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Jan 12: 36th Anniversary of 'Squish the Fish' Game

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NFLmac

On the Roster
I also still have this game on VHS.

Don Blackmon was the MVP of the game. So underrated.

Mark Duper had a diva baby fit on the Dolphins last drive and threw his helmet in frustration. Raymond Clayborn was a lockdown CB. Another one who was criminally underrated.

Love that game.

**** you, Shula, you bitter turd.
Went to this jinx smashing AFCC great game as a gift from/with my brother(Best Man) 5 months before my wedding. Was very surprised by the many Pats fans in attendance! Such a beautiful
memory.
 

Chevy

Huh?
PatsFans.com Supporter
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
What a game. What a playoff run!

The Patriots, after their three-game road trip to get to XX, were +12 in the turnover department. 4-0 at the Jets, 6-2 at the Raiders, 6-2 at Miami. 16 freakin' turnovers in three games!

Yeah, the 4th playoff game was a downer - more so for how it started (IMHO) than how it turned out. To go on D first, and get another immediate take-away - a Sweetness fumble no less - gave us fans a bit too much hope. The Bears were one of those destiny teams. Back to back playoff shutouts says a lot.

Huh - never looked at it this way - but both the Pats and Bears had to beat a NJ team, followed by a LA team, to get to New Orleans.
 
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Actual Pats Fan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Agree with all of this. Pre-2001 this was the biggest win in franchise history and most enjoyable.
The Orange Bowl jinx was very real.

Tony Eason did make some important throws in the three playoffs games, and the clincher vs. the Bengals.

I understand Berry's thinking, but 1) facing the Bears was a completely different proposition from another team, and 2) Tony Eason was just astronomically, immeasurably inferior to Grogan, no matter how old or brittle Steve appeared to be.
 

Actual Pats Fan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Yeah, the 4th playoff game was a downer
We needed to take a Herb Brooks approach to that game. To have a chance, just to make it competitive.

1. Immediately name Grogan the starter

2. Crack the whip Monday morning. Sorry, this is a business trip. Go ahead and be excited about going down to the Bayou and playing in the big one. On your own time, not when we're at practice.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
We needed to take a Herb Brooks approach to that game. To have a chance, just to make it competitive.

1. Immediately name Grogan the starter

2. Crack the whip Monday morning. Sorry, this is a business trip. Go ahead and be excited about going down to the Bayou and playing in the big one. On your own time, not when we're at practice.

3. Using Collins & James as pass-catchers more than as runners was the best way to attack the 46 because the protection for longer routes wouldn't hold up and also because da Bears would swarm to the ball and clog most of the conventional running lanes; but shorter routes could take advantage of their coverage deficiencies while at the same time soften up the secondary for a deep shot later in the possession...

Too bad things fell apart so quickly after the first couple of missed opportunities eluded them; the Pats never had the chance to implement a more-patient game plan afterwards... That and Tony Eason was their QB...
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
A day late on this portion of January 12. Sometimes life just gets in the way of these things.


Today in Patriots History
Four January 12 Birthdays
Jarvis Green, Dan Klecko, Neil Graf, Onree Jackson


Happy 43rd birthday to Jarvis Green
Born January 12, 1979 in Thibodaux, Louisiana
Patriot DE, 2002-2009; uniform #97
Pats 4th round (126th overall) pick in the 2002 draft, from LSU

Jarvis Green ranks 12th all-time in franchise history with 28 sacks. He played in 121 regular season games with 233 tackles, nine forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and four pass deflections.

The Patriots went 11-4 in 15 postseason games with Jarvis Green. He had five sacks and 27 tackles in the playoffs, with three tackles for a loss. Green earned rings for his play in Super Bowls 38 and 39.

After a knee injury in 2009 and subsequent surgery, Green lost some acceleration and his football career was over. At the time he retired Green ranked seventh (now 14th) all time for the Patriots with 24 tackles for a loss. In his post-NFL career he opened a wholesale shrimp business called Oceans97.


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Happy 41st birthday to Dan Klecko
Born January 12, 1981 in Colts Neck, New Jersey
Patriot DT, 2003-2005; uniform #90
Pats 4th round (117th overall) pick in the 2003 draft, from Temple

Dan Klecko played in 29 regular season games for the Patriots, with three starts. He earned rings from Super Bowls 38 and 39, then received a third in SB 41 when the Colts beat the Bears. Over six NFL seasons Klecko played in 63 regular season games and eight playoff games for New England, Indianapolis and Philadelphia.

