Bonus Material

It’s the case with any non-fiction book that you end up gathering more information and creating more content than you can possibly use.

With a book like Game Changers: Patriots in which page design is such a major element, you end up with even more than usual. Usable stuff in a lot of cases — really strong stuff in some — that just didn’t fit.

I figure since this material exists, I might as well share it.

Bonus Quotes
I’ll start with some quotes that were actually part of the manuscript I submitted to Triumph.

If you’ve read or even taken a look at Game Changers, you know that the stories in the book (each of which focuses on a game changing play) are accompanied by stand-alone quotes — mainly from players, coaches and expert observers — that provide insight, context or color. Well, sometimes the quotes I provided just didn’t fit on the page. Here, organized chronologically, identified by game, and accompanied by brief notes to provide context where necessary (if you’ve read the book, you won’t need the notes), are some quotes I wish there had been room to print.

September 9, 1960 vs. Denver
Notes: The Boston Patriots hosted the Denver Broncos in the AFL’s inaugural regular season game. The Pats were heavily favored, but ended up losing 13-10, largely as the result of a 76-yard punt return TD by Gene Mingo. Tom Greene was punting for Boston.

I made a quick move to my right and as I was running, I saw guys on my bench waving at me to keep going. The next thing I knew, I was in the end zone.
Gene Mingo

Gene was one of the great AFL players of that era and I still regard it as an honor to have played against him.
Tom Greene

December 20, 1964 vs. Buffalo
Notes: Another game Boston was supposed to win and didn’t. This final regular season game, played at Fenway Park in the middle of a blinding snowstorm, decided the AFL Eastern Division title. The Bills went on to win the league championship.

They outsmarted us. They changed their coverage. When we played them in Buffalo, they played man-to-man, so that’s what we practiced for. They came in and threw zone at us and it really mixed us up.
Gino Cappelletti

1976 Playoffs at Oakland
Notes: Patriots fans hardly need context on this game. One of the best squads in Patriots history had the game won and a clear path to Super Bowl XI before them, only to have it all taken away by one of the worst calls in NFL history. In Game Changers, I focus not on Ben Dreith‘s roughing call against Ray “Sugar Bear” Hamilton, but on the game-winning Oakland touchdown the bad call set up, a one-yard dash by Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler.

We knew it was going to be a tough game. The Patriots had a great football team with a lot of talented players. Our only loss was in Foxborough early in the season and they beat the hell out of us.
Ken Stabler

It’s like it happened in slow motion. You think, if only I could have gotten to him. It’s not like he was running over anybody; Stabler wasn’t that kind of player. If I could have got to him, I know I could have stopped him.
Steve Nelson

Super Bowl XXXVI
Notes: Game Changers looks at the masterfully executed offensive drive in the final 1:21 that set up Adam Vinatieri‘s game-winning 48-yard field goal as time expired. I asked Steve Grogan to help me understand what goes on in a quarterback’s head in a high-pressure situation.

I think there is no stress in those situations if you’re as good as Tom Brady is. You just kind of zone out. You go into your instinct mode. You’re conscious of what you have to do next and that’s all.
Steve Grogan

November 30, 2003 at Indianapolis
Notes: Game Changers focuses on the Willie McGinest stop of Edgerrin James that capped an amazing, unforgettable goal-line stand.

The Colts had four shots from the 1-yard line. Eighty-eight percent of the time when a team has first and goal at the one, they end up scoring.
Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders

October 31, 2004 at Pittsburgh
Note: It’s called the Halloween Massacre and it ended the Patriots’ league-record 21-game winning streak.

It wasn’t a tough loss because of that streak. It was a tough loss because we didn’t give them our best game. But after that we were, like, we can’t wait to see them again, because we knew we’d get them.
Kevin Faulk

November 7, 2004 at St. Louis
Note: A week after the Halloween Massacre, the Pats bounced back with a road win over the Rams, a victory that included a neat trick play that resulted in Adam Vinatieri throwing a touchdown pass to Troy Brown.

We practiced that play for four or five years and never got to use it. I think we were all excited when we had a situation where we had a chance to try it.
Troy Brown

2005 Divisional Round Playoff vs. Indianapolis
Note: One of the classic matches from the fiercest pro-football rivalry of the decade. The experts thought the Colts, with their high-powered offense, couldn’t lose. They were wrong.

The Colts came in with this unstoppable offense in 2004, and the Patriots reduced them to mush. That was the first big right hook of a 12-round fight.
Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star

Super Bowl XXXIX
Note: Rodney Harrison effectively sealed the Patriots’ second straight Super Bowl championship by having the presence of mind not to try to score following a late interception.

I thought he could have taken that back all the way for a touchdown, but he decided to keep the clock running. That’s a smart, veteran play.
— Gino Cappelletti

2006 Divisional Round Playoff at Denver
Note: A key interception by Champ Bailey ended all hope of a third-straight run through the playoffs to the Super Bowl.

The postseason loss was an inevitability in 2005 because that team just wasn’t as good as the 2003-2004 teams. Specifically, that team was not as good as Denver.
— Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders

2007 AFC Divisional Round Playoff at San Diego
Note: The Patriots should have lost. And they would have, too, if it hadn’t been for Troy Brown making one of the all-time great heads-up plays. Troy reached in and stripped the ball away from Chargers safety Marlon McCree seconds after McCree made what should have been a game-ending interception of Tom Brady.

You never want turnovers to happen, but when they do you find those defensive players carrying the ball and they’re not used to it. I saw that he wasn’t protecting the ball and I knew I could get it.
— Troy Brown

December 29, 2007 at New York Giants
Note: On the same play, Randy Moss and Tom Brady set new NFL records for touchdown receptions (23) and touchdown passes (50) in a season. Brady’s 32nd touchdown pass of the season, thrown in week nine, had broken Babe Parilli’s team record, which had stood for 43 years.

I was in awe of the fact that that Randy ran those two out routes in a row and he got by the defender on both of them. I don’t know how he did that.
Benjamin Watson

I didn’t mind seeing Brady break my record. I was surprised it lasted as long as it did.
Babe Parilli

2007 AFC Championship at Indianapolis
Note: Reche Caldwell dropped two touchdown passes, one of which, many fans believe, might have put a stop to the Colts’ miraculous comeback.

No one play costs a team a championship, but yeah, that was a really bad one.
— Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders

There was a lot that had to go wrong for the Patriots to lose that game. There were a lot of plays where they had the momentum and they let it get away.
Gil Santos

Super Bowl XLII
Note: There’s only one way an 18-1 season could possibly be a bad thing, and the Patriots found it.

It was great to get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, but, yeah, I’m always going to look at the experience and think about what we could have accomplished.
— Benjamin Watson

November 15, 2009 at Indianapolis
Note: I really didn’t want to include the infamous fourth-and-two play in this book, but my editor made a solid argument that it needed to be there. And, really, except for the absolute debacle of a playoff loss to Baltimore, it’s probably the most memorable thing about the 2009 season. For what it’s worth (which ain’t much) I’m with Gil: The officials got it wrong; the Pats picked up the first down.

It was a gutsy call by Belichick. And it was a good call, because Kevin, where he caught the ball had the first down.
— Gil Santos

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