Football games and related shows this week vary from Marcus Allen being profiled on A Football Life to an interesting slate of NFL games on Sunday as a prelude to the Pats-49ers game. Here is a quick preview to next week’s football schedule on television:


Tuesday’s NFL Replay on the NFL Network will be the Redskins’ 31-28 comeback victory over the Ravens at 8:00 ET, followed by the Dallas-Cincinnati game at 9:30 ET.

The NFLN premiers a new episode of the fine series A Football Life; on Wednesday at 8:00 ET we have a profile on Marcus Allen. Wednesday at 10:30 the NFLN airs a new SoundFX; those mic’d up this week are Chicago QB Jay Cutler, Tampa WR Vincent Jackson, Tampa CB Ronde Barber, and San Francisco S Donte Whitner.

ESPN2 replays their profile of Bo Jackson as part of their 30 for 30 series on Wednesday at 8:00 ET. Saturday at 8:30 ESPN airs Broke, and following that at 10:00 they show Ghosts of Ole Miss, which I highly recommend if you have not yet seen it.

HBO replays the most recent Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Wednesday at midnight for the final time. The episode has three very compelling stories well worth watching: Your Brain on Football, which is an examination of what happens to a student athlete’s brain after a season of football; Hired Gun, which revisits the events that landed Rae Carruth in jail; and Cowboys Collapse Update, a follow up on the building that collapsed at the Cowboys facility a couple years ago, focusing on a Dallas coach who is now wheelchair-bound.

Thursday night the NFLN has the Bengals at Eagles. Rooting interest for Pats fans can be based on whether or not you like former Patriot RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and whether you would rather see the Steelers or Bengals make the playoffs.

Saturday brings us the first of 35 college football bowl games: Nevada versus Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl (or is it New Mexico versus Nevada in the Arizona Bowl?), and that classic we have been waiting so patiently for: the Potato Bowl, which this year matches Toledo against Utah State. I think the Potato Bowl took the place of the Weedwhacker Bowl, which is of course so sorely missed.

On Sunday the early game on CBS throughout most of the country (147 stations) and all of New England is the Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens; announcers are Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. The Indianapolis at Houston game will be broadcast on 42 stations, including in Hawaii, Ohio and Tennessee as well as the local stations that always air Colt and Texans games. Jacksonville at Miami airs on only 12 stations in Florida and southern Georgia, and five metro areas – Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans and St. Louis – will get no early CBS game because that team is playing at home on FOX.

The late game on CBS is Pittsburgh at Dallas, with the network’s number one broadcast team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. The game will not be available in San Diego or Phoenix due to the NFL blackout rule mentioned above. It will be available everywhere except for the eight stations that always show Raiders games and the eleven that always show Chiefs games; condolences to those that have no choice other than Kansas City at Oakland.

On Fox the early game is split between the Giants at Falcons (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston; 64 stations, including all of New England); Green Bay at Chicago (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman; 48 stations); Tampa Bay at New Orleans (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick; 18 stations); Washington at Cleveland (Ron Pitts, Mike Martz; 16 stations); and Minnesota at St. Louis (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis; 15 stations). The Fox late games are Seattle at Buffalo (Dick Stockton, John Lynch; 15 stations); Carolina at San Diego (Sam Rosen, Heath Evans; 12 stations); Detroit at Arizona (Chris Myers, Tim Ryan; 10 stations).

The main event is of course the Pats-49ers game on Sunday night; the Monday night game is truly a dud, with the Jets playing Tennessee.



This Day In Patriots History


December 11, 1960:
Dallas Texans 34, Boston Patriots 0 at the Cotton Bowl

The Texans scored on an interception return and a punt return in the third quarter to blow open what had been a close defensive battle. Ross O’Hanley, Jack Rudolph and Harry Jacobs each had an interception for the Patriots defense.


December 11, 1966:
Boston Patriots 38, Houston Oilers 14 at Rice Stadium

The Pats downed the Oilers in Texas, putting them one win game away from playing for the AFL championship, and two games away from playing in the very first Super Bowl – or as it was known then, the NFL-AFL Championship Game.

