SI Vault
the football Beat
Peter King
December 03, 2001
?WORD ASSOCIATIONWith Titans offensive lineman Bruce Matthews (left), the NFL record holder for games played by a nonkicker
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December 03, 2001

The Football Beat

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Matthews: After this season? I don't know. For a long time I had a sense of panic about not playing. Now I'm at peace about it. I want to spend time with my six kids. I think I'd like to coach-high school, nothing higher.

SI: What you'll miss.

Matthews: Going into a hostile enviroment against great competition. And conquering everything to win. There is nothing like it in any other line of work I know of.

SI: Football epitaph.

Matthews: Played hard. Played fair.

Patriots-Jets: The NFL's cousin to Red Sox-Yankees is renewed

Five years after Bill Parcells abandoned the Patriots to coach the Jets, three years after Bill Belichick resigned his day-old job as Jets coach to jump to the Patriots and 10 weeks after Jets linebacker Mo Lewis hospitalized New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe with a vicious hit, Matt Light and the Patriots journey down 1-95 for their annual lovefest in the Meadowlands. Why highlight Light? During last April's draft New England player-personnel director Scott Pioli—the son-in-law of Parcells and a former Jets front-office exec—discovered his old team was hot for the Iowa guard. So the Patriots traded one spot ahead of New York and grabbed him.

Nov. 28, 1948: A remarkable road trip keys a perfect season
Cleveland coach Paul Brown wanted a perfect season in the All-America Football Conference pretty badly because no NFL or AAFC team had finished with an unblemished record. However, the 10-0 Browns would have to navigate one tough road trip: Nov. 21 at the two-time Eastern Division champ New York Yankees; Nov. 25 at the Los Angeles Dons; and Nov. 28 at the San Francisco 49ers, their bitter rivals. Cleveland won by 13 in New York and 17 in Los Angeles, but star passer Otto Graham wrenched a knee in L.A. and was limping against the Niners. "The 49ers coach told his guys, 'Don't hit Graham below the knee. We want to beat them with Graham so they won't have any excuses,' " Browns center Frank Gatski recalled last week. Graham rallied Cleveland from a 21-10 deficit with three touchdown passes. The Browns, 14-0 in the regular season, routed the Buffalo Bills 49-7 in the AAFC title game.

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