Bill Belichick occasionally utilized him in a Mike Vrabel type role as an eligible receiver on offense, where he caught all three passes thrown his way in 2004. Unfortunately his most memorable play came against the Patriots when he caught a Peyton Manning pass in the AFCCG, tying the game at 21.

Klecko now works with a financial investment firm that includes a division that focuses on professional entertainers and athletes. He also handles pre and post game analyst duties for the Eagles radio network. His father Joe was a defensive end in the NFL from 1977-88, going to four Pro Bowls.

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Happy 72nd birthday to Neil Graff
Born January 12, 1950 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Patriot QB 1974-1975; uniform #15
Signed as a free agent on April 9, 1974

Neil Graff was originally a 16th round (414th overall) selection of the 1972 draft by the Vikings, out of Wisconsin. He spent '72 on the Minnesota taxi squad, then went back to college in 1973. The Patriots then signed Graff as a free agent in 1974. He served as the backup to Jim Plunkett as well as the holder on field goal and extra point attempts.

Graff started the first two games of the 1975 season for the Patriots , a 7-0 loss to the Oilers and a 22-14 loss to Miami. The quarterback went 18-35 for 221 yards, with two touchdowns (to Randy Vataha and Russ Francis) and three picks.

A combination of factors led to Graff starting those games. Jim Plunkett had separated his shoulder in the preseason on a blindside hit by San Diego defensive end Coy Bacon, and was unable to play. Rookie Steve Grogan was already a fan favorite, but was still far too raw to start. The relationship between Chuck Fairbanks and Plunkett was not good at all, and Plunkett's skill set did not match Fairbanks' vision of the offense. Plunkett was rushed back too soon, Grogan eventually took over - and with the benefit of hindsight, it is no surprise at all that the 1975 Patriots finished 3-11, after a very promising 1974 season when they went 7-7.

On April 30, 1976 the Seattle Seahawks took Graff as part of the expansion draft. He also later spent time with Pittsburgh and Green Bay.

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Graff started 33 straight games at Wisconsin. He was the Badgers' MVP and all-Big Ten as a senior. He led the Big Ten in passing and total offense as a junior. He set school records for career passing yards (3,699) and touchdown passes (23) as well as single-game TD passes (4) and passing efficiency (259.9).​
At Lincoln High, Graff was all-state in football and basketball two years and he had NCAA Division I scholarship offers in both sports. He led Lincoln to the mythical state football title as a junior and helped the Patriots to a runner-up finish in basketball as a senior.​
He was named the High School Football Player of the Decade for the 1960s by the Rapid City Journal. Graff was chosen as one of South Dakota's top 50 athletes of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated. He is a member of the Lincoln High Hall of Fame.​


Neil Graff (CRD# 1544136) is an Investment Advisor Representative working at United Planners' Financial Services Of America in Sioux Falls, SD and has over 33 years of experience in the finance industry. He has taken additional exams to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®).​
CFP professionals must pass the comprehensive CFP Certification Examination, pass CFP Board's Fitness Standards for Candidates and Registrants, agree to abide by CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Rules of Conduct which put clients' interests first and comply with the Financial Planning Practice Standards.​


Graff was drafted in the 16th round of the NFL draft in 1972. He spent six years with five teams, including the Minnesota Vikings. He played quarterback behind such greats as Fran Tarkenton in Minnesota, Terry Bradshaw in Pittsburgh and Jim Plunkett in New England.​
“I really see my lot in life as the guy who has pushed the former great quarterbacks into the Hall of Fame,” jokes Graff, 64.​
From an early age, he played many sports. In fact, “mixing it up” played a role in his athleticism.​
“I got my start as a quarterback in seventh grade when Coach Don Erickson chose the guy with the biggest hands,” Graff recalls.​
Graff not only played quarterback for the Lincoln Patriots from 1966-68, he was a three-sport athlete, adding basketball and baseball.​
“I would play basketball all winter long outside in the driveway using three basketballs,” Graff says. “When one basketball got too cold and wouldn’t bounce, I’d take it in the house and get another one.”​
Now retired from the NFL, life after football means living a legend.​
Graff’s name is now on an annual trophy. The Neil Graff award, known as the Graffy, is given each year to the most underappreciated, underrated Seattle Seahawk. Graff played quarterback for the 1976 Seattle Seahawks, battling for the top spot against Jim Zorn. After playing in only three preseason games, he was traded to Pittsburgh. But many thought Graff should have been the quarterback. In 2001, the Seattle fans started a website to select the most underappreciated Seahawk and named the award after him.​
Football has taken a toll on Graff’s body. He has had both knees replaced, and an MRI revealed four areas of his brain with a potential to cause problems.​