The Pats racked up a season-high 512 yards of total offense, with league MVP Jim Nance leading the way. Nance rushed for 146 yards on just 17 carries, including a 57-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put the Pats up 31-7. Babe Parilli threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns, Larry Garron had 113 yards receiving and two touchdowns out of the backfield, and the defense held Houston to just 65 yards rushing and a garbage time score.


December 11, 1971:
Willie McGinest was born in Long Beach.
Drafted by the Pats in the first round (4th overall) of the 1994 draft after four years at USC, went on to be named to two pro Bowls, won three Super Bowl rings, and after 12 years with the Pats finished with 582 tackles and 86 sacks. Named to the Pats all-1990’s team as well as the all-2000’s team; holds NFL records with 16 career post-season sacks, and most sacks in a playoff game (4½). Appeared in 171 regular season and 18 post-season games for the Patriots from 1994-2005; holds the franchise record for sacks in the regular season with 78. More info here at the team web site.


December 11, 1977:
New England Patriots 14, Miami Dolphins 10 at Schaefer Stadium

Ike Forte and Sam Cunningham ran for first quarter touchdowns, and the defense made that lead stand up as the Pats improved to 9-4 on a bitterly cold day in Foxboro. The Pats D held Miami to just 25 yards rushing, and the victory put the Patriots in a three-way tie for the AFC East title with the Colts and Dolphins with just one game left in the regular season.


December 11, 1983:
New England Patriots 21, Los Angeles Rams 7 at Anaheim Stadium

Mosi Tatupu rushed for a career-high three touchdowns and the Pats defense forced seven turnovers for an upset win on the west coast. Andre Tippett had two sacks, Don Blackmon had a sack and an interception, and the Pats recovered six Ram fumbles, winning easily despite converting none of their eleven third down opportunities.


December 11, 1988:
New England Patriots 10, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 in OT at Sullivan Stadium

Tony Eason made his first start after missing the previous 23 games and the Pats won to keep their playoff hopes very much alive, winning a regular season overtime game for the first time in franchise history.

The elements played a major role in this game, as the wind chill hovered around minus 10 degrees. Tampa Bay head coach Ray Perkins, who later became the Pats offensive coordinator from 1993-96 under pal Bill Parcells, made a questionable decision at the start of overtime. The Bucs won the coin flip but Perkins elected to kick off with the stiff wind at his team’s back rather than receive the ball. Sammy Martin returned the kickoff to the 35, Eason made a few first down passes, and Jason Staurovsky – who was the goat when he missed a 27-yard field goal in a 3-point loss two weeks previously – connected from the same 27-yard distance for the game winner just 3:08 into overtime. As a result of Perkins’ decision Tampa Bay lost the game in overtime without ever getting a chance to go on offense – despite winning the coin toss.

The Pats took a 7-0 lead with 7:36 left to play in the 3rd quarter on a 6-yard run by Bob Perryman. Vinny Testaverde (who later spent the 2006 season with the Patriots) threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie the game in the 4th quarter, to force the overtime. Eason, who joined Steve Grogan, Tom Ramsey and Doug Flutie as players to start at QB for the 1988 Pats, completed 16 of 27 passes for 155 yards with no touchdowns and two picks. Eason was replacing Flutie, who Raymond Berry benched due to ineffectiveness but was 6-3 in his nine starts. Eason had missed the final 8 games of the 1987 season with a separated shoulder, and then missed the first 14 games of 1988 while recovering from off-season surgery for nerve damage in his throwing arm.


December 11, 1994:
New England Patriots 28, Indianapolis Colts 13

This was another game that coach’s decisions concerning the wind in Foxboro came in to play, as the Pats won to keep their chances of a wildcard spot very much alive with two winnable games remaining.

