May 28, 2012

Farewell to Boston - Number 1 - Foxboro

You all know I’m a Boston sports nut.

Celtics? Love ‘em. Red Sox? Can’t get enough…when they aren’t behaving like entitled douchebags. Bruins? I jump on the bandwagon from time to time.

But the Patriots are my religion. And from the age of eight, Foxboro Dump Stadium and Gilette Stadium were my places of worship. The Paps and I would make the trip up through Dedham, then down 95 (every Sunday…and the occasional Monday) before jumping on Route 1 and going to “church”. This was and still is my favorite place in the greater Boston area.

And just like I can remember just about every single popular reading from the Bible (Catholic school will do that to heathens like me), I can vividly take you back through every experience I had watching the Patriots go to work. What can I say…I was…and still am…a Pats addict. My complete Foxboro experience after the jump.

Sunday August 31, 1997
W-Patriots 41 – San Diego 7

My first trip to Foxboro. I’d never heard classic rock before, but thankfully, the stadium speakers changed that. Hearing AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and other bad ass music directly led to me being a music snob and hating all of today’s music. Even better, I had a chance to witness public drunkenness and heard amazing swear words. Naturally, this was the first step in my growth towards being a loud, obnoxious, sailor mouthed drunk.

Everyone was pumped, as the Patriots raised the 1996 AFC Champions flag. Meanwhile, the game itself was a f*cking massacre. San Diego was utter trash that year, led by Stan “The Man” Humphries at QB and never had a chance. Thank God they drafted Ryan Leaf the April after…or things could have really gotten bad for the Chargers…

Sunday October 12, 1997
W- Patriots 33 – Buffalo 6

From Stan Humphries to Todd Collins, I was literally seeing dogsh*t start at QB for opposing teams.

Meanwhile, this was the moment that I became convinced that Adam Viniatieri would one day be the best kicker in the NFL. He hit 5 field goals…including a 57* yarder in this bad boy. Guess what? As usual, I was right.

Sunday November 23, 1997
W-Patriots 27-Miami 24

The Patriots had just snapped out of a snaffoo the week before against Buffalo. But this game was ugly. It was raining, swampy, and just a pathetic game. Dan Marino did what he did best, failing miserably and often. He threw two pick 6’s, a 60+ yarder to Larry Whigham and an 100 yard run back from Jimmy Hitchcock. Meanwhile, Dave “Man of the Year” Meggett chipped with halfback pass for a TD. Ugly…but a win none theless.

Saturday December 13, 1997
L – Pittsburgh 24-Patriots 21 (OT)

The first loss. I threw a temper tantrum and was definitely crying. Why? Because Drew Bledsoe threw a screen pass to a Steelers defensive lineman (Levar Henry I believe) while up 3 with just under 2 minutes to go. He took it back to the 20 or so (was a touchdown but there was an illegal forward lateral), and that set the Steelers up to take it to OT where they’d win it. Stupid f*cking play. But I was a devout Bledsoe apologist, so I let it slide.

Sunday September 20, 1998
W – Patriots 27 – Tennessee 16

I remember being really annoyed by the fact that Tennessee’s team was called the Oilers. Little did I know that I’d be working in the town that once called the team home.

I watched an ugly first half...6-6. I watched an uglier second half, as the Oilers took a 16-13 lead with about 10 minutes to play. But with 5 minutes left, lightning struck twice. First, Bledsoe hit Terry Glenn with a 50 yard bomb to take the lead. Then seconds later, on the next Oiler play from scrimmage, Lawyer Milloy took an interception 30 yards to the house to ice the game. BAM.

Sunday October 11, 1998
W – Patriots 40 – Kansas City 10

It was a chilly, foggy day at Foxboro. We had fantastic seats in this one thanks to my Uncle Steve on the twenty yard line. And we got to see my favorite type of game: The Slaughter. This was like Madden on easy. The Pats were up 27-0 at halftime and never thought twice. Robert Edwards was a beast - running for 100 and a touch and catching a score as well. Easy. NEXT.

Sunday November 13, 1998
W – Patriots 25 – Buffalo 21

By far my favorite game at the old dump. And it wasn't a massacre. Here's why.

