In Celebration Of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick & The New England Patriots

deec77

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 8, 2008
Messages
18,902
Reaction score
11,100
Points
113
This is great for the memories and the laughs.

Getting to a Patriots game in Foxborough is an ordeal, even for those of us who freely accept that death, taxes, and traffic jams are the three enduring truths of living in and around Boston.
But a half-century later, the night of Sunday, Aug. 15, 1971, what was intended to be a celebration for the opening of the club’s brand new Schaefer Stadium still stands as the Nightmare on Route 1, one of the most risible chapters in the history of the then sad-sack franchise.
Kickoff for the preseason game against the New York Giants was 8:30 p.m. By midafternoon, though, it was clear that a substantial portion of the announced sellout crowd of 60,423 — the largest in Patriots history — would be stuck in traffic well beyond the coin flip. Thousands never made it to the game.
“A sight you can’t believe,” said Upton Bell, then the club’s 33-year-old general manager, recalling 50 years later what he saw from the top of the Schaefer stands around 4 p.m. “Miles and miles of traffic, up Route 1 and back to 95. I could see the Roman legions marching, and it wasn’t good. We were in big trouble.”

Columnist Ray Fitzgerald, the wittiest voice in the Globe sports section, reduced the scene to sci-fi terms.
“Route One looked like the last road out of town,” he wrote for the next day’s paper, “after the announcement that Godzilla had just swallowed City Hall and was looking for dessert.”

For the most part, the night the carburetors died, as Bell dubbed it, has been forgotten to time, and to success. A couple of generations of fans now embrace the Patriots as their darlings, winners of six Super Bowls, chief residents of the $325 million Gillette Stadium, the Kraft family mecca that replaced Billy Sullivan’s slapdash bowl in the forest nearly 20 years ago.

For many fans, their only connection to that era is the lasting annoyance that comes with the game-day commute. It’s far from the gnarled logjam it was 50 years ago, but it remains a pain — made necessary in large part because the Patriots repeatedly were rebuffed on bids to build a home in downtown Boston.

“People forget, no one in Boston wanted them, cared about them,” Bell said.

Sullivan, in fact, watched upward of 30 proposals to build a football stadium in Boston get dixied, forcing the move to the ‘burbs as a last-ditch effort to keep pro football alive here.

“People forget, too,” said Bell, “that Bob Kraft saw all the problems in Foxborough — the traffic, the potholes — and said, ‘I’m outta here!’ He was all set to make them the Hartford Patriots.”

Patriots owner Billy Sullivan addressed the fans at the opener.
Patriots owner Billy Sullivan addressed the fans at the opener.Frank O'Brien/Globe Staff
The Patriots of 1971 finally could say they had a home, albeit ever so humble, Schaefer constructed in just over 300 days at a cost of slightly more than $7 million. For the many basic comforts it lacked — about 90 percent of its seats were bleacher-style — it had exceptional, unobstructed sight lines.

Above all, it was theirs, after a decade of the Patriots schlepping around Boston to play their home games first at Boston University, then at Fenway Park, followed by Boston College and finally Harvard. They were pigskin vagabonds, even when they shed their AFL beginnings for the NFL. Had Foxborough not worked out, their time here would have been short.

“They’d have been gone to Memphis,” said Bell. “No doubt about it.”

Ken London, a 16-year-old Milton High student in ‘71, had season tickets that first year at Schaefer with his brothers Howie and Steve. The 10-game package cost them each $80.

“The opener was surrounded by so much anticipation,” said London, who years later enjoyed a long run as producer/director of Bruins broadcasts at Channel 38. “I remember going there a few weeks before it opened. I found my seat and just sat there, thinking, ‘This place is the greatest.’ ”

On Aug. 15, Ken and Howie London were stuck for hours in Howie’s Volkswagen Beetle. Some 2 miles from the stadium, following the lead of countless others, Ken finally jumped out and ran to the stadium, zipping through and around cars that were overheated or out of gas, or both.

