Well, perfection proved elusive, to the delight of most of the country. But what a fantastic season it was. Amazing to think that an 18-1 season would ever be considered a disappointment. But hey! – it’s The Freaking Pats we’re talking about. Long time fans know what I mean.
What a great player he was, and a great guy from all accounts. During the early to mid 80s, when the Patriots were finally beginning to look like a contending football team, Tippett was one of the Patriots who really emerged as a star. For some reason, the Patriots either drafted or acquired some great linebackers during that period (ones that come to my mind immediately include Steve Nelson, Don Blackmon, Larry (later Laurence) McGrew, Clayton Weishuhn (career cut short by injury but he was fantastic) and many others, and he was the best of them. As fans we really started to take pride in the team’s defense during that era.
He was the first Patriots head coach I remember. I was young, and unaware of his other accomplishments, which were substantial. What I do remember at that time was that he looked amazingly like my father’s uncle Saul (who, by the way, just celebrated his 90th birthday – congratulations Uncle Saul!).
During the 60s he (Holovak, not my great uncle) coached some pretty mediocre Patriots teams, and my dad would always want to put on the radio after the game to listen to what he called “the Golly Bob Show”. The Patriots announcer at the time, Bob Starr, would always have a post-game interview with Holovak, who would end up having to explain the team’s bad performances, and he always started out, “well golly, Bob…”. Funny what you remember 40 years on.