Football

Dec. 8, 1987

Steve Grogan, limping toward the end of his NFL career, would start the Patriots’ next game, at Sullivan Stadium against the New York Jets.

It was a lost season for the Pats. Shortened by a three-week players strike, dogged by injuries, New England missed the playoffs for the first time since 1984.

As for Grogan, he again served as a backup. Since leading the Patriots out of the NFL wilderness in the first half of his career, he then played the role of reliever behind Tony Eason, Doug Flutie, Marc Wilson and Tom Ramsey.

Against the Jets, in the final home game of the 1987 season, he stood in for Ramsey, who was coming off a horrific outing at Denver ­- 17-for 39, 177 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions. Coach Raymond Berry tried mightily to say Ramsay’s performance had nothing to do with the decision, claiming it was based on Grogan’s improved health.

He may have gotten away with that fib were it not for Grogan’s most recent injuries, a shoulder separation, and a concussion in the preceding three weeks.

With Grogan throwing for four touchdowns on 180 yards, the Pats drubbed the Jets, 42-20.

He started the final two games, both wins, but the Pats’ 8-7 record left them out of the playoffs.

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