On December 12th, 1982 the Miami Dolphins traveled to New England to take on the Patriots. The Dolphins entered the strike shortened season 4-1. The night before the game heavy rains fell at Shaefer Stadium. The temperatures dropped overnight and froze the rainwater. As the game progressed a snowstorm struck and the field quickly became an almost unplayable surface. Neither team could generate anything offensively and the game continued to slide towards an eventual overtime period and likely tie.
Late in the 4th quarter the Patriots lined up for what would be a 33 yard field goal on the snowy turf. Patriot head coach Ron Meyer motioned for a snowplow operator to blow the snow off the field. It was initially thought that Mark Henderson would simply plow across the line of scrimmage but instead he plowed the area where the field goal attempt would be made from. Clearing the snow where the hold would be.
Furious, Don Shula protested but the refs allowed the attempt and the Patriots would go ahead by three points. On the ensuing drive, the Dolphins drove into field goal range and the refs offered Shula the use of the plow but Shula declined believing that his protests would change the game. After meeting with commissioner Pete Rozelle the game remained unchanged. Rozelle told Shula he agreed that the Patriots gained an unfair advantage but refused to change the outcome.
Henderson was on a prison work release program at the time of the event and would be given a game ball by Meyer shortly after the game. The Patriots would use the victory to eventually get into the playoffs but the Dolphins would beat the Patriots in the wild-card round and eventually advance to the Super Bowl. Due to the strike, the Patriots made the playoffs when the NFL opted to change the post-season. Due to the strike, 8 teams from each conference made the post-season with the top 8 teams from each conference playing in the “Super Bowl Tournament”
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