LIGHTER SIDE SUPER BOWL DIARY | DAY 1
A dream come true
Can somebody pinch me, please?
The Lighter Side is on its way to Houston to cover a Super Bowl -- featuring the New England Patriots, the team passed on to me genetically which requires abiding devotion. Whoever is responsible for this outcome, I've got two words: thank you.
I'm writing this from 31,000 feet above the ground, which is flat-out bizarre. What's even more mind-bending, over the next seven days, the Lighter Side will provide every gory detail of Super Bowl madness from the Lone Star State. We're going to report from the streets of Houston all week Clint Eastwood-style -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the Lighter Side loves the ugly.
Seriously, is this a dream?
I was trying to think of my earliest Patriots memory while waiting for my American Airlines flight out of Logan. I'm not sure how old I was, my date of birth is 1973, but my age may have been five or six, and I was sitting on a carpeted floor of someone's house during a Patriots game. I know my father was there, and this was possibly a party of Foss Manufacturing co-workers, a place my dad was employed through most of my childhood. Either way, I remember a group of men, dad included, shouting and hollering while Sam Cunningham busted down the sideline for a touchdown.
The fuzzy memory ends there.
My thoughts then segued to my favorite Patriots memory, which came on a cool autumn night at Foxboro Stadium. My first Pats game, with my dad, as New England squared off against a decent New York Jets team. It was 1985. And this memory is like regurgitating the events of yesterday.
Dad bought me a No. 1 foamed finger that day, and as the second half ended, my father peered down and said, "I wonder if you're going to be able to use that today." The first half yielded nothing but field goals. That all changed in the second half on a naked bootleg by Steve Grogan from inside the Jets' 15-yard line.
It was Grogan's first start of that season, taking over for an injured Tony Eason. The gritty quarterback faked the Jets d-line out of its cleats, and I had no idea what was going on, but the crowd went ballistic. I looked at my dad, who wore a giant grin and yelled, "Grogan ran it in ... he ran it in!" I reached up high with as much vigor as a seventh-grader could muster, and pointed that foam finger proudly to the charcoal sky.
That Pats win spawned a magical season with three Patriots' playoff wins on the road -- Jets, Raiders, and the Fish in the Orange Bowl -- but ended horribly in New Orleans against the Bears. What would have happened if Stanley Morgan caught that ball on a crossing pattern on the Pats' opening drive? My dad still wonders to this day. Continued...