“I finally got inside late in the first half,” he said. “Carl Garrett, if I remember correctly, had just scored a touchdown and the place was going crazy.”

And older brother Howie? He showed up sometime in the second half.

“I think that’s right,” kidded Ken. “Not sure … haven’t seen him since. I’m pretty sure his VW’s still out on Route 1.”

Hudson’s Paul Karpowicz, now 72, counts himself “among the lucky ones” that night. A high school buddy was home from the service and the two decided to head to the box office early that day to buy a pair of $5 end zone tickets.

“Parked right next to the stadium,” Karpowicz said. “And I know we left early — I think my pal had to be somewhere the next day — and we sailed home. I remember reading the paper the next day, thinking, ‘Geez, what’s all this about the traffic?’ ”

Traffic was only part of the nightmare. Horrific plumbing issues caused scores of stadium toilets to either not flush or overflow. The Foxborough Board of Health, noted Bell, had no choice but to shut the place down, until a “Super Flush” event satisfied health inspectors that the plumbing worked.

“Kid you not,” Bell said. “Every toilet in the place had to flush at the same time. We got everyone we could — team personnel, media members, everybody — to flush a toilet. The call came over the PA, ‘OK, flush!’ And it worked. No one had to pee on the floor. We were saved!”

The town insisted also that there would be no more night games. Beers sold for one buck. Longer drinking hours led to longer lines to the bathrooms, more demand on the toilets. All games had to shift to 1 p.m. starts.

The traffic was still there even as the game proceeded.
The traffic was still there even as the game proceeded.Don Preston/Globe Staff
The Los Angeles Rams were due in town for the next preseason game, Aug. 29, kickoff 8:30 p.m.

“I had to call the Rams and ask for the switch to 1 o’clock,” Bell said. “Sure, they said, as long as we gave ‘em a draft pick. We didn’t do it, of course. But I mean, you can’t make this stuff up!”

A new Patriots season has begun. Washington was at Foxborough Thursday night for an exhibition game. The traffic flowed, but not with the efficiency of Gillette’s toilets or beer taps.

The game on Aug. 15, 1971, wrapped up at 11:15 p.m. The Patriots won, 20-14. There were still cars in the parking lot trying to get out at 2:30 a.m. Some fans didn’t get home till dawn.

“It was some evening,” wrote the great Ray Fitz, “and if you want to find out more about it, drop out to Foxborough today. I’ll be in the parking lot, trying to find my way out.”
Ah the good old days lol.... those were the days lots of struggles but fun non the less.

~Dee~
 
OP
chevss454

chevss454

Data-driven decision-making is science and art.
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
64,357
Reaction score
15,958
Points
113
Location
Canton, MA
In celebration of Julian Edelman Day 9/27/21

April 26, 2009: Edelman was traded by Jaguars as 2009 7th round pick (232nd overall) with 2010 2nd round pick (44th overall subsequently traded, Lamarr Houston) to Patriots for 2009 3rd round pick (73rd overall, Derek Cox)

"It's gonna be a helluva story."

The littlest guy with the big heart was always the toughest guy on the field.
Thank you, Julian, for all you did for us.




FANXVfNXsAQK5tr
 
Last edited:

Roberto71

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
11,998
Reaction score
3,224
Points
113
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I was on Twitter and one of many Tweets was about the Bucs - Pats game etc etc and some smart alec poster tweeted basically "Remember when the Pats were good? Lets hope Pats fans are good about loving in the past because that's all they got right now"

I tweeted back, "We can die happy thanks, 6 SBs and unprecedented division wins and AFCCG appearances, it will never be repeated in the FA and draft era"

A Browns fan Tweeted back:
"When you take a step back to observe and appreciate it, it's mind blowing just how much was accomplished. I hope all Pats fans share your mentality because I know I'd die happy if the Browns just got one
😂
"

He's damn right.
 

