This Date in Sports History: 12/12

December 12, 1980: On this day in sports history…

The Patriots defeated Don Shula’s Dolphins 3-0, in the famous Snow Plow game in Foxborough, MA.

From Wikipedia– “The two teams remained scoreless late into the fourth quarter. With 4:45 left to go in the game and on-field conditions worsening, Patriots coach Ron Meyer ordered snowplow operator Mark Henderson to clear a spot on the field specifically for placekicker John Smith. At first, no one had thought it suspicious, assuming that the plow would go straight across, and allow for a more accurate measurement (which turned out to be 33 yards). Instead, the plow veered left, directly in front of the goal post, giving Smith a clean spot from which to kick. Matt Cavanaugh held for the kick. Miami coach Don Shula protested furiously but the field goal was good and the Patriots won the game by the final score of 3–0.

The following year, the NFL banned the use of snowplows on the field during a game. In a 2007 interview for an NFL Network segment about the game, Shula recalled protesting the “unfair” act, to which Commissioner Pete Rozelle responded that, while he agreed wholeheartedly, without a rule explicitly barring such use of the plow, there was nothing he could do. The incident is commemorated with an interactive exhibit at the Hall at Patriot Place within the Patriots’ current home, Gillette Stadium. The plow itself, a John Deere Model 314 tractor with sweeper attached, hangs from the ceiling at the exhibit.”