A New England Patriots Tale of Yore...
1985 was to be the greatest season yet for the New England Patriots. It was the year they first won a playoff game, the year they first went to the Super Bowl, a season of heartstoppers and heroics. And this being the New England Patriots, it couldn't possibly end without bizarre tragedy.
The Patriots season had been an up-and-down one... with new head coach Raymond Berry at the helm, the Patriots didn't seem to gel right away, stumbling to a 2-3 start. Young gunslinger Tony Eason was throwing to everyone but his own teammates, and the Patriots offense struggled to put up any points until the wily veteran Steve Grogan took over at quarterback, calling his own plays and rattling off wins. The Pats won six straight and sat near the top of the AFC until Grogan went down with a broken leg in Week 12.
Eason returned to a chorus of boos, but performed admirably, setting up a Monday Night showdown with the Dolphins for the AFC East Championship. The Dolphins would prevail, however, forcing a must-win game for the Patriots in against the Bengals. The playoffs hung in the balance of the Week 16 showdown in Foxboro.
A special pre-game ceremony was held for defensive end Julius Adams, playing his last regular season game before the home crowd at Sullivan Stadium. The fans were emotionally charged, cheering with more fervor than usual as the home town team ran over the Bengals, 34-23, clinching a playoff birth on the last game of the season.
In the wake of the victory, the crowd stormed the field, tearing up the turf and tearing down the goalposts. What should have been a night of celebration turned into a night of tragedy, however. As the fans triumphantly carried their prize down Route 1, the tips of the metal goalpost struck a high voltage wire running across the road. Several fans suffered injuries... one was killed. With the highway packed with celebrating fans and cars at a standstill, oblivious to what was going on, it took rescue workers a frightful amount of time to get to the wounded.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Patriots won three playoff games on the road before getting destroyed by the Bears in Super Bowl XX, and the story was reduced to an afterthought as Patriots fans celebrated the greatest season in team history.
But it could only be Patriots fans who electrocuted themselves by carrying a big piece of metal down a major highway into a high voltage wire.