The Patriots were barely clinging to their playoff lives at 5-5 after losing 4 of 5. With the season on the brinks, the Pats would welcome division rivals Miami and Buffalo back to back in absolute must-win games. This back to back slate would prove to be Drew Bledsoe's finest hour.

Against Miami, Bledsoe broke his right index finger in two places at some point in the game. Kind of a problem...seeing as Bledsoe was a righty. As a result he was wildly inaccurate (and considered coming out of the game at one point because he couldn't get a handle on the ball) completing 28 of 54 passes on the day. But in crunch time the man came to play. After the Dolphins took a 4 point lead with 3 minutes to go, Bledsoe ran that Pats down the field...hitting up Shawn Jefferson for 6 with :29 seconds to play. The Pats would win.

After breaking his finger, you'd think Bledsoe would take the pine while Scott Zolak would try to keep things paddling along. But in this season-on-the-brink situation, Bledsoe wasn't gonna play that.

It actually was a good idea at Bledsoe fired two second quarter TDs to take a 14-6 lead at halftime. But in the third...the Pats began to stall. Doug Flutie...who almost never loses in Foxboro...pulled off some Flutie magic, including an 80 yard TD strike through two defenders to Eric Moulds, and gave the Bills a late lead.

Bledsoe got the ball back for one last gasp around his own twenty with under two minutes to play. And so
the glorious drive began. New England got to the Bills 25 with about 6 seconds to play. The Pats needed a prayer, and Bledsoe unleashed a last second effort for the game. The ball bounced off Terry Glenn, who had jumped out of a crowd of defenders to get in position to make the play. Game Over.

Oh wait Bills fans just kidding. PASS INTERFERENCE. The Pats got set up on the one yard line for an untimed down, and Bledsoe hit Ben Coates in the back corner of the endzone for the game winner. Game Blouses. I was jumping around like a total dumbass high fiving drunks to my left and right. Meanwhile, the Bills were so pissed they all left the field before the extra point attempt. Naturally the Patriots let kicker Adam Vinatieri walk the ball in for the 2 point conversion. Hilarious. What a game.

Sunday September 26 1999
W - Patriots 16 - NYG 14

The start of a realllllly obnoxious season for the Pats, where they'd start off 6-2 and finish the year 2-6. What the F*ck.

Anyway, this game was boring like Titanic.  Terry Allen was allowed to play running back for the Pats, and apparently the Giants couldn't find any f*cker better than Kent f*cking Graham. Who the f*ck is that?

Sunday October 24 1999
W – Patriots 24 – Denver 23
Another snooze fest. Terry Allen somehow managed to rush for 100 yards, and the Patriots actually BEAT the Broncos, which was a pretty much impossible feat in the several years before. I'll take the win.

Sunday December 5 1999
W – Patriots 13 – Dallas 6
1999 sucked. And in this game, so did Drew Bledsoe. That being said, its always fun to see the Cowboys and their bandwagoners in town for a dominant, 50 yard rushing performance by Terry Allen.

Sunday September 17, 2000
L – Vikings 21 – Patriots 13
Y2K spelled the end of Pete Carroll, giving way for a year of the Patriots sucking balls. Like the year before, this game too was trash. Bledsoe was average, while the rest of the team did jack. NEXT.

Sunday November 19, 2000
W – Patriots 16 – Cincy 13

Another bore. WILL I EVER SEE AN ENTERTAINING GAME AGAIN? I appreciated the win, but LORD...HAVE MERCY.

Sunday September 23, 2001
L – NYJ 10 – Patriots 3

It was the first game after September 11th. Patriotism galore. Guard Joe Andruzzi’s New York firefighter brothers were in the house to flip the coin. It was an emotional and unforgettable pregame. I don't think a New York team had EVER been cheered on their entrance during a game against a Boston team. But I was one of the many who gave the Jets a warm welcome. U-S-A. U-S-A. AMURRRRRICAAAA.

Little did I know how important this game would be for the future of Patriot football. You know the story. Bledsoe went down. Brady stepped up. I said "Well this season's over." BZZZZT. WRONG.

