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Let it snow

Gillette Stadium was a playground

FOXBOROUGH -- You never know when you're going to find yourself at an NFL game and an 8-year-old's birthday party breaks out.

Just who started the festivities will be lost to history, but let the record show that when Tedy Bruschi picked off a fourth-quarter Jay Fiedler pass and romped into the end zone with the only touchdown in yesterday's 12-0 division-clinching conquest of the Miami Dolphins, people all over Gillette Stadium started tossing snow -- and there was plenty of it available -- into the air, transforming a staid sports venue into an adult playground.

"It was hard to believe that something I did resulted in that," said Bruschi. "I don't know if you can tell, but I was smiling through my facemask. That put me in the holiday spirit. I was ready to go home and sit in front of my Christmas tree lights."

And give extra props to the people manning the stadium sound system, because for the rest of the game's remaining nine or so minutes the fans were given an opportunity to inject new life into Gary Glitter's universally overplayed "Rock `n' Roll, Part 2" by tossing snow skyward at just the right point in the song. If you don't know just precisely when that is, then you probably haven't been to a live sporting event in at least 15 years.

"It must have been some drunk guy up there throwing stuff, and then everyone followed along," reasoned Damien Woody. "I can't wait to get home and see it on TV."

Rodney Harrison admitted that tossing snow around wasn't exactly a regular feature of San Diego home games at Qualcomm Stadium, his old haunt. "That was pretty neat," he said. "It reminded me of the fountain at Bellagio in Las Vegas, spouting off that water. That really gave us extra incentive."

"That was one of the coolest special effects I've ever seen," said kicker Adam Vinatieri. "Everybody was going, `How cool is this?' "

"If you're a season ticket-holder and you weren't here for this game," said linebacker Ted Johnson, "you've got to be disappointed now. It was great how people coordinated that. It kinda felt like the old Foxboro [Stadium]. It was pretty nice."

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afc east standings
  W L T Pct. PF PA
Patriots 11 2 0 .846 20.7 16.1
Dolphins 8 5 0 .615 18.5 15.6
Bills 6 7 0 .462 16.5 15.4
Jets 5 8 0 .385 18.5 19.6
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