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By Richard A. Johnson
| October 3, 2017
With the Museum of Science welcoming a limited-engagement football exhibit called “Gridiron Glory” (through Jan. 7), see how well you know your favorite football franchise.
1) While the Patriots bounced around from stadium to stadium throughout the 1960s (Boston University, Fenway Park, Boston College, and Harvard Stadium), they also played a home game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., in Sept. 1968. Owner Billy Sullivan believed that playing the Jets in Birmingham would attract a large crowd (it didn’t) because the Jets quarterback was an Alabama alum. Who was the quarterback in the game the Patriots lost, 47-31?
ANSWER: Joe Namath
2) Bob “Harpo” Gladieux was cut by the Patriots a week before the 1970 season opener at Harvard Stadium. He remained in town and ultimately decided to attend the season opener with a friend. When his friend left to visit a concession stand, the public address announcer made a startling request. What was it?
3) Former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan was known for his toughness. In 1976, he set an NFL record that would stand for 35 years. What record did Grogan hold?
ANSWER: He ran for 12 rushing touchdowns, the most by a quarterback until Panthers quarterback Cam Newton broke it with 14 rushing touchdowns in 2011.
4) Rookies used to get their heads shaved during training camp as an initiation. In 1995, when veteran players entered the room of this rookie running back to shave his head, he read them a passage from the Bible that caused the players to turn around and walk out. Who was the only rookie that year to not have his head shaved?
ANSWER: Curtis Martin
5) Linebacker Mike Vrabel caught 10 passes on offense for the Patriots. How many of them were touchdown passes?
ANSWER: All 10
6) Boston’s first pro team was a member of the first version of the American Football League, a single season arrangement formed exclusively to showcase the talents of a single player, former Illinois superstar Red Grange. What was the name of that first professional Boston football team around 1926?
ANSWER: Boston Bulldogs
7) In 1932, the football team was called the Boston Braves. But the owner George Preston Marshall changed the name because they left Braves Field for Fenway Park and he needed to rename the team and he had uniforms with a Native American motif. What name did he choose for the Boston football team, that stuck from 1932-36, and that is now the name for another city’s present-day NFL team?
ANSWER: The Redskins
8) From 1944-48, the name of Boston’s sixth pro football franchise would be hard to swallow for Boston sports fans today. The team won only 14 games in five years. What was the name of that miserable Boston team?
ANSWER: Boston Yanks
9) Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown caught more than 200 passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe during his Patriots career. But on Nov. 14, 2004, Brown made an especially memorable catch of a Bledsoe pass. What was special about it?
ANSWER: Bledsoe had been traded to the Bills. And Brown had been pressed into playing defense for the Patriots. Brown snared his first career interception on a Bledsoe pass intended for Eric Moulds.
10) Coming out of high school in California, Tom Brady was not only a quarterback, he was a left-handed, power-hitting catcher who caught the eye of baseball scouts. Which Major League Baseball team drafted Brady in 1995 in the 18th round?
ANSWER: Montreal Expos
This story was compiled by New England Sports Museum curator Richard A. Johnson, who has written, coauthored, or edited 22 books on sports and is currently working with Glenn Stout on a history of the New England Patriots for Houghton Mifflin, and by Bryan Morry, executive director of The Hall at Patriot Place.
Gridiron Glory opens Oct. 8 at the Museum of Science. It includes an entire section dedicated to the New England Patriots, as well as more than 200 artifacts, award-winning photographs, video footage from TV archives and NFL Films, and one-of-a-kind documents from the Football Hall of Fame’s vast collection. There will be daily live presentations, activities and learning opportunities about the latest developments in brain research. Learn the science behind the game and get to know the inspirational stories of football’s pioneers, coaches, and players, including those who broke social barriers.
Free with Exhibit Halls admission. To learn more, visit mos.org.