Sunday November 9, 2001
W – Patriots 21 – Buffalo 11

I love going to Pats games. But I hate seeing sh*tty quarterbacks...specifically Rob Johnson who is my least favorite quarterback of all-time. Luckily the Pats sent that USC primadonna to the turf five times and knocked him out of the game. HOORAY.

Sunday November 25, 2001
W – Patriots 34 – New Orleans 17

The first of many monsoon-esque games I'd see in Foxboro. It was pouring rain and cold, but Tom Brady, who had just been anointed the starter for the rest of the year, kicked ass. 4 TDs. Dominance. And the first of a bad ass nine game winning streak to close out the season.

Sunday December 13, 2001
W – Patriots 27 – Cleveland 16

Got to the game late. Pats won with their defense...not allowing an offensive 6 and forcing 4 turnovers. Troy Brown busted a punt return for 6 and Antowain Smith had two TD scampers. GAME BLOUSES.

Monday September 9 2002
W – Patriots 30 – Pittsburgh 14

First game at Gilette Stadium. My first Monday Night game. Fireworks. Unveiling of the Super Bowl 36 banner. Video scoreboard on loop with Kordell Stewart saying "sometimes the better team doesn't win". Deion Branch. Tom Brady. Bill Cowher getting pissed off while the Pats unloaded on the Burgh. A massacre.

But that was just white noise. My Uncle Herve (RIP) came with us...and had an experience for the ages. When we sat down in our seats, a guy behind us yakked all over the place. He tried to get it all back in his beer bottle. Epic mistake. It overflowed onto floor and trickled down to our row...all over my Uncle Herve. He was PISSED. He went down stairs to the bathroom to get cleaned up. On his way back oblivious soda vendor bumped into him and spilled soda all over him. Herve was fuming. My Dad, Uncle Rick, and I were laughing hysterically. Oh spillage.

Sunday September 22 2002
W – Patriots 41-Kansas City 38 (OT)

SHOOTOUT! WE GOT A SHOOTOUT! I also got to see my very first F-IDon'tKnowWhatF*ckingKindOfJetsTheyWere flyover. Pretty cool when you're up in the 300 level because those bad boys are just hundreds of feet above you.

This game was fantastic. Naturally I remember just about none of it. David Patten had perhaps the coolest catch that I'd ever seen...catching a ball that was way behind him while in a dead sprint. Oh yeaaaaaaa. SHOOTOUT.

Sunday October 13 2002
L – Green Bay 28 – Patriots 10

This game sucked. A monsoon basically murdered Foxboro. I had to wear a poncho...and it didn't really work well. Oh and the Pats lost.

Sunday October 27 2002
L – Denver 24 – Patriots 16

The Pats looked pretty sweet wearing their all blues in back to back weeks. Too bad they totally sucked ass on the field. Four straight losses now...this one coming off of a bye. NOOOOOOOOOO.

Sunday December 14 2002
W – Patriots 27 – Buffalo 17

It was Drew Bledsoe's first game back in Foxboro. Love the guy...but thank God...because he tossed 4 picks...putting the Pats back in the drivers seat of the AFC East at 8-5. BAM.

Sunday December 22 2002
L – Jets 30 – New England 17

Sunday Night. The Jets. Pats had a chance to bring it back to the playoffs. And they blew Chad "I couldn't throw 20 yards if I tried" Pennington. A drunk fan provided the sole entertainment of the night by bellowing "Jeeeeetsssssssssss....Jetttttttttttssssssssssss........Jeeeeeeeettttttttttssssssssssss....YOU SUCK." for three hours straight.

Sunday December 29 2002
W – Patriots 27 – Miami 24 (OT)

The Pats played 50 minutes of garbage football. My feet were freezing. And a drunk guy fell on top of me. I was pissed. My dad was pissed. We made the trek back to the car through the woods...listening to the game on a walkman the whole way back. Naturally, with two minutes to go, the Pats scored 11 points to tie up the game and ended up winning the whole damn thing in Overtime. CURSE YOU FOOTBALL GODS! CURSE YOU!

After this season, I moved down to St. Pete Florida. But the addiction wasn’t over. And thanks to having two fantastic parents spoil me…I was still able to head back up NOTH to see the Patriots kick ass.

