Some New England Chowder For An Appetizer

From Foxborough, Massachusetts

There are two stadiums in the NFL that when you drive to them remind you that you are in a small town.

First and foremost is Lambeau Field in Green Bay, where the stadium suddenly pops up among the city’s neighborhoods.

The other is Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough. It’s not really in a neighborhood, it’s more like just on the edge of the town, but there are only two ways into the stadium site and while they’ve improved access in recent years, it remains one of the toughest traffic stadiums in professional sports.

What’s in Foxborough? I’m not sure because I’ve never met anyone from the Greater Boston-Providence area that called it home. The 2010 U.S. Census says the population is 16,865.

In simpler times, it was the home of the world’s largest straw hat factory. Union Straw Works burned down they say early in the 20th Century. Today, there is Gillette Stadium and the Patriot Place shopping and dining complex.

Quite possibly the most famous resident of Foxborough was Nguyen Van Thieu. He was the last President of South Vietnam who after he fled the country in the 1970s, lived in exile in Foxborough.

The things you learn.


He’s 5-9, 187 pounds, the same size as Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers. But when it comes to playing “big” few in the league can match Wes Welker.

His ability to communicate with QB Tom Brady and be productive in the Patriots offense has made him a records setting receiver. Right now, after just nine games he’s caught 72 passes for 1,006 yards.

Since he joined the Patriots in 2007, no receiver in the league has caught as many passes as Welker, with 504 for 5,542 yards and 28 TDs. The next most active receiver has been Denver/Miami WR Brandon Marshall with 446 catches.

Welker is another one of those great examples of it doesn’t matter how you start, but how you finish. In 2004, Welker was not selected in the NFL Draft. He signed as a college free agent with San Diego and made the Chargers roster for opening day.

He did not make a catch, but returned four kickoffs for a 25.5-yard average. And, he was released after that first game. That’s one of those decisions by Chargers GM A.J. Smith that did not work out very well. Welker ended up in Miami and then the Patriots pried him away from the Dolphins when he was a restricted free agent in the 2007 off-season. It cost New England second and seventh-round draft choices.

With the Patriots he reached 500 catches in just 70 games, an NFL record for fewest games to reach that level of production.

Why is he so productive?

“He and Brady are on the same page,” said Chiefs CB Brandon Carr. “They know what each other is going to do on every snap, in every situation. You can’t fool them.”


The Chiefs are 22-15 when playing on Monday Night Football, whether the game was on ABC or ESPN. They’ve won their last two, beating the Chargers in both games in 2010 and just three weeks ago. They are 10-8 on the road in Monday Night games, losing their last one away from Arrowhead Stadium in Denver back in 2005, 30-10.

The Patriots are 20-22 all time on Monday Night, but under head coach Bill Belichick they are 13-5. They are 9-8 in home Monday Night games. They are 2-0 against the Chiefs on Monday Night, with victories n 2000 and 2004.


There was a time when Arrowhead Stadium was the toughest place for visiting teams to play on the NFL circuit. In the 1990s, the Chiefs were an impressive 65-19, a .774 winning percentage.

That hasn’t been the case since, as between 2000 and 2011 they have a 52-42 record at home, a .553 winning percentage.

Certainly it won’t come as a surprise that the Patriots have one of the league’s best home-field advantages, especially since Gillette Stadium was open in 2002. Including the playoffs, they are an NFL best 70-15, a .824 winning percentage.

Here’s an even more impressive number from the Patriots at home – since 2002, their point differential is plus-757 points.


The Chiefs and Patriots last met in the 2008 season opener. That’s three and a half seasons ago.

When they play Monday night, there are only 21 players on both rosters that played in the ’08 game and could play tonight.

The Chiefs have 12: Dwayne Bowe, Branden Albert, Glenn Dorsey, Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson, Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Dustin Colquitt, Jackie Battle, Jon McGraw and Demorrio Williams.

The Patriots have 9-plus: Wes Welker, Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Matt Slater, Gary Guyton and Stephen Gostkowski.

The plus for New England is Brian Waters, who played in that game for the Chiefs.









“Gronkowski is just a physical presence that — much like some receivers that I’ve coached in the past like a Keyshawn [Johnson] or somebody like that — that once the quarterback understands that you can throw it when he’s covered, that’s always a great trait, characteristic to have,” said Haley. “If you’re a guy catching the ball from the quarterback and the quarterback knows he can throw it when you’re covered, which obviously Tom [Brady] does a bunch. That’s just a testament to Rob and how good he is able to position and use his body to make catches on top of having just great, great hands.”

Brady-Gronkowski  87.5  14-16 


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