Game Changers

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Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in New England Patriots History

The New England Patriots are the NFL’s undisputed team of the decade, the first professional football dynasty of the 21st Century. But as long-time fans know all too well, the road to greatness was anything but smooth. From their earliest seasons as one of the original American Football League franchises until the onset of the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era, the Patriots offered plenty of thrills, but always found a way to break fans’ hearts. The glory years have been well earned.

Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in New England Patriots History is about the big moments that have separated triumph and tragedy, the times when one play — one great cut, one lucky grab, one missed tackle — altered the course of a game, a season, even an entire era in franchise history. Through expertly crafted narratives that revisit key plays and huge games, action-packed photography, and all-new commentary from players, coaches and expert observers, Game Changers brings to life the on-field events that mattered most during the first 50 seasons of Patriots football.

Revisit the glory of three Super Bowl championships. Flash back to the high points of the 1985 Patriots’ run through the AFC playoffs to Super Bowl XX. Take a new look at the phenomenal 1976, 1978 and 2007 squads — and the frustrating ends they met. Recover lost moments, like the 1960 punt return touchdown that cost the favored Boston Patriots a victory in the upstart AFL’s inaugural game, and the 1964 interception that denied the Patriots an almost certain AFL championship.

Learn the secret truth behind Troy Brown’s momentum-stealing punt return touchdown in the 2001 AFC Championship. Get the inside scoop on why Gino Cappelletti missed a two-point conversion pass from Babe Parilli in the final game of 1964. Get a horse’s mouth account of how Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes reclaimed his Patriots roots. And discover how Kevin Faulk feels about being compared with Troy Brown. Get a first-person look into the career of a Patriots legend in the foreword by Steve Nelson.

Whether you’ve been around for the full 50 years or only recently learned to love Patriots football, Game Changers offers a fun, exciting and fascinating read.

What’s Inside

The Game Changers: Patriots table of contents

Foreword by Steve Nelson

When It Mattered Most
January 19, 2002: The Kick
Adam Vinatieri’s Impossible 45-Yard Field Goal Changes Everything Forever
February 3, 2002: Setting Up Adam
Brady-to-Brown Brings the Pats into Range for a Super Bowl XXXVI Win
December 7, 2003: Cue the Snow Fireworks
Tedy Bruschi’s Clutch Pick Six Wraps Up a Division Title
February 1, 2004: Setting Up Adam Again
Brady-to-Branch Pass Moves the Pats into Position for Another Championship Kick
January 23, 2005: The Bigger They Come
Harrison’s Second-Quarter Pick Six Spells the End of Roethlisberger and the 16-1 Steelers
February 4, 2005: Super Rodney
Harrison’s Sixth Postseason Interception Ensures Back-to-Back Championships
January 14, 2007: No You Don’t
Troy Brown Instant Changeover from Receiver to DB Saves a Win

On the Offensive
December 4, 1966: Get Real
Jim Nance Lands on the Cover of Sports Illustrated and Makes the Pats Legit
September 15, 1974: Thanks, Champs
Mini-Mack Herron Sends a Season-Opening Postcard to Miami
November 13, 1994: Drew Can
Bledsoe’s OT Touchdown Pass Caps a Season-Saving Comeback
October 14, 2001: The Kid Can Play
Tom Brady Wins Over the Faithful with a Big Fourth-Quarter Touchdown
October 19, 2003: Taking Control
Another Huge Brady-to-Brown Pass Puts the Pats in the AFC East Driver’s Seat
December 29, 2007: Make It a Double
In a Single Play, Brady and Moss Set New NFL Touchdown Records

The Best Offense Is a Good Defense
December 10, 1978: That’s the Stuff
Mike Haynes Pins the Bills Back and Sets Up a Pats Win
October 5, 2003: And the Law Won
Ty’s Clutch Pick Six Turns Around a Season and Launches a Winning Streak
November 30, 2003: The Stop
Willie McGinest Caps a Nail-Biter, Tripping Up Edgerrin James at the Goal Line
September 9, 2004: The Sack
McGinest Steps Up with a Sack That Sets the Tone for a Season
January 16, 2005: Give Me That
Bruschi’s Rip Sets the Tone for a Punishing Win Over Indianapolis
January 12, 2008: And Defense, Too
Rodney Harrison Ties a Record and Seals a Playoff Win with a Big Pick

Special Consideration
December 28, 1985: Wild Wild Card
Fumble-Return Touchdown Spurs a Postseason Turnover Frenzy
January 5, 1986: Turnaround by Turnover
Fumble Recovery Touchdown Leads to Victory and Sweet Revenge
January 27, 2002: Everybody Wants Some
Heads-Up Special-Teams Play Gives the Patriots an Insurmountable Lead
November 7, 2004: That’s Troy on the Edge
Sneaky Vinatieri-to-Brown Touchdown Shows the Rams Who’s Still Boss
January 1, 2006: Parting Gift
Doug Flutie Makes History with a Career-Ending Drop-Kick PAT
September 9, 2007: Take a Knee?
Record-Setting Kick Return Sets the Tone for a Wild 2007 Season

Heartbreakers
September 9, 1960: Truck Day
The Patriots Surrender the AFL’s First Punt-Return TD
December 20, 1964: Throwing It All Away
Key Interception Costs the Patriots an AFL Title Shot
December 18, 1976: Snaked
Ken Stabler’s One-Yard TD Steals a Playoff Win from a Great Patriots Squad
January 26, 1986: It’s a Pumpkin
Refrigerator Perry’s Touchdown Run Visits Midnight upon a Cinderella Season
January 26, 1997: Somebody Stop Him
Desmond Howard Goes End-to-End in Super Bowl XXXI
October 31, 2004: Killing Blow
Halloween Massacre Pick Sets Up an End to a Historic Winning Streak
January 14, 2006: Like All Good Things
Champ Bailey’s End-Zone Pick Helps End New England’s 10-Game Playoff Winning Streak
January 21, 2007: Ping Ping Ping Ricochet Caldwell
Receiver’s Buckneresque Miscue Proves Costly in AFC Championship Meltdown
February 3, 2008: Are You Kidding?
The Most Spectacular Catch in Super Bowl History Dooms the Hope of 19-0
November 15, 2009: It Just Doesn’t Matter
Fourth-and-Two Call Illustrates That Not Every Big Play Is a Big Play

Check out some bonus material from Game Changers: Patriots.

One Response to “Game Changers”

  1. [...] Game Changers: The Greatest Plays in New England Patriots History (Sean Glennon; 2010; 160 pages) The New England Patriots are the NFL s undisputed team of the last decade, the first professional football dynasty of the 21st century. But as longtime fans know all too well, the road to greatness has been anything but smooth. From their earliest seasons as one of the original American Football League franchises until the arrival of the Bill Belichick Tom Brady era, the Patriots offered plenty of thrills but always found a way to break fans hearts. Their recent glory years have been well earned. [...]

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