Anyone who has read this blog knows that I’m a bit of a sports
fanatic fan. In my defense, the cards were stacked against me at birth:
- I’m originally from Boston.
- Both my mother and father followed the Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins pretty faithfully – even during the embarrassing decades.
- During my formative years we only had one television in the house and it was sports, news or nothing.
Any clue why ? Well on this day in Patriots history: 12/12/82 New England beat the Miami Dolphins, 3-0, in what was known everywhere as the “Snow Plow Game”. A heavy snowstorm had begun shortly after the game began. As a result, an emergency ground rule had been established for this game: the officials could call time-out, and allow the ground crew to use a snowplow to clear the yard markers. Despite this rule, the ground crew could not plow often enough to keep the field clear. The two teams remained scoreless late into the fourth quarter. With 4:45 left to go in the game and on-field conditions worsening, Patriots coach Ron Meyer ordered snowplow operator Mark Henderson to clear a spot on the field specifically for placekicker John Smith. At first, no one had thought it suspicious, assuming that the plow would go straight across, and allow for a more accurate measurement (which turned out to be 33 yards). Instead, the plow veered left, directly in front of the goal post, giving Smith a clean spot from which to kick. Matt Cavanaugh held for the kick. Miami coach Don Shula protested furiously but the field goal was good and the Patriots won the game by the final score of 3–0. And guess what? The guy operating the plow was a local prisoner out on a work release break. Now you know the rest of the story…