Sunday October 12 2003
W – Patriots 17 – NYG 6

Used the old "Columbus Day" holiday to head home for a weekend, even though my school didn't give the day off. With the Red Sox and Yankees in the midst of another ALCS, I may have been the only person who cared about this outcome more than the Red Sox. The weather absolutely sucked...with a monsoon turning the field into an absolute swamp. Cocktail Collins probably downed half a handle of vodka before the game, because he played like an absolute drunk.

Saturday December 27 2003
W – Patriots 31 – Buffalo 0

So fitting that the Pats flipped the scores on the Bills after that sh*tshow in Buffalo in week 1. This was the first of a decade of bashing the Bills. Bammmmmmo.

Sunday January 18 2004
W – Patriots 24 – Colts 14

The Colts are unstoppable. Peyton Manning can't be stopped. BLAH BLAH F*CKING BLAH.

WRONG. It snowed, and Peyton Manning sh*t himself, tossing 4 picks (3 to Ty Law). VICTORY.

Sunday November 28 2004
W – Patriots 24 – Baltimore 3

Monsoon. Slop. Kyle Boller. This one was only enjoyable because it was a rout.

Sunday January 2 2005
W – Patriots 21 – San Francisco 7


Sunday January 16 2005
W – Patriots 20 – Indy 3


Wrong again. Corey Dillon crammed it down Indy's throats all game long...while Troy freaking Brown and the Pats defense beat the Ponies into submission...again. We spent the entire fourth quarter chanting CUT THAT MEAT. What an awesome day.

Sunday November 26 2006
W – Patriots 17 – Chicago 13

Looking back at this game is a brutal reminder that the Pats should have won the Super Bowl this year. This Chicago team was pretty bad, mainly due to Rex Grossman lacking something called talent. How the hell did they make the Super Bowl? And HOW THE F*CK DID THE PATS CHOKE THAT GAME AWAY IN INDY?

I remember two things about this game:

1. - Rex Grossman was f*cking abysmal. 3 picks, and a fumble. I'm ashamed the man played for my Florida Gators.

2. - Tom Brady, arguably the slowest QB in the league, completely juked the shit out of Brian Urlacher in the open field for a big first down. I lost all respect for Urlacher on that play.

Sunday December 16 2007
W – Patriots 20 – Jets 10

A blizzard hit Foxboro that Sunday. We left early to head to the game from Mansfield (about 5 miles away). Three hours later we finally got to our seats in time for halftime. Luckily we didn't miss a whole lot in this one. The Pats played sloppy. The Jets played above average.

Sure it was a win. But it was more of a major bummer. With the way the Pats had been playing all season, we expected a 60 point blowout. Especially after Mangini had snitched on Belichick for Spygate earlier that year. Oh well. A win is still a win.

Sunday December 23 2007
W – Patriots 28 – Dolphins 7

Another day. Another cake walk. I watched. I was appeased. But the cake lay far down the road in pursuit of perfection. 15-0. 4 more to go.

Sunday January 20 2008
W – Patriots 21 – Chargers 12

Before the advent of the Rex Ryan-era Jets, there was no team that I loathed more and respected less than the San Diego Chargers.

Norv Turner - should be unemployed.
Shawne Merriman - overrated paper-tiger one trick pony.
Ladainian Tomlinson - cowardly fraud
Philip Rivers - trash talking nobody

This game was pretty uggo. The only thing I remember was Ladainian Tomlinson playing three plays Philip Rivers gutting through on a torn knee (which in turn earned him a boatload of respect from me)

18-0. One more to go.

Yeah I know.

Sunday October 26 2008
W – Patriots 23 – Rams 16

The only game of the Matt Cassell era that I witnessed. Thank god. The Rams were f*cking awful, yet they hung around in this one all game. That's cool...put another W up on the big board baby.

Sunday November 22 2009
W – Patriots 31 – Jets 14

Coming off a disappointing round of "Judgment Day", where the Pats blew a 31-14 fourth quarter lead - and lost the game after failing on 4th and two in their own territory - the Pats slashed the "Clown Car's" tires. Mark Sanchez had a pretty good game, throwing only four interceptions - three, including a pick 6 - to Leigh Bodden. Watching Sanchez attempt to play quarterback is always high comedy.

