Full disclosure: I'm an unabashed fanatic of the New England Patriots' throwback uniforms. While older fans may scream at the sight of a hiking minuteman as a painful reminder of a winless past, I've always felt the design was indelibly unique and unquestionably entrenched in Boston lore. Created by former Boston Globe cartoonist Phil Bissell more than 50 years ago, it began as an assignment from his editor on what he thought the Patriots' logo should look like. His inspiration? A Boston College offensive lineman; sans tri-corner hat, of course. Patriots founder and former owner Billy Sullivan paid Bissell a paltry $100 for the design that saw itself emblazoned on the helmets and associated memorabilia of the New England Patriots for 30 years.
We'll see them once again on Sunday for the only time this season as the Patriots take on the New York Jets. The throwbacks have become something of a rather neat tradition since the 50th anniversary of the AFL during the 2009 season that saw teams wear their respective throwbacks multiple times. The Patriots are 8-3 all-time when wearing the throwbacks.
10/18/2009: Tennessee Titans @ New England Patriots - "The Snow Game"
Coming off an agonizing overtime defeat at the hands of the undefeated Denver Broncos - and newly acquired head coach Josh McDaniels - the Patriots were looking to rebound in a big way at home. The biggest obstacle seemed to be Mother Nature refusing to comply with that request with a tremendous amount of snow predicted to nail the New England region. Everyone predicted a low-scoring affair with strong contributions from both teams' running games led by the Titans' Chris Johnson and the Patriots' Laurence Maroney.
What followed could only be described as brutal as the Patriots blew the Titans' doors off to the tune of 45 unanswered points in the first half. Tom Brady looked razor-sharp, connecting in the end zone with Randy Moss twice, Wes Welker twice and Kevin Faulk for an eye-popping five second quarter touchdowns. Perhaps no other game in Bill Belichick's tenure exemplified an inherent coaching disparity quite like this one; the Patriots seemed oblivious to the falling snow obscuring every yardage marker, while the Titans seemed to be oblivious to the football game being played. A blowout of epic proportions, the entire fourth quarter was unviewable outside of local markets as CBS scrambled to air a more competitive contest.
Final Score: Patriots 59, Titans 0
Titans 0, Patriots 59 A Snow Game (via patriotsfootballplc)
11/25/2010: New England Patriots @ Detroit Lions - "The Thanksgiving Game"
A classic trap game during the most belly-inflating time of the year, the 2-8 Detroit Lions led by quarterback Shaun Hill were in no place to challenge the 8-2 New England Patriots. But they did. During the first half, the Patriots' offensive line and Tom Brady looked completely overmatched as he withstood hit after hit at the hands of the Lions' furious pass rush. The Lions defense seemed to be riding on the energy of their raucous crowd, and--after the Patriots found themselves down 11 points late in the second quarter--looked to be on the verge of an historic upset.
Then, the second half happened.
The Patriots outscored the Lions 35-7 in the second half as Brady threw two touchdown passes each to Wes Welker and Deion Branch, including an incredible 79-yard scoring play that saw Deion Branch throwing stiff arm after stiff arm on cornerback Alphonso Smith to gain separation and successfully scamper into the end zone.
"He's like a surgeon," Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola said of Tom Brady after the game.
Final Score: Patriots 45, Lions 24
Deion Branch Huge Touchdown on thanksgiving (via VeXedReaper)
10/9/2011: New York Jets @ New England Patriots - "The Revenge Game"
Shocked didn't begin to describe the feeling the Patriots and their fans felt after the Jets dispatched them from the AFC Divisional Playoffs the previous season. Many wondered whether the tides were finally turning in the AFC East with the Jets seeming to gain a foothold in the division for the first time in a long time.
While not the frustration and anger-driven blowout many fans had hoped for, the Patriots turned in their most balanced offensive effort of the season with 152 rushing yards (and a career-high 136 from BenJarvus Green-Ellis) to go along with 294 passing yards as the Patriots were able for assert their AFC East dominance once again over Gang Green.
While it appeared to be a tale of two teams headed in two entirely different directions with the Patriots improving to 4-1 and the Jets dropping three in a row to reach a 2-3 mark, the teams met again just a month later locked at 5-3. Reports of the Patriots demise seemed to be grossly exaggerated as they defeated the Jets once again in an even more decisive fashion, 37-16, landing the team in the driver's seat for the AFC East crown and swishing heavy doses of mouthwash along the way to rid themselves of the sourness the Jets had left from a season ago.
Final Score: Patriots 30, Jets 21
New England Patriots vs New York Jets - October 9 2011 (via roshkitra)