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July 24 in Pats History: Steve Grogan

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Sep 19th

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Today in Patriots History
Steve Grogan

Happy 68th Birthday Steve Grogan
Born July 24, 1953 in San Antonio, Texas
Patriot QB, 1975-1990; uniform #14
Pats 5th round (116th overall) selection of the 1975 draft, from Kansas State

Chuck Fairbanks selected Steve Grogan in the fifth round of the 1975 NFL draft out of Kansas State

Steve Grogan was a model of toughness and longevity, playing in 149 games over his 16-year playing career from 1975-1990. He remains not only a fan favorite for his gritty style but also a favorite among former teammates. An athletic quarterback, Grogan rushed for an NFL record 12 touchdowns in 1976 and for 35 during his career.​
Grogan led the 1976 team to within seconds of the AFC Championship game. That team, which suffered a controversial playoff loss to the Raiders, is considered by many as one of the best in team history. He also helped lead the Patriots to their first AFC Championship in 1985. Grogan ranks among the leaders in team history in nearly every passing category.​
Despite playing quarterback, he was still revered as one of the hardest hitters and toughest players in Patriots history. Grogan was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1995 after spending parts of three decades with the club.​

Steve Grogan quickly saw action in his rookie season.
He played in 13 games, starting seven of the last eight contests.

The 1978 Patriots still own owned for an incredible 41 years the record for most rushing yards in a season, and Grogan was a large part of that success. While that offense primarily ran through Sam Cunningham, Grogan added some impressive numbers of his own. On the season, Grogan recorded 539 yards on the ground, becoming one of four members of the 1978 Patriots with 500 or more rushing yards.​
While Grogan was best known for his legs, he still possessed plenty of arm talent. His best statistical season came in 1979 when he threw for 3,286 yards and a league-leading 28 touchdown receptions. His 16.0 yards per completion also led the league.​
Perhaps what defined Grogan the most was his unparalleled toughness. Grogan was arguably the toughest quarterback in the game and played through an endless string of injuries throughout his career. During his 16-year career, Grogan endured five knee surgeries, a cracked fibula, two ruptured disks in his neck, a broken left hand, two separated shoulders, three concussions, and plenty more. Despite all this, nothing could keep Grogan from returning to the field. He had a certain blind fearlessness about him which made him an immediate favorite throughout the New England area.​

Grogan became only the 26th passer in NFL history to throw for over 25,000 yards.

Aug 21, 2010: Steve Grogan Played 'The Patriots Way' | Joe Gill, for

Grogan was drafted by Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks in the fifth round of the 1975 draft out of Kansas State. He was one of the school's all time passing and total offense leaders. Grogan not only beat you with his arm but he was exceptionally quick for a man standing at 6'4".​
The Patriots already had their franchise quarterback in place when he was drafted. Former Heisman Trophy winner, Jim Plunkett had been the Patriots starter for his first four years in the league. However, Coach Fairbanks was not afraid to make a move if a player was under-performing. It didn't matter who he was.​
In 1978, Grogan was part of a lethal rushing attack that amassed an astounding 3,156 yards which is still the most rushing yards by a team in league history. The elusive signal caller contributed 539 yards to the lethal running game. This success on the ground helped lead the Patriots to their first home playoff game.​
Grogan closed the decade with his best passing season. He threw for over 3200 yards and 28 touchdowns. He was becoming a multi threat with his precision passing and his ability to tuck away the ball and run.​

Grogan led the NFL with six game winning drives in 1978, then led the
league in touchdowns, touchdown percentage and yards per catch in '79.

Longtime quarterback Steve Grogan spent 16 seasons in the NFL, all with the New England Patriots, and played in 149 games under center from 1975 to 1990. At the time of his retirement, Grogan was the Patriots’ all-time leader in passing yards (26,886) and passing touchdowns (182), and he is still fourth in team history with 35 rushing touchdowns during his career. He was inducted to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1995, and his No. 11 is the only one currently retired by his alma mater, Kansas State.​
For the past 22 years, Grogan has owned and operated Grogan Marciano Sporting Goods in Mansfield, Massachusetts. The store was opened in the 1970s by Peter Marciano, the brother of boxing great Rocky Marciano, and sells equipment and uniforms to youth leagues, high schools and small colleges across southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.​
On his fondest NFL memories: “Playing in a Super Bowl in January of ‘86 after the ‘85 season was pretty special. Going into the game it didn’t look like I was going to play — Tony Eason was the starter — but I wound up playing most of the game. It wasn’t a very entertaining or fun game to be a part of (Chicago won 46-10), but at least I was a part of it, and that’s pretty special. And then there’s the whole season in ‘76, when I took over the starting job from Jim Plunkett and we went to the playoffs for the first time in over 10 years. That season was pretty special, too. We had a whole bunch of young draft picks and free agents on that roster, with some veteran leadership, and we went from 3-11 in ‘75 to 11-3 in ‘76, and into the playoffs. That whole run was really a lot of fun.”​
On the '85 Bears: “They had a good offense, but their defense was one of the best I ever saw — maybe the best I ever saw. They just had so much talent and they came at you from all kinds of different angles. They played a lot of single coverage and dared you to throw the ball downfield because they knew you weren’t going to have time to. My coaches, after they’d seen the film (of Super Bowl XX) during the offseason, they told me that, in two and a half quarters, I’d thrown the ball 31 times and gotten knocked down on 29 of them. So it made for a long afternoon.”​

At the time of his retirement, Steve Grogan owned nearly every Patriot passing record.
He is perhaps the last NFL quarterback to call his own plays from the huddle.