Sunday January 10 2010
L – Ravens 33 – Patriots 14

By far my worst experience in Foxboro. First off - after tailgating - we headed into the Stadium an hour and a half before game time. For some reason, the security guarding the gates into the stadium had a dumbass crew working the day. It took us an hour and a half to get to our seats - and when we finally got there, we found out Ray Rice had scampered for a long touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. Just a few plays after taking a seat, Brady was sacked, fumbled, and set the Ravens up in prime position.

It had been 4 minutes, and the game was already over. The Pats looked flat and were never in it. To make matters worse, we were sitting behind Ravens fans who somehow got tickets to the game. What a disaster.

And I couldn't even drink it away. Oh to be 21.

Sunday November 7 2010
W – Patriots 31 – Colts 28

The last go-round of "Judgment Day". As least as we would know it...with Peyton Manning as a member of the Colts. And as just about every single regular season matchup between these two for the past eight years, it was another classic down to the wire.

But it didn't look that way late. The Pats jumped out to a big lead thanks to some Manning picks. Yet as the fourth quarter started, the Patriots offense stalled, while Indy just hung around. And with this terrible Patriots secondary, you knew Manning could EASILY bring the Colts back. And he did.

I hate being in attendance for games like this. Sure it's exciting, but I'd much rather watch a massacre. Luckily, this one ended happy. Manning - driving into Patriots territory - tossed his third pick to a falling Jame Sanders, who caught it at the Patriots 6 with about 30 seconds to play. We all went nuts.

There is nothing quite as fun as beating the team you hate the most. The Manning-manned Colts were my number one at this point. Awesome. CUT! THAT! MEAT!

DIVISONAL PLAYOFFS - Sunday January 16, 2011
 L – Jets 28 – Patriots 21

Mother. F*cker. There is nothing worse than losing to this arrogant clown car…especially in the playoffs. Oh wait - having two numbskulls from Queens drunkenly flap their gums while sitting behind you, who then proceeded to fall on top of you after the game is over – that’s worse.

Sunday October 9, 2011
W – Patriots 30 – Jets 21

There is nothing better than smacking your idiot little brothers around, especially when it involves a 5’8 keebler elf toasting “the best corner in the nfl” for a 75 yard gain. Oh wait – witnessing the carnage from the second row on the 50-yard-line – that’s the best.

Sunday October 16, 2011
W – Patriots 20 – Cowboys 16

One of the benefits of being a Patriots fan is that you usually feel completely at ease. When you combine the hooded one and the league’s best quarterback, it usually adds up to a lot of beatdowns.

My last trip to Foxboro was not the case. The 'Boys were in town, and the Pats kind of showed up. They played well enough in the first half, but the offense never appeared in the second. The Cowboys hit two field goals and hit one late. The Pats took the ball with about 2:31 to go.

Call me a doubter and terrible fan, but I had my doubts with Brady getting the ball back with a chance to win the game. He'd only done it 31 times prior, but I felt like I hadn't seen it in a longgg time.

But my negative nancy self was slapped in the face by reality. Brady marched down the field in his fabulous uggs, shredding the 'Boys like it was 1989. With about 20 seconds to play he hit Aaron Hernandez in the end zone for the game winner, and everyone went nuts.

So there you have it. Here's the last image of my last trip to Church...Heaven...whatever the hell you want to call it. Looking forward to the next go-round when I'll be up to watch the Texans - the team I cover now - try to pull one off up Noth. FYI...Doubtful. And I'll be sporting my Gronk jersey trying to get Gronked.

All in all...I saw a whole f*cking lot of success in Foxboro. Here's the record:

Regular Season: 29 - 6 , including a 13 game regular season home winning streak dating back to 2002.
Postseason: 3-2

Me being an ass aside, I am forever in debt to my Paps for shelling out big bucks to take me to the old dump and the razor Sunday after Sunday. Win or lose (but mostly the winning - which happens often), it was always a blast. And I doubt I'd love football the way I do, or have the job I currently have, without old Garbear. Appreciate it Dad.

So that's it for my Boston side of things. Took long enough. It's time to pull the switcherooskie on this bad boy and make it all Houston. MY WILL BE DONE.

1 comment:

  1. nobody reads this bullshit but good luck in houston