Long before the Patriots were New England's professional football team, the Providence Steam Roller was New England's National Football League team from 1925-1933. In 1928, the Steam Roller became the first New England team to win an NFL championship. The Steam Roller played in a 10,000-seat bicycle racing stadium called the Cyclodome on the Providence-Pawtucket line.
The history of the Steam Roller and the Patriots intersects through the Pyne family. A local family from Milford, Mass, the Pyne family is the first paternal father-son, father-son three generation family to play professional football.
George Pyne II played tackle for Providence in 1931 and 1932. George II started his football career at Milford High in the 1920s before attending Holy Cross. While with the Steam Roller, George II did something that would never occur today when he played three games in three days in three different states. He played in Providence on a Saturday, New York on Sunday and Philadelphia to wrap up the three-day grind on Monday.
The intersection between the history of the two teams comes with George II's son George Pyne III, who played 14 games for the New England Patriots as an offensive tackle in 1965. Like his father, George III played at Milford High School in the late 1950s. The highlight of George III's career with the Patriots came in his rookie season when he ran back a blocked field goal 38 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo.
George III's sons and George II's grandsons George IV, David and Jim all played at Milford High as well. David and Jim led Milford to two Super Bowls (Massachusetts State Football Championships) and an 18-game winning streak, including a perfect 11-0 Super Bowl season in 1987. George IV and David both had successful collegiate careers, as did Jim who, after being named a consensus All-American at Virginia Tech at center, went on to have a prolific nine-year career in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
Thanks to the Pyne Family, the connection between the Patriots and Steam Roller is recognized at The Hall. George III donated his father's Steam Roller uniform, which is on display in the New England Football exhibit. It is one of a kind. From the cleats to the pants to the long sleeve jersey to the helmet, the uniform is completely authentic.
"Depending on your perspective, the Providence Steam Roller uniform is one of the coolest artifacts on display here," said Bryan Morry, Executive Director of The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. "It represents a piece of New England sports history that most people know little about, and it's great to see kids react to what a professional football uniform from the 1920s looks like."