Former SMU head football coach Ron Meyer died on Wednesday at the age of 76.
The Patriots reached the playoffs in Meyer's first year after compiling a 5-4 record in the strike-shortened 1982 season. That was the year Meyer directed Mark Henderson, on work release from prison, to take his snowplow on the field and clear a spot for kicker John Smith on a field-goal attempt during a snowstorm at what was then known as Schaefer Stadium in Foxboro.
Meyer, who spent nine seasons as an National Football League head coach, three with the Patriots and six with the Indianapolis Colts, was known as a controversial figure of sorts - specifically known for a time he used a snowplow to give the Patriots an advantage over Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins. "Then Matt Cavanaugh, the backup quarterback who was the holder, saw me coming and started clapping his hands". Meyer was in his first season as Patriots coach, and the team was hosting the Miami Dolphins in a cold, snowy game. Smith made the field goal, and the Patriots beat the Dolphins 3-0.
Dolphins coach Don Shula was livid.
He had an overall record of 54-50 in the National Football League and was 0-2 in the postseason.
Led us to our first playoff appearance in Indy era, in '87.
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With SMU, where he coached for six years before being hired by the Patriots, Meyer was 34-32-1.
"I am sad to hear of Ron Meyer's passing", Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. He was a great man. Coach and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. "My mom and I loved Coach Meyer".
Undoubtedly, Meyer's most memorable moment as Patriots coach came on December 12, 1982, at then-Schaefer Stadium.
Before leading the Mustangs, he was at UNLV, and turned around that program quickly as well - in 1972, the year before his arrival, UNLV won one game.
Enter Meyer, an OH native and Purdue grad that appropriated Texas-sounding terms such as "slobberknockers" and "blowing snot bubbles" as expressions of the kind of intensity he wanted to see from his players. He spent three seasons there, earning the Division II Coach of the Year award in 1974, before accepting the SMU job. He led the team in playing time at defensive back in his junior and senior seasons, chosen to the All-Big 10 Academic Team as a senior.
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