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RE: [patriotzip] Re: 1976 Patriots

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  • Don Diamant
    That is a great story George! It gives us a look at the Billy Sullivan that many of us never knew of. I would also like to thank you for your service to our
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 30, 2009

      That is a great story George!  It gives us a look at the Billy Sullivan that many of us never knew of.

       

      I would also like to thank you for your service to our country, thank you George.

       

      Don

       


      From: patriotzip@yahoogroups.com [mailto: patriotzip@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of George
      Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 11:29 AM
      To: patriotzip@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [patriotzip] Re: 1976 Patriots

       

       

      Many of you have heard this story before, but this seems like an occasion
      that demands a re-telling.

      Back in 1970, I was serving as an Infantry Officer in Vietnam . I was every
      bit as dedicated to my Patriots then as I am today. I arrived in Vietnam in
      March. As the Draft approached, my thoughts remained back in Massachusetts ,
      wondering who would be added to my team. I wrote a letter to founder and
      owner, Billy Sullivan, asking if he could send me any details about the
      team's activities, since news was both scarce and late where I was.

      Well, Billy was more than a bit surprised that a person in my situation was
      concerned about his football team. Much to my surprise, he wrote back
      personally, and directed his staff to put me onto the media list for all
      press releases and materials. I received those throughout my tour; as well
      as continued personal correspondence with Billy. He promised to put me at
      the head of the Season Ticket list when I returned.

      Sadly, I wasn't able to take advantage of his offer; as I moved to
      California very shortly after I returned from Vietnam . But our relationship
      continued. For the next several seasons, every time the Patriots came out to
      the West Coast to play (then LA, San Diego , Oakland , and San Francisco ),
      Billy provided tickets for me and my wife. When they played in cities other
      than LA, he reserved a room for us in the team hotel, so that we could meet
      with him, and mingle with players. (The tickets were free, but I did have to
      pay for the rooms.) :-)

      In the subject year of 1976, I was seated on the 30 yard line, about half
      way up in the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, directly over the notorious
      "Roughing the Passer" call on Sugar Bear Hamilton, by Ben Dreith. It's a
      memory that will live with me forever, as I saw what should have been our
      first trip to the Super Bowl disappear, when Raiders' QB, Ken Stabler,
      followed his Academy Award winning dive with the TD pass that sent them on
      the way to the championship that should have been OURS!

      That, to be sure, was a painful experience. But the overall memories of that
      very special relationship with Billy Sullivan are among the best of my life.
      They later included my first opportunity to attend a Super Bowl. Billy
      provided me with tickets to the classic game in 1980, when the Steelers beat
      the Rams 31-19, with immortal highlight catches by Lynn Swann and Donte
      Stallworth. By the way, the face value of those Super Bowl tickets in 1980
      was $35!!

      I know that many people either remember, or have been told, many negative
      things about Billy Sullivan. But I knew him as a guy who loved the game, and
      loved the fans, with all his heart. His children, to be sure, were a bunch
      of spoiled, arrogant a$$es. But Billy was as down to earth as they come.
      Just an ordinary neighborhood Irishman, who never lost the personality that
      goes with that background. We truly enjoyed his company every bit as much as
      his hospitality. It should never be forgotten that, while he wasn't able to
      bring us the championships we've had from Bob Kraft's management; it was
      Billy Sullivan that gave us our team!

      OK. That's my trip down memory lane. Probably the last time I'll bore some
      of you with it. I hope those for whom it was new enjoyed it.

      George

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