Here's a random and very historically cool Patriots appetizer as the NFL returns Thursday night.
The Patriots begin their season Sunday. For those who can't wait, we've stumbled across this gem via You Tube, the complete "Monday Night Football" opening of the Patriots-Jets game from Oct. 18, 1976.
It offers Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford, Alex Karras signing the Jets fight song written by a young, 30-something coach named Lou Holtz, mentions of Joe Namath [in his final season with the Jets]. Darryl Stingley, the "oustanding young quarterback" Steve Grogan, Russ Francis, Sam "Bam" Cunningham, Ed Marinaro, Chuck Fairbanks, and Patriots rookies Mike Haynes, Tim Fox and Pete Brock.
"And not matter where we go, we'll let the critics know, the Jets are here to stay."
Maybe Firemen Ed can put that on his tombstone.
RIP - Howard, Alex, Sam, Darryl and Coach Fairbanks.
The night became infamous for the unbridled mayhem at a very chilly Schaefer Stadium, as more than 60 fans, most of them inebriated, were arrested. Some were handcuffed to the fence as police sorted through the human debris. Thirty-five fans were taken to local hospitals due to injuries caused by brawling and other activities. One fan was stabbed and a police officer was assaulted and had his gun stolen.
Monday night games used to start at 9 p.m. on the East Coast, which meant the crowds were extra-lubricated in places like Foxborough, Queens and Philadelphia.
After the game, then police chief Daniel McCarthy told the town's residents to "hope and pray" no more night games would be played in Foxborough. Police began frisking fans at Patriots games in the aftermath of this game. But things weren't much improved crowd-wise when Monday Night Football returned to New England four years later.
Such behavior today is almost unheard of at Gillette Stadium, given the tepid crowds and costly seats and high-priced beverages.
That's probably a good thing.
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