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View from Above: A Hall-of-Famer is a Hall-of-Famer anywhere

The term "hall of fame" brings to mind marble columns, god-like statues within ancient, grandiose structures and buildings high on a hill somewhere, like the Greek Acropolis. At least in my mind - when someone is set in stone, you can bet they're exceptional.

The Patriots don't set anyone in stone when it comes to putting someone into their own Hall of Fame, but here's at least one vote for bringing someone in who has as much to do with making this organization what it is today, as anyone else. Someone who holds a large slice of responsibility for the New England Patriots transformation from patsies into prize-winners. 

ap_bill_parcells.jpg

Someone who figuratively laid the foundation upon which the Hall of Fame at Patriot Place now stands. Because without him, who really knows if the Patriots would be where they are today among the NFL hierarchy?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH already calls Bill Parcells a member of their elite rank-and-file, with his election and enshrinement coming in 2013. It's time for the New England Patriots, Patriot fans and the Patriots' nomination committee to recognize that without Parcells' presence in the early-to-mid 1990's around here, the Patriots could very well have become the St. Louis Stallions - or relocated to Jacksonville, Carolina or another locale.

Certainly it would have been a stretch to think four Super Bowl titles would be within their future reach.

This is not to take anything away from Raymond Clayborn, Mike Vrabel or Kevin Faulk, each just as worthy and recognizable for their contributions to the success of the franchise. But it just seems silly - Parcells is already an NFL Hall-of-Famer for his football past, why is he not in New England? 

If we can agree upon this simple fact, that Bill Parcells' presence when he arrived to take over this team in 1993 brought hope - if not immediate prosperity - to this organization and to Patriot fans, that alone kick-started the transformation from a perceived sad-sack franchise into an annual championship contender. And that's a worthy entry into any hall, is it not?

ap_steve_grogan.jpg

Were there other winning teams and championship players in the years prior to Parcells' arrival? Of course there were, and this is not to diminish their accomplishments in any way. John Hannah. Andre Tippett. Mike Haynes. Steve Grogan. Steve Nelson. They're all a part of the big-picture history of the New England Patriots, and you can't tell the complete story without any of them, or their teammates. 

And all of the aforementioned players are currently in the Patriots' Hall, too.

You're also kidding yourself if you can compare anything about the present day team to the one that existed in '93 when Parcells arrived, short of red, white and blue being the team's primary colors back then.

Add a little silver in there, with a large dose of Tuna from the sidelines, and the pro football world witnessed the start of a present-day dynamo. Or should that be called "dynasty?"

Parcells' stay as head coach lasted only four seasons, but it only took two years for the team to reach 10 wins, after winning just nine games total in the three years prior his arrival. Two years' later, an AFC East crown and the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance followed. Those seem routine today, don't they?

But more than anything else, when Parcells departed for the New York Jets in 1997, attitudes had changed. Expectations had changed. Maybe there was friction between the coach and ownership at the time over the way things were running (remember "if they want you to cook the dinner at least they should let you shop for some of the groceries?"). Perhaps you're still upset over the way he left (and where he left for), but still - back then, everyone was on the same page.

Everyone wanted more. And it was because of Parcells' presence in the first place we had all arrived at that point.

Bill Parcells built the foundation the current New England Patriots now reside upon. He was the rock then, as he is now, and should be up there on the Patriots' hill - inside that Hall.

What A Rush

Did you like the brightly-colored work clothes in the NFL last season, otherwise known as the "Color Rush" uniforms?

Get ready for more. In fact, get ready for much more - as the NFL has planned for every team playing a Thursday Night Football game next season to be outfitted in Nike's Color Rush duds. Jerseys and pants, same colors. And some of them, uh, are eyesores.

For the Patriots, that means Thursday night, September 22nd at Gillette Stadium against the Houston Texans, we're liable to need our sunglasses. Or a kaleidoscope. Or an airsick bag.

If you're color blind, you might struggle watching this one.

As of this moment, there's no telling what the Patriots' primary color might be for that Week 3 game against the Texans, but home teams have first choice of wearing their white or colored jerseys at home. The Dallas Cowboys have previously worn all-white for a Color Rush encounter, as an example.

With the Patriots' primary colors being blue and red, same as the Texans' primary colors, it will be interesting to see what decisions are made. Don't rule out silver as well; as you may recall, when the Patriots last wore an alternate jersey, it was of a silver (or a dirty white, really) hue.

Every NFL team is expected to unveil its' Color Rush scheme in the coming weeks, prior to the start of the season - ostensibly to push sales of the alternate jerseys and colors, too. Here's one vote for a "back to the future" look that would be very easy to attain, and to look at - a white jersey with white pants, red/blue piping and a white helmet featuring none other than "Pat Patriot" himself as the logo. 

