Game on, if not every light
Board vote keeps license in place
Hurricane Irene may have blown through Massachusetts days ago, but she continues to cause problems for many residents of the state who are without power, and nearly caused an issue for tonight’s Patriots-Giants preseason finale.
The Foxborough selectmen and women held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the license for the game and whether it should be pulled because of public safety concerns. However, the board voted, 5-0, in favor of keeping the license in place.
Last night, Patriots spokesman Stacey James said that if town officials had voiced legitimate concerns about public safety, the club would have elected not to play the game, with no vote necessary.
However, most if not all of the power along Route 1 - the primary thoroughfare to and from the stadium - has been restored, so there will be light as fans travel to and from the game, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. and end just before 11.
The Patriots have found themselves a topic of discussion among their neighbors all week, though not because of the upcoming season - because Gillette Stadium got power back around 9 p.m. Monday while other parts of the town are still in the dark. Some residents wondered whether the team had gotten preferential treatment from National Grid.
But as of last night, Gillette was not running off the Foxborough substation that serves most of the homes and businesses in the town.
There was a brief power outage during the 1996 AFC Championship game at the old Foxboro Stadium, which was tied to the Foxborough substation. Shortly thereafter, in the interest of public safety, owner Robert Kraft invested a significant amount of money to upgrade the substation in South Wrentham and create a redundancy.
If the power supply from Foxborough were interrupted, the South Wrentham line to the stadium would kick in.
Foxboro Stadium is long gone, but Gillette Stadium is tied to both facilities. As it happened, the Wrentham substation came back on line first this week; there was no preferential treatment given to Gillette.
Kraft has tried to help the town as it waits to have full power restoration, donating the use of two large generators, one of which is being used to power the senior center. And Kraft-owned flood lights are being used at intersections without power.
Catch this one There’s no way of knowing at this point whether recently signed receiver Tiquan Underwood will make the 53-man roster, but he certainly will be remembered - for his hairstyle.
Underwood, who was waived by the Jaguars a week ago and signed by New England Monday, sports a high-top fade style made famous by Kid of the early ’90s rap duo Kid ’N Play.
A 2009 seventh-round draft pick for Jacksonville out of Rutgers, Underwood, who is close friends with Devin McCourty, said he began growing his hair last season, figuring he can take a sartorial risk while he’s still young. He gets a lot of attention because of it, but he likes the style.
Underwood played in 10 games last year for the Jaguars, making eight catches for 111 yards.
“I’m just here trying to help the team the best I can, whether it’s special teams or offense,’’ he said.
Underwood is listed at 6 feet 1 inch, 183 pounds.
Night to remember Since the Patriots will be on the road for opening weekend, which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, the team has announced that it will commemorate the day during tonight’s game. Former offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi and his three brothers, all of whom are New York City firefighters, as well as their father, a former New York City police office, will serve as honorary game captains. Members of all five branches of the military as well as local police officers and firefighters will be on hand . . . The Patriots claimed defensive back Antwaun Molden off waivers from the Texans. The 6-1, 200-pound fourth-year player appeared in 14 games with Houston last season . . . Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list. Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in April.