Happy 75th birthday to Onree Jackson
Born January 12, 1947; from Brighton, Alabama
Patriot QB, 1969 offseason
Pats 5th round (110th overall) selection of the 1969 draft, from Alabama A&M

6'5 Onree Jackson was a three year starting quarterback in college and two-time conference MVP. He was the first franchise's first African American quarterback and first quarterback to be drafted by the NFL from a historically black college or university as a QB. (Pete Hall was drafted to play end and Eldridge Dickey to be a wide receiver; Willie Thrower and Sandy Stephens were undrafted. Jim Harris was selected three rounds later by Buffalo from Grambling. He would become the first African American to begin the season as a starting quarterback in the NFL.)

Player Personnel Director Rommie Loudd said that 'Jackson could be the Willie Mays of pro football'. However new Patriot head coach Clive Rush wanted everything to be like it was the previous year with the Jets, often telling Jackson 'Joe (Namath) wouldn't do that'. He chose to make Jet backup Mike Taliaferro the starting quarterback and went so far to say that Jackson ''was behind three other quarterbacks''. The Pats would go 5-16 before Rush was fired.

Jackson was waived before the season began and never returned to the NFL. He played briefly for the minor league Alabama Hawks then spent the rest of his working life as a football coach and teacher in Huntsville, Alabama.

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jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Tom Brady's near-perfect 26/28 game
Pats eliminate Jaguars from playoffs - twice


Saturday January 12, 2008 at 8:15
2007 Divisional Round Game at Gillette Stadium
New England Patriots 31, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
Head Coaches: Bill Belichick, Jack Del Rio
Quarterbacks: Tom Brady, David Garrard
Odds: Patriots were favored by 13½

Patriots improve to 17-0; next up is AFCCG vs San Diego
Jacksonville finishes season with a 12-6 record

Key Stat: Incomplete Passes (2)
Brady was 26-28 for 262 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int, 1 sack (-4 yards) and a 141.4 passer rating.


Highlights:



Jacksonville limited big plays, took Moss out of the game, and put together long scoring drives - nine plays, 11 plays, nine plays, and 13 plays. It didn't matter.​
Tom Brady was just as patient, and more precise, than the Jaguars. Brady completed 26 of 28 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He hit his first 16 throws before Benjamin Watson couldn't corral a catchable ball with 10:27 remaining in the third quarter. The other incompletion was a fourth-quarter drop by Wes Welker.​
An inspired Laurence Maroney had the first 100-yard rushing game of his playoff career (22 rushes for 122 yards and a score), upstaging the much-talked-about Jacksonville tailback tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, who were held to 66 yards on 19 carries by a fired-up Patriots defense.​
Give the Jaguars credit, they made the Foxborough Faithful sweat for a bit, until Rodney Harrison wrapped up the game with another clutch playoff interception with 4:08 left (tying an NFL record with a pickoff in four straight postseason games). That was one of two big mistakes by Jacksonville's David Garrard, who played a solid game (22 of 33 for 278 yards and two touchdowns).​
Brady didn't make any miscues, and he showed his acting skills on a fake direct snap to Kevin Faulk. Brady deftly hid the ball, jumping and turning his back for effect, before finding Welker for a 6-yard touchdown that broke a 14-14 tie with 8:49 left in the third quarter.​



With Brady facing almost no pressure from Jacksonville’s enormous defense until late in the game, the offense was nearly unstoppable, stalling for only two incomplete passes — one a drop — and a missed field goal. And so the Patriots are still racing toward history, beating the Jaguars, 31-20, to advance to the A.F.C. championship game next Sunday in Foxborough. They will play Indianapolis or San Diego, both of which the Patriots have beaten on their way to a 17-0 record.​
Brady is 13-2 in the postseason now, and there have certainly been victories fraught with more drama than this one. But for precision, it will be hard to top Brady’s mastery of Jacksonville, which was bent on taking away his most dynamic weapon — Randy Moss — while ceding large chunks of space in the middle of the field. In a record-setting season, he grabbed another one Saturday. His 92.9 completion percentage broke Phil Simms’ postseason record, 88 percent in Super Bowl XXI.​
The Jaguars played a zone defense that eliminated almost all of the big plays that had defined the Patriots’ season, but Brady was 26 of 28 for 262 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots did not punt until 32 seconds remained in the game.​