Better yet, bring back the tri-cornered hat insignia from the 1960 Patriots. That's sure to strike a chord with nostalgia-loving fans, right? Or, the team could go with the all-blues, but you might recall those weren't favorably received by many.

On the occasions where the players looked like dancing blueberries on the sideline, wearing the blue-on-blue combos twice in 2002, the Patriots lost both games (to Green Bay and Denver). 

Nah, let's not do that again.

Scheduling quirks and trends

Some items to note from last week's official schedule release for 2016, thanks to our friends at WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub. They've previously pointed out a few of these, but others stand out in this corner as significant - even crucial - to getting off to a good start:

  • New England is unbeaten in prime-time season openers (6-0), and they'll open this year on the road in Arizona. That's not just good, that's great. But they'll need that karma against the Cardinals.
  • Three of the first four games on the schedule are at Gillette, which is just the second time in Bill Belichick's tenure as head coach this has happened. Previously, in 2009, New England went 3-1 (losing the road game at Giants Stadium).
ap_bill_belichick.jpg

The "meat" of this schedule looks to be in the first half of the season. Of the final seven games slated, only one is against a 2015 playoff-caliber team (Denver, Dec. 18th). Teams and personnel can certainly change from year to year, but four of the six 2015 playoff teams on the schedule come in the opening eight weeks prior to the bye. * My favorite note - in Bill Belichick's six Super Bowls as Patriots' head coach, the team has opened up on the road in five of them (as they will do this year). The only exception came in 2004, when they were defending champs - and the defending champs always open at home. * If you're planning to make a few road trips with the team, you may rack up the frequent flyer miles. Google maps tell us the Patriots will travel more than 22,000 miles this season, with trips to Arizona, San Francisco and Denver spread throughout the schedule.  * Toughest stretch? Coach Belichick will tell you they're all tough, but considering the late-season spate of injuries a year ago, the final four games on the slate could be as tough as any. Home games with Baltimore and the Jets with road games at Denver and Miami - neither of which has proven to be Patriot-friendly recently.

Good starts are great, of course. But it's finishing strong, with momentum for the post-season, where every team hopes to end.

2016 Patriots Schedule
 *John Rooke is an author and award-winning broadcaster, and just completed his 23rd year as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Patriots.com Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for 27 seasons and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. *

The term "hall of fame" brings to mind marble columns, god-like statues within ancient, grandiose structures and buildings high on a hill somewhere, like the Greek Acropolis. At least in my mind - when someone is set in stone, you can bet they're exceptional.

The Patriots don't set anyone in stone when it comes to putting someone into their own Hall of Fame, but here's at least one vote for bringing someone in who has as much to do with making this organization what it is today, as anyone else. Someone who holds a large slice of responsibility for the New England Patriots transformation from patsies into prize-winners. 

ap_bill_parcells.jpg

Someone who figuratively laid the foundation upon which the Hall of Fame at Patriot Place now stands. Because without him, who really knows if the Patriots would be where they are today among the NFL hierarchy?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH already calls Bill Parcells a member of their elite rank-and-file, with his election and enshrinement coming in 2013. It's time for the New England Patriots, Patriot fans and the Patriots' nomination committee to recognize that without Parcells' presence in the early-to-mid 1990's around here, the Patriots could very well have become the St. Louis Stallions - or relocated to Jacksonville, Carolina or another locale.

Certainly it would have been a stretch to think four Super Bowl titles would be within their future reach.

This is not to take anything away from Raymond Clayborn, Mike Vrabel or Kevin Faulk, each just as worthy and recognizable for their contributions to the success of the franchise. But it just seems silly - Parcells is already an NFL Hall-of-Famer for his football past, why is he not in New England? 

If we can agree upon this simple fact, that Bill Parcells' presence when he arrived to take over this team in 1993 brought hope - if not immediate prosperity - to this organization and to Patriot fans, that alone kick-started the transformation from a perceived sad-sack franchise into an annual championship contender. And that's a worthy entry into any hall, is it not?

ap_steve_grogan.jpg

Were there other winning teams and championship players in the years prior to Parcells' arrival? Of course there were, and this is not to diminish their accomplishments in any way. John Hannah. Andre Tippett. Mike Haynes. Steve Grogan. Steve Nelson. They're all a part of the big-picture history of the New England Patriots, and you can't tell the complete story without any of them, or their teammates. 

And all of the aforementioned players are currently in the Patriots' Hall, too.

You're also kidding yourself if you can compare anything about the present day team to the one that existed in '93 when Parcells arrived, short of red, white and blue being the team's primary colors back then.

