Jan. 31, 1973

There was a day when the NFL college player draft was more of a two-day bureaucratic conference than television spectacular.

Too bad. The NFL DRAFT – catch it tonight, tomorrow and the next day on ESPN! – would have had plenty of Patriots fodder to chew on with this one.

Chuck Fairbanks, New England’s new head coach, focused on offense and cashed in three first-round picks with John Hannah at No. 4, Sam Cunningham at No. 11, and Darryl Stingley at No. 19. Quite a haul, with all three playing significant roles in turning the Pats into playoff contenders in three years.

A phone call from Jim Plunket put a damper on Fairbanks’ day. The Pats’ quarterback reported that he suffered torn cartilage in his left knee in a car accident and would require surgery.

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