A few program alerts for this week:

- NFL Network’s NFL Replay for this week is the Steelers-Ravens at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, Seahawks-Bears at 9:30 Tuesday, and Colts-Lions at 9:00 Wednesday. I’m interested in watching that last one in particular to figure out how Detroit’s defense can get Andrew Luck can throw 30 incomplete passes and three interceptions – and yet the Lions still find a way to lose.

- At 11:00 p.m. ET the NBC Sports Network premiers Still Standing: The Earl Campbell Story. The documentary includes interviews with Bum and Wade Phillips, Mean Joe Greene, and several others. I had the pleasure of not only seeing Campbell play, but meeting him once. The Hall of Famer was an absolute force, and his post-football life is a sobering testament to the wreckage the game can cause to the body of even one of the toughest players to ever take the field. Spoiler Alert: great news that Campbell is now walking again.

- NFLN’s A Football Life has what should be another good one in their series: Wednesday at 8:00 it features Barry Sanders. Their Sound FX for this week features the Lions’ Calvin Johnson and Matt Stafford, Titans’ Jeff Fisher, and Bills’ Kyle Williams; that airs at 10:30 on Wednesday.

- This week’s Real Sports on HBO features a follow up on Rae Carruth, the son he left behind, and the mother of the woman he killed. There is also a follow up on the training facility that the Dallas Cowboys had that collapsed a few years ago, focusing on a scout who still works for the team but is confined to a wheelchair. In addition there is an eye-opening look at the effects of hits to the head of college football players, and how they have zero recourse or help with their medical needs. I’ve never been a fan of Bryant Gumbel, but the show does a great job at producing these stories.

- Thursday Night Football is one of utmost importance to Pats fans: the Broncos at the Raiders. Hopefully we all get to see the legendary Manning Face several times.

- ESPN Films 30 for 30 series this week highlights Bo Jackson; that airs Saturday at 9:00.

- In case you’re wondering what games will be available next Sunday to those without the Sunday Ticket, the lineup looks like this: CBS has the single game; most of the nation (including New England) will get the Chargers at Steelers, with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms announcing. The primary early game for most of the country as well as New England on FOX is Dallas at Cincinnati, and the primary late game is the Giants at New Orleans (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman). Fox and the NFC East is so predictable it’s insane.

- I understand they are running a business and not a non-profit for my personal viewing pleasure, but I find it disappointing that the world wide leaders’ football shows are so difficult to find. Here we are in the midst of the meat of the regular season schedule and for the most part NFL32 and NFL Live are virtually nowhere to be found. Why is that? Simple: they’re broadcasting college and pro basketball games, or devoting time to previewing them or talking about the game that was just played – i.e., promoting what they have purchased the rights to broadcast. Thankfully the NFLN, NBC Sports and CBS Sports Networks have somewhat filled that void, though they too all leave a bit to be desired.

- A couple weeks ago I blasted Cris Carter for his opinions on Bill Belichick using Rob Gronkowski on special teams. Though I still feel the same way, I’ll give Carter a thumbs up for being one of the very few to recognize the significance of turnovers when it came to discussing how good (or bad) various team’s defenses were – specifically the Steelers and Colts.

- I’m glad to see a couple of colleges that are not part of the ‘usual suspects’ – i.e., the top conferences – get BCS bowl berths. Unfortunately for Louisville (vs Florida) and Northern Illinois (vs Florida State), they will likely get shellacked – but who knows, maybe one of them can pull off a big upset like Boise State did a couple years ago.

- Ironic that Oregon will be playing Kansas State in the Runner Up Bowl Fiesta Bowl, after so many had prematurely declared that the two teams would be playing for the national championship just a few weeks ago.

- The Patriots will be honoring Matt Light during halftime of Monday night’s game with the Texans. Nice gesture, and good timing to get the crowd that much more into things with this being such a big game. Left tackle to Drew Brees and Tom Brady for your entire college and pro career? The guy must have some great stories to tell.

 

 

This Day In Patriots History

 

December 4, 1948:
Randy Vataha (Pats WR 1971-76) was born in Santa Maria, California.

 

December 4, 1960:
Buffalo Bills 38, Boston Patriots 14 at War Memorial Stadium

Butch Songin ran for one touchdown and passed for another, but the Bills won on a couple of long plays in the 4th quarter when the Pats were selling out to get the ball back.

 

December 4, 1966:
Boston Patriots 14, Buffalo Bills 3 at 3 at Fenway Park

Jim Nance rushed for 109 yards, including a career-long 65-yard touchdown as the Pats knocked off the Bills to pull within a half game of first place in the AFL East. Nance, who was on his way to being named the AFL MVP, made the cover of Sports Illustrated the following Thursday. The defense forced four turnovers on a day when the wind chill was near zero, including interceptions by Jim Fraser and Tom Hennessey, and held Buffalo to just 40 yards rushing. Jim Lee Hunt had three sacks and Larry Eisenhauer knocked Bills quarterback Jack Kemp out of “The Game“; the crowd of 39,350 was the largest to ever attend a football game at Fenway Park.

