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This Day In Sports (December 12): The "Snowplow" Game in Foxboro

A convicted burglar on work release drove out a snow plow to clear a spot for the Patriots to kick a field goal.

There have been plenty of memorable "snow games" in NFL history, and even enough for the Patriots to constitute a list of their own.


December 12, 1982 was certainly one to remember.


The night before the game, rain came down on Schaefer Stadium, which many will remember as Foxboro Stadium. And - for the record - can we take a few minutes to appreciate its beauty? Simple, innovative for the times, and most certainly daunting in the same vein as Gillette Stadium is now.

As temperatures dipped overnight and into the morning, the rain turned to snow and water turned to ice, creating slippery conditions on the turf. So, with technology not nearly what it is today, the refs had to implement a rule that they could call a timeout at any time in order to get a snowplow out to clear hash marks and yard markers. Spoiler - it didn't do much.

As you can imagine, the game was scoreless late into the fourth quarter. The Pats got into what would've been field goal range Veteran quarterback Steve Grogan approached Pats head coach Ron Meyer, asking him if they should get the snowplows back out. Sure enough, on comes Mark Henderson, who was serving time for a burglary. His task? Clear the fields.


John Smith came out and drilled the 33-yard field goal, which was of course the game winner for the Pats.

Legendary Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula wasn't happy. He claimed the Pats had a unfair advantage by asking the snowplow driver to come out. While I can't say I disagree, the Dolphins could've theoretically done the same had they got into field goal range...


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