Lest anyone think the team’s quarterback was some pretty boy who played the part of a spectator in the proceedings, be advised that Grogan – as gritty a player as this franchise as ever known – was a willing and active participant. Tucking the ball under his arm, Grogan carried it 81 times for 539 yards and five touchdowns that year.​
It was the “Foxboro 500” as the 1978 Patriots became the first team in league history to boast four backs who eclipsed 500 yards in a season.​
Grogan’s passing totals (2,824 yards and 15 touchdowns) may have been extremely modest by today’s standards, but here was a dual threat who more than complemented his arm with his legs, averaging a team-leading 6.7 yards per carry while exceeding 500 yards on the ground in the fourth season of a 16-year career that would lead him into the Patriots Hall of Fame.​
When all was said and done, the 1978 Patriots had a run-pass mix of 671-390 (the 671 rushing attempts in a season remain a franchise record). Their 3,165 yards on the ground exceeded the previous record of 3,088 yards set by the 1973 Bills in a season in which one back, O.J. Simpson, accounted for 2,003. The ’78 Patriots produced a league-record 181 first downs on the ground and ran for a team-record 30 TDs.​
To put all of this in its proper context, think of it this way: Over the course of the regular season, the 1978 Patriots averaged 41.9 carries and 197.8 yards rushing per game.​
Far more often (11 times) than not (five times), the ’78 Patriots exceeded 200 yards rushing in a regular-season game, peaking with 279 in a 14-10 win at Buffalo on Nov. 5.​

Steve Grogan's stats include 182 passing touchdowns, 35 rushing touchdowns, 26,886 yards passing,
2,176 yards rushing, 14.3 yards per completion, and twenty 4th quarter or overtime game winning drives.

Jan 1, 2002:

Did you ever have one of those days that everything just seemed perfect? When the sun shined brightly and you had that little extra spring in your step? And no matter what decisions you made they all seemed to work out in the end?​
On Sept. 9, 1979, Steve Grogan and the New England Patriots had one of those days, and the New York Jets were buried under the avalanche of a record-setting offensive explosion. The Patriots set four team records that day and equaled four more. When the sun officially set on the hapless Jets, the Patriots walked out of Schaefer Stadium with a 56-3 romp and in turn earned the first career victory for Head Coach Ron Erhardt, as well as the No. 7 spot on this top 10 list.​
"They just couldn't cover anybody all day long," Grogan remembered. "They played a lot of combination coverages and they kept leaving Harold [Jackson] and Stanley [Morgan] open all day. Ron let me go and I called the game. They kept double teaming Russ [Francis] and I kept going to Harold and Stanley on deep posts for touchdowns."​
Try five touchdowns - covering 208 yards. Basically, the Patriots game plan went something like this: run the ball effectively to start, then have Grogan drop back and figure out which of his targets was being single covered, then loft perfect spirals into their arms for touchdowns.​
The first went to Jackson for 49 yards. Next it was Morgan's turn for 37. Both of those came in the first quarter as the Patriots jumped to a 14-3 lead. The second quarter was more of the same. Morgan grabbed a 50-yarder just behind cornerback Bobby Jackson, who was burned repeatedly in the game. Late in the first half, Harold Jackson started and ended a brief one-play drive with a 44-yard touchdown to give New England a 35-3 halftime lead.​
Jackson added another - for 28 yards - midway through the third quarter and Grogan and the rest of the starters watched from the bench as the backups finished off the Jets.​

1975 to 1990: The Career of Steve Grogan (5:26)

Grogan's Heroes - Steve Grogan Career Highlights (8:02)

1986 Week 16 Pats at Miami; Last Game In Orange Bowl (17:12)

I have never asked ANY sports personality for an autograph..ever.

I would shave my azz and walk upside down dressed in hunter green blubbering "Og Og Og !J-T-S-E" for a Steve Grogan autograph. You have to understand something...I have been a Pats fan since the start. I have been battered and beaten by 2-14 seasons and 52-10 losses and held season tickets for twenty years through the worst of it. Why? You hit me I get back up and I start swinging again...EVERY TIME. You may defeat me but you'll NEVER beat me. I'm not bragging, that's how I was brought up and that is how my friends and my family are. In for a penny, in for a pound. I've lived through shyt in southern New England that would curl most other people from other places' toes. I AM a die hard true blue Patriots HOMER and gd'ed proud of it...and there is no player in Pats history that ever approximated my mindset and that of my friends and family more than STEVE GROGAN. That man IS THE man, a tougher player I HAVE NEVER witnessed. I would be beyond proud to have HIS autograph



In the Starting Line-Up
Grogan and Sam Bam were the guys who got me started as a Pats fan in my youth.

thanks for this. I had been meaning to change my avatar back to Grogs since TB left, but with my preferred ‚perpetual-professional lurker‘ status I didnt have a good excuse.
your Post is a Great one.

Grogan was Pat Patriot epitomized. Thanks again.

Actual Pats Fan Supporter Supporter
Grogan was drafted by Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks in the fifth round of the 1975 draft out of Kansas State.
At training camp that summer, Chuck said about Steve, "This kid can be a very special player, if he can ever learn to control his temper..."

I can only dream about handling life's adversities and annoyances with the class of Steve Grogan. He is a true role model.