Full Game:




Sunday January 12, 1997 at 4:00
1996 AFC Championship Game at Foxboro Stadium
New England Patriots 20, Jacksonville Jaguars 6
Head Coaches: Bill Parcells, Tom Coughlin
Quarterbacks: Drew Bledsoe, Mark Brunell
Odds: Patriots were favored by 7½

- Patriots improve to 13-5 to win the AFC, and advance to Super Bowl 31 in New Orleans vs Green Bay.
- Jacksonville had upset Buffalo and then #1 seed Denver to advance to AFCCG in just their second NFL season; the Jaguars finished with a record of 11-8.

Key Stat: Turnovers
Jaguars 4 (Brunell had two picks, and lost a fumble); Patriots 2.

As a result of the turnovers the Pats were able to overcome their offense converting on just two out of 13 third down opportunities. The Jacksonville defense was strong, limiting Curtis Martin to 59 yards rushing on 19 carries.


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Click the link below for a very well detailed account of the game:

Patriots' Defense Freezes Out Upstart Jaguars, 20-6 | Washington Post

New England prevailed in front of 60,190 bundled-up partisans mostly because their defense was able to contain Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell and their special teams excelled. They had to on a day Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe and the NFL's highest scoring offense struggled in 30 mph wind and single digit wind-chill temperatures. Bledsoe fumbled twice, had a pass intercepted and publicly thanked his defense for bailing him out.​
Both teams also had to endure an 11-minute stoppage of play midway through the second period when a fuse blew in a transformer outside the stadium. That dimmed the lights so low game officials ordered both teams to the sidelines while utility workers scrambled to find and ultimately fix the problem.​
There was more than enough high energy provided by a frequently blitzing Patriots defense and a plucky punt team to eventually end the Jaguars' seven-game winning streak, including stunning playoff road upsets against the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. Those two units combined to force four Jacksonville turnovers, manufacturing 17 Patriots points and the clinching score--cornerback Otis Smith's 47-yard fumble recovery and return for one last touchdown and a breathe-easy 14-point lead with 2 minutes 24 seconds remaining.​
"I was coming in to make a routine play [on running back James Stewart] and one of my teammates [end Chris Slade] knocked the ball out," said Smith, cut by the Jets four games into the season and signed by the Patriots to shore up a struggling secondary. "I jumped up to support the play and take away the outside and the ball just sort of bounced up to me. I saw the quarterback there and just cut it back inside and saw all that room.'​
Willie Clay, whose nickname has been "Big Play" since his Georgia Tech days, lived up to that billing when it counted most. The Jaguars, trailing by 13-6, were driving toward a potential tying touchdown and facing a second and goal at the Patriots 5 inside the four-minute mark.​
Brunell was aiming for tight end Derek Brown flashing in front of him across the back of the end zone, but Clay dropped off his own coverage, stepped in front of Brown and made the catch instead with 3:43 left.​



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#26. Otis Smith's 47-yard fumble return clinches 1996 AFC Championship - The Patriots were clinging to a 13-6 AFC Championship Game lead over the upset-minded Jacksonville Jaguars when Chris Slade forced a fumble that Otis Smith returned 47 yards for a late fourth quarter touchdown that cemented a berth in Super Bowl XXXI.


 

mosi

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
We needed to take a Herb Brooks approach to that game. To have a chance, just to make it competitive.

1. Immediately name Grogan the starter

2. Crack the whip Monday morning. Sorry, this is a business trip. Go ahead and be excited about going down to the Bayou and playing in the big one. On your own time, not when we're at practice.

In regards to Point 2, Berry was not that kind of coach. Meyer was the hard ass. Berry was the good guy.
 

DarrylS

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Back to "squish the fish" theme... that was the first Pats T-Shirt I owned, for some reason the NFL chose only to market "big market teams" like Dallas, Chicago, NY Giants, Dolphins, Raiders etc. and that was the beginning of marketing of the Pats fan gear, even thought squish the fish t-shirts were not sold by Sears or other big outlets.