Add a little silver in there, with a large dose of Tuna from the sidelines, and the pro football world witnessed the start of a present-day dynamo. Or should that be called "dynasty?"

Parcells' stay as head coach lasted only four seasons, but it only took two years for the team to reach 10 wins, after winning just nine games total in the three years prior his arrival. Two years' later, an AFC East crown and the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance followed. Those seem routine today, don't they?

But more than anything else, when Parcells departed for the New York Jets in 1997, attitudes had changed. Expectations had changed. Maybe there was friction between the coach and ownership at the time over the way things were running (remember "if they want you to cook the dinner at least they should let you shop for some of the groceries?"). Perhaps you're still upset over the way he left (and where he left for), but still - back then, everyone was on the same page.

Everyone wanted more. And it was because of Parcells' presence in the first place we had all arrived at that point.

Bill Parcells built the foundation the current New England Patriots now reside upon. He was the rock then, as he is now, and should be up there on the Patriots' hill - inside that Hall.

What A Rush

Did you like the brightly-colored work clothes in the NFL last season, otherwise known as the "Color Rush" uniforms?

Get ready for more. In fact, get ready for much more - as the NFL has planned for every team playing a Thursday Night Football game next season to be outfitted in Nike's Color Rush duds. Jerseys and pants, same colors. And some of them, uh, are eyesores.

For the Patriots, that means Thursday night, September 22nd at Gillette Stadium against the Houston Texans, we're liable to need our sunglasses. Or a kaleidoscope. Or an airsick bag.

If you're color blind, you might struggle watching this one.

As of this moment, there's no telling what the Patriots' primary color might be for that Week 3 game against the Texans, but home teams have first choice of wearing their white or colored jerseys at home. The Dallas Cowboys have previously worn all-white for a Color Rush encounter, as an example.

With the Patriots' primary colors being blue and red, same as the Texans' primary colors, it will be interesting to see what decisions are made. Don't rule out silver as well; as you may recall, when the Patriots last wore an alternate jersey, it was of a silver (or a dirty white, really) hue.

Every NFL team is expected to unveil its' Color Rush scheme in the coming weeks, prior to the start of the season - ostensibly to push sales of the alternate jerseys and colors, too. Here's one vote for a "back to the future" look that would be very easy to attain, and to look at - a white jersey with white pants, red/blue piping and a white helmet featuring none other than "Pat Patriot" himself as the logo. 

Better yet, bring back the tri-cornered hat insignia from the 1960 Patriots. That's sure to strike a chord with nostalgia-loving fans, right? Or, the team could go with the all-blues, but you might recall those weren't favorably received by many.

On the occasions where the players looked like dancing blueberries on the sideline, wearing the blue-on-blue combos twice in 2002, the Patriots lost both games (to Green Bay and Denver). 

Nah, let's not do that again.

Scheduling quirks and trends

Some items to note from last week's official schedule release for 2016, thanks to our friends at WEEI and 98.5 The Sports Hub. They've previously pointed out a few of these, but others stand out in this corner as significant - even crucial - to getting off to a good start:

  • New England is unbeaten in prime-time season openers (6-0), and they'll open this year on the road in Arizona. That's not just good, that's great. But they'll need that karma against the Cardinals.
  • Three of the first four games on the schedule are at Gillette, which is just the second time in Bill Belichick's tenure as head coach this has happened. Previously, in 2009, New England went 3-1 (losing the road game at Giants Stadium).
ap_bill_belichick.jpg

The "meat" of this schedule looks to be in the first half of the season. Of the final seven games slated, only one is against a 2015 playoff-caliber team (Denver, Dec. 18th). Teams and personnel can certainly change from year to year, but four of the six 2015 playoff teams on the schedule come in the opening eight weeks prior to the bye. * My favorite note - in Bill Belichick's six Super Bowls as Patriots' head coach, the team has opened up on the road in five of them (as they will do this year). The only exception came in 2004, when they were defending champs - and the defending champs always open at home. * If you're planning to make a few road trips with the team, you may rack up the frequent flyer miles. Google maps tell us the Patriots will travel more than 22,000 miles this season, with trips to Arizona, San Francisco and Denver spread throughout the schedule.  * Toughest stretch? Coach Belichick will tell you they're all tough, but considering the late-season spate of injuries a year ago, the final four games on the slate could be as tough as any. Home games with Baltimore and the Jets with road games at Denver and Miami - neither of which has proven to be Patriot-friendly recently.

Good starts are great, of course. But it's finishing strong, with momentum for the post-season, where every team hopes to end.

2016 Patriots Schedule
 *John Rooke is an author and award-winning broadcaster, and just completed his 23rd year as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Patriots.com Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for 27 seasons and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. *

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