble.

He was even victimized on one of the two highlights of the day, when defensive end Chandler Jones, who had dropped into coverage on the play, intercepted a pass from Tebow intended for running back George Winn.

On the day, Tebow went 6-of-10 in 11-on-11 drills and had two passes intercepted, the second of those being delivered right into the bread basket of safety Nate Ebner.

As a passer, Tebow has a long way to go, but that was far from the biggest Tebow storyline of the day.





Tim Tebow Patriots Highlights | 2013

 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
August 14


Happy 81st birthday to Eddie Wilson
Born Aug 14, 1940 in Redding, CA
Patriot QB, 1965; uniform #12
Acquired in a trade with the Chiefs on December 30, 1964


Wilson was a backup with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs for three seasons before filling the same role with the Pats in '65. In January of 1966 Wilson was claimed by the Miami Dolphins in the AFL expansion draft. Eddie is the only quarterback in pro football history to start more than one game but have neither a loss nor a win: his career record is 0-0-2. Wilson went 20-46 for 257 yards, with one touchdown pass and three interceptions in ten games with the Patriots.




Happy 69th birthday to Durwood Keeton
Born Aug 14, 1952 in Bonham, Texas
Patriot safety, 1975; uniform #29
Acquired in trade with St. Louis on August 28, 1975 for a 1977 fifth round draft pick


Durwood Keeton was a fourth round pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1974 NFL draft, from Oklahoma. He instead signed with the Southern California Sun of the World Football League, who had selected him in the seventh round (#79 overall) of the WFL draft. Keeton signed with the Cardinals in '75, who traded him to the Pats before the season began. Durwood reunited with his college football coach Chuck Fairbanks and saw action in twelve games for the Patriots; he was then was selected by Tampa Bay in the spring of 1976 in the expansion draft. Keeton left the Tampa training camp on July 20 and was released by the Bucs, bringing an end to his brief pro football career.




Happy 24th birthday to Devin Asiasi
Born Aug 14, 1997 in Shoreview, CA
Patriot TE, 2020-present; uniform #86
Selected in the third round (91st overall) of the 2020 draft, from UCLA







Happy 60th birthday to Orlando Lowry
Born Aug 14, 1961 in Cleveland
Patriot LB, 1989; uniform #91
Signed as a free agent on December 12, 1989

Orlando Lowry played for Indy from '85-'89, before signing on with the Pats for the final two games of the 1989 season.







Other pro football players with New England connections born on this date:

Mike Mamula, 48 (1973); Boston College
Eagles' defensive end had 31.5 sacks in the nineties.


Kiko Alonso, 31 (1990); born in Newton
Linebacker has played for the Bills, Eagles, Dolphins and Saints.


Mike Mayock, 63 (1958); Boston College
Before he became a draft guru, and well before he became a general manager, Mike Mayock was a BC Hall of Fame baseball and football player.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Today in Patriots History
Tebowmania!


Happy 34th birthday to Tim Tebow
Born August 14, 1987 in the Philippines
Patriot QB, 2013 offseason; uniform #5
Signed as a free agent on June 10, 2013

In 2010 the Ravens traded down, sending the 25th overall pick of the draft to Denver. Baltimore used those picks on Sergio Kindle, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson; Josh McDaniels used that Bronco draft pick he moved up for on Tim Tebow. The quarterback had won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and the BCS championship in 2008 with Urban Meyer's Florida Gators.

On Jan 8, 2012 Tebow threw a pass to Demaryius Thomas that went for an 80 yard touchdown to shock Pittsburgh in the divisional playoff game. That turned out to be Tebow's final victory as an NFL quarterback. A week later the Pats pounded the Broncos 45-10, sacking Tebow five times while limiting him to 9-26 with 136 yards passing.

In the offseason Denver signed Peyton Manning, after the Big Forehead had been released following Indy's successful Suck For Luck season. Tebow was traded to the Jets for a bag of footballs, and released after a typical dysfunctional Jete season.




The Pats signed Tebow as an unrestricted free agent, but he magnificently underwhelmed in training camp and preseason games. In 2015 he spent the offseason with the Eagles, and was unsuccessful at beating out Matt Barkley as the third string QB. After several years of playing minor league baseball, this summer Tebow is attempting to make a football comeback - this time as a tight end - with the Jacksonville Jaguars.





The de facto catch phrase for Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow: "All he does is win games."

Well, there were no games to win on the practice field at Gillette Stadium on Friday as the Patriots opened training camp.

So, what did Tebow do instead?

For starters, he was clearly the third quarterback on the depth chart behind Ryan Mallett.

Tebow's footwork was sloppy. He threw passes into coverage, he had passes batted at the line of scrimmage, and he held onto the ball too long and scrambled at least twice in drills, being forced to scramble.

He was even victimized on one of the two highlights of the day, when defensive end Chandler Jones, who had dropped into coverage on the play, intercepted a pass from Tebow intended for running back George Winn.

On the day, Tebow went 6-of-10 in 11-on-11 drills and had two passes intercepted, the second of those being delivered right into the bread basket of safety Nate Ebner.

As a passer, Tebow has a long way to go, but that was far from the biggest Tebow storyline of the day.





Tim Tebow Patriots Highlights | 2013


If Tebow knew what was good for his NFL career, he would've begun the QB-to-TE conversion while he was here during 2013 TC, especially in light of his former Florida Gator TE's legal, ahem, issues that emerged...
 

ctpatsfan77

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Herm did figure out how to stop Vrabel in that game. The third time the Pats got to the goal line, the JEST triple-teamed him.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Vrabel...Why i remember him in our 7-6 loss approx 23 years ago ? Boh...

Our defense played light's-out vs Kordell Stewart's Squealers that day, especially on the goal-line stand... Just one brain fart by Todd Collins away from nearly pitching a shutout... But Drew Bledsoe was our QB, so...
 
Last edited:

italian pat patriot

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Our defense played light's out vs Kordell Stewart's Squealers that day, especially on the goal-line stand... Just one brain fart by Todd Collins away from nearly pitching a shutout... But Drew Bledsoe was our QB, so...
I remember that game and that loss still hurt/we could have win but those were the years that always something was going wrong...that play from Vrabel was the killer
 

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