I worked 3-11 on Sundays in those days, had to listen to that game on my walkman, after the game went to the airport with probably a 1000 other fans to welcome the Pats home from that victory... today I drive by the Pats plane sometimes when they are loading and unloading the team and don't even bother to stop, perhaps it is due to age, but maybe we are all just used to winning as this is expected behavior.
 

italian pat patriot

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Back to "squish the fish" theme... that was the first Pats T-Shirt I owned, for some reason the NFL chose only to market "big market teams" like Dallas, Chicago, NY Giants, Dolphins, Raiders etc. and that was the beginning of marketing of the Pats fan gear, even thought squish the fish t-shirts were not sold by Sears or other big outlets.

I worked 3-11 on Sundays in those days, had to listen to that game on my walkman, after the game went to the airport with probably a 1000 other fans to welcome the Pats home from that victory... today I drive by the Pats plane sometimes when they are loading and unloading the team and don't even bother to stop, perhaps it is due to age, but maybe we are all just used to winning as this is expected behavior.
When i started to be a Patriot fan i probably was first ever in Italy
People (not so many) that followed american football were Dolphins Steelers 49ers Cowboys etc...fans
Patriots were unknowns...

Not for me...
 

Actual Pats Fan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
3. Using Collins & James as pass-catchers more than as runners was the best way to attack the 46 because the protection for longer routes wouldn't hold up and also because da Bears would swarm to the ball and clog most of the conventional running lanes; but shorter routes could take advantage of their coverage deficiencies while at the same time soften up the secondary for a deep shot later in the possession...

Too bad things fell apart so quickly after the first couple of missed opportunities eluded them; the Pats never had the chance to implement a more-patient game plan afterwards... That and Tony Eason was their QB...
Psychology. Strategy.

First: You're a deservedly tremendous underdog. Naming Grogan immediately plants the seed of apprehension in the Bears. Berry needed to be steady in every public interview about being grimly determined against a tremendous challenge. When I saw the short ESPN coverage of Buster Douglas preparing for the Tyson fight in Tokyo, I saw focus. I saw a winner. My saying Douglas could win that fight then would have been met with as much mockery had I said the same about the Patriots chances vs. the Bears four years earlier.

Grogan called his own plays. Even if we had converted those early pick sixes McMahon was coughing up, and built an early lead, the Bears likely would have eventually caught up. Our chance was to run the ball. Enough to slow it down and physically attack the 4-6. Passing, unless you're Dan Marino in the Orange Bowl on Monday night, plays right into Ryan's hands. Grogan had to pick his spots. We needed to play it like we did in the KingDome in Grogan's last win before he got hurt.
 

Actual Pats Fan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Back to "squish the fish" theme... that was the first Pats T-Shirt I owned, for some reason the NFL chose only to market "big market teams" like Dallas, Chicago, NY Giants, Dolphins, Raiders etc. and that was the beginning of marketing of the Pats fan gear, even thought squish the fish t-shirts were not sold by Sears or other big outlets.
Everyone is gaga over the 49ers-Cowboys, and it's because they have their iconic, recognized uniforms
I worked 3-11 on Sundays in those days, had to listen to that game on my walkman, after the game went to the airport with probably a 1000 other fans to welcome the Pats home from that victory... today I drive by the Pats plane sometimes when they are loading and unloading the team and don't even bother to stop, perhaps it is due to age, but maybe we are all just used to winning as this is expected behavior.
For me, it's entirely because they have a stupid, ugly logo on it instead of an awesome, loved, iconic, established, attractive one
 

Actual Pats Fan

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
In regards to Point 2, Berry was not that kind of coach. Meyer was the hard ass. Berry was the good guy.
Berry had the respect of the players from Day 1.

Ray Clayborn talked about some of the innovations Berry had when he came up for his Pats HOF induction a few years ago. (I asked him about it).

They included a motivational psychologist. "Some guys shook their heads, like, 'Do we have to listen to this?', but it worked..."

He was the most visibly upset veteran after they lost in Cleveland to start 2-3.

Fortunately (shades of Mo Lewis) Eason was knocked out of there the next week by the Bills, and the winning streak started.

"Oh, man, yeah, I liked Coach but he totally got that one wrong. He started the wrong guy..."
 

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