TyLawsPick6

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2021
Messages
618
Reaction score
424
Points
63
Location
NC
I was on Twitter and one of many Tweets was about the Bucs - Pats game etc etc and some smart alec poster tweeted basically "Remember when the Pats were good? Lets hope Pats fans are good about loving in the past because that's all they got right now"

I tweeted back, "We can die happy thanks, 6 SBs and unprecedented division wins and AFCCG appearances, it will never be repeated in the FA and draft era"

A Browns fan Tweeted back:
"When you take a step back to observe and appreciate it, it's mind blowing just how much was accomplished. I hope all Pats fans share your mentality because I know I'd die happy if the Browns just got one
😂
"

He's damn right.

Those people who say that stuff are just jealous and kinda dumb. BB isn't going to forget how to team build or coach overnight. And, he has a right as a GM to rebuild as he sees fit based on the market.

We don't know if these guys can band together and be good or not. No one does. But, I am not betting against the greatest GM and Coach in American sports history, whose done all this with a cap and a cheating commissioner who was specifically hired to slow him down with annual rule changes targeting his genius and his genius for keeping costs down by loading up on picks trying to control the draft board with a Rookie Cap in place.

One thing I noticed in the NFC West, is the Rams toss 1st rd picks like candy, but they haven't won anything with their reckless approach, and I noticed it set off a chain reaction with the other teams in that division. It just seems like Kroenke is under incredible stress to profit off a winner, the immediacy of a teambuild by Les Snead, who is horrible as a GM doing nothing with the RG3 draft day fleecejob almost 10 years ago, but there is no proof their approach can work. To me, a 1st rd pick under a Rookie Cap is like gold, especially in the top half of a draft board.

It's a short term view vs long term and BB's long term view clearly works. He's built 2 dynasties. At least the Browns fan was honest. Only in an upside down Covid world do people mock great success like Kraft, BB and Brady have provided as the 3 headed monster.
 
Last edited:

BostonTim

IIWII
Joined
Apr 9, 2005
Messages
36,506
Reaction score
7,614
Points
113
Age
74
Gentle reminder. This thread is the Legacy thread documenting the 20 year reign of the Patriots.More often than ever stuf that would best be elsewhere is showing up. I just feel this thread can't spend time comparing other peoples current QBs.

Also think we might start talking about how to retire this thread with great honor.
 

Giant Octopodes

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 29, 2015
Messages
1,355
Reaction score
859
Points
113
Location
Michigan
I would concur with the idea that perhaps it's time for this thread to be retired, perhaps only temporarily until Belichick and Brady have both also retired, just my opinion. I would hate to see this degenerate into more meaningless bickering on Bill vs Tom when this thread is dedicated to the celebration of both of them as well as the team and the achievements they wrought together.
 

Undertaker #59*

Car'a'carn
Staff member
Joined
Oct 8, 2002
Messages
26,968
Reaction score
5,244
Points
113
This is not the thread for this debate. I will be moving posts out of here.

If the majority like, we can temporarily lock this thread and move to the Classic Thread forum for now.
 

Mazz22

Age 44 and STILL playing like a champ
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
14,147
Reaction score
2,017
Points
113
Location
MA
This is not the thread for this debate. I will be moving posts out of here.

If the majority like, we can temporarily lock this thread and move to the Classic Thread forum for now.
I don't think it needs to be moved. It was just one poster that brought the negativity and he is new to the forum.
 

ParanoidPatriot

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Messages
10,515
Reaction score
2,450
Points
113
Location
in my shed
This is not the thread for this debate. I will be moving posts out of here.

If the majority like, we can temporarily lock this thread and move to the Classic Thread forum for now.
I agree about locking the thread. We Patriots fans have a lot to celebrate for those years.
Some always want to turn every thread into a pissing match about the current situation.
There are certainly enough threads for that, but not this one.
 
Top