 

December 4, 1969:
Ferric Collons (Pats DE 1995-99) was born in Belleville, Illinois.

 

December 4, 1972:
Ted Johnson (Pats LB, 1995-2004) was born in Alameda, California.

 

December 4, 1977:
New England Patriots 16, Atlanta Falcons 10 at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium

Steve Grogan‘s 33-yard touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan with less than three minutes to play gave the Pats the lead and the win, improving their record to 8-4. Julius Adams had 4½ sacks and the defense came up with four interceptions: two by Mike Haynes, and one each by Tim Fox and Prentice McCray. Raymond Clayborn returned a kickoff 78 yards near the end of the game to seal the win.

 

December 4, 1983:
New England Patriots 7, New Orleans Saints 0 at Sullivan Stadium

Tony Collins‘ 3-yard 1st quarter touchdown run ended up being the only score of the game on a miserable rainy and snowy day as the Pats evened their record at 7-7. Mosi Tatupu rushed for a career-high 128 yards and the Pats defense, led by Clayton Weishuhn (21 tackles and a forced fumble) forced three turnovers to overcome a forgettable day by Tony Eason: 3-10 for 30 yards.

 

December 4, 1988:
New England Patriots 13, Seattle Seahawks 7 at Sullivan Stadium

The New England defense put on one of their most impressive efforts ever, allowing just two first downs and 65 yards of total offense to Seattle, yet the Pats still had to come from behind in the 2nd half for the win. After the Seahawks took a 7-6 lead on a 27-yard touchdown pass by Dave Krieg, midway through the 3rd quarter Bob Perryman scored on a one-yard plunge for what would be the game-winning touchdown; kicker Teddy Garcia made a touchdown-saving tackle on the kickoff to help preserve the lead. John Stephens rushed for 121 yards for the Pats and following the game Raymond Berry benched Doug Flutie, who was 5-10 for 47 yards and an interception. One of those completions was significant: Stanley Morgan recorded his 500th NFL regular season reception with a catch for 19 yards.

 

December 4, 1990:
Ron Burton and Jim Plunkett were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

 

December 4, 1994:
New England Patriots 24, New York Jets 13

Ricky Reynolds intercepted a Boomer Esiason pass and returned it 11 yards for a touchdown, giving the Pats a 17-13 3rd quarter lead and the Pats went on to defeat the Jets in Foxboro. Leroy Thompson, who rushed for 80 yards, sealed the victory with a 4th quarter touchdown; Vincent Brisby had 8 receptions for 90 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown from Drew Bledsoe.

 

December 4, 2000:
New England Patriots 30, Kansas City Chiefs 24

On Monday Night Football Drew Bledsoe threw for a season-high 282 yards and Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals as the Pats produced their highest point total of the season. Bledsoe had touchdown passes to Troy Brown and Jermaine Wiggins (who had been signed seven days earlier after being cut by the Jets); that gave New England a 27-10 lead. Kansas City came back to within six and drove down to the 11-yard line but Tony Gonzalez was tackled on the four yard line as time expired. Otis Smith had a key interception at the 4-yard line that not only thwarted a Chiefs drive, but his 56-yard return also set up one of Vinatieri’s field goals.

 

December 4, 2005:
New England Patriots 16, New York Jets 3 at Gillette Stadium

Adam Vinatieri kicked field goals of 21, 34 and 22 yards to set a franchise record for career points with 1,134, surpassing Gino Cappelletti as the Pats drubbed the Jets. Even with nine players on injured reserve, including six defensive backs, the Patriots kept the Jets out of the end zone and held Curtis Martin to just 26 yards rushing. Corey Dillon (84 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown) and Kevin Faulk (81 yards from scrimmage) made several key plays and first downs for the Pats, and Tom Brady threw for 271 yards.

 

December 4, 2011:
New England Patriots 31, Indianapolis Colts 24 at Gillette Stadium

Rob Gronkowski caught two touchdown passes and rushed for another (it was ruled a leteral rather than a pass), as the Pats won far more easily than the final score would indicate. The Patriots won 31-0 entering the 4th quarter but Indy scored 21 points, 14 on lengthy, time-consuming drives, as the Pats got what they wanted, time off the clock.

 

 

♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯ ♪ ♫ ♮ ♯

 

December 4, 1971:
The Montreaux Casino in Switzerland burned to the ground during a Frank Zappa show. The event was immortalized in Deep Purple ‘s Smoke On The Water.

December 4, 1976:
Deep Purple and James Gang guitar player Tommy Bolin died.

December 4, 1993:
Frank Zappa died.

 

 

 

 

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