After Drew Bledsoe threw three first half interceptions, Bill Parcells elected to take the ball at the start of the third quarter trailing 10-7, and give the Colts the wind in the fourth quarter. The plan looked as if it had backfired when Bledsoe threw his fourth pick with 10:02 to play in the third quarter, but when the Pats got the ball back they stayed with the no huddle and kept passing. The plan worked as Bledsoe, who had a 90-yard pick-6 and a 9-yard TD pass to Leroy Thompson in the first half, connected with Ben Coates for a 6-yard TD, and drove the Pats downfield to set up a Marion Butts rushing TD. The Pats were up 21-10 at the end of the 3rd quarter and Thompson ran for another touchdown in the 4th quarter to seal their 5th consecutive victory.


December 11, 2005:
New England Patriots 35, Buffalo Bills 7 at The Ralph

The Patriots dominated both sides of the ball, demolishing the Bills in a game that was much more one-sided than the final score would indicate.

In the first half Buffalo possessions resulted in four punts and an interception. When the game was over the Pats defense had allowed only 8 first downs, 2-for-10 on 3rd down attempts, a mere 14 yards rushing, just 18:01 time of possession, and had forced three turnovers, including a 39-yard interception return for a touchdown by James Sanders. The game was a shutout until Buffalo scored their only touchdown with 2:14 left to play.

Tom Brady went 29-of-38 for 329 yards passing with two touchdowns passing and one rushing on a slippery, snowy day; he improved his record to 14-0 when the temperature is 35 or lower. Corey Dillon played in only his second game since being injured five weeks earlier and rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown, and Christian Fauria had a touchdown reception. The Pats held the ball for 42 minutes and set a then-team record with 32 first downs.


December 11, 2011:
New England Patriots 34, Washington Redskins 27 at FedEx Field

In a game that was much closer than most anticipated it would be, Jerod Mayo clinched the Pats fifth straight win when he grabbed a pass tipped by Santana Moss at the 9-yard line with 20 seconds left to play.

Rob Gronkowski caught six passes for a career-high 160 yards and caught touchdown passes of 11 yards and 27 yards. Those were the 14th and 15th touchdown receptions for Gronk, which set an NFL record for most touchdown catches by a tight end in a single season. The biggest highlight was just before the first TD when he made a shoestring catch, dragged and then shed two defenders, and managed to stay in bounds, racing down the sideline for a 49-yard gain.

Sports gossip sites and talk radio had plenty to talk about when Tom Brady was picked off in the end zone in the 4th quarter and after he got to the sidelines was seen in a shouting match with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. Brady threw for 357 yards and three touchdowns; the first TD moved him past Warren Moon into 6th place on the NFL all-time list with 292 touchdown passes. It was also the fourth time that Brady threw for 4,000 yards in a season.

In the first quarter Andre Carter hit Rex Grossman in the end zone, knocking the ball away. Vince Wilfork picked it up for a touchdown, the first of his NFL career. Wes Welker’s 24-yard touchdown catch with 4:26 left to play proved to be the game-winner; Wes became just the third player in NFL history to have four 100-catch seasons. For Washington former Patriot Jabar Gaffney had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown, former Patriot Donte’ Stallworth had four catches for 96 yards, including a 51-yarder, and the Redskins scored another touchdown on a halfback option pass to Moss.



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December 11, 1931:
Rita Moreno (West Side Story) was born in Puerto Rico

December 11, 1940:
Donna Mills (Knots Landing) was born in Chicago

December 11, 1941:
Germany and Italy declare was on the United States

December 11, 1944:
Brenda Lee (I’m Sorry, I Want To Be Wanted, Sweet Nothin’s) was born in Atlanta

December 11, 1944:
Lynda Day George (Mission Impossible) was born in San Marcos

December 11, 1947:
Teri Garr (Young Frankenstein, Mr. Mom, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Tootsie) was born in Ohio

December 11, 1954:
Jermaine Jackson (Let’s Get Serious) was born in Gary Indiana

December 11, 1958:
Mötley Crüe bass player Nikki Sixx was born in San Jose

December 11, 1964:
Sam Cooke (You Send Me, Chain Gang, Shake) was shot dead at the age of 33




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