Oct. 2, 1975

As the Red Sox prepared to take on the Oakland A’s in the American League Championship Series, Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks thought of little beyond who might serve as his quarterback three days hence.

The Pats would travel to Shea Stadium to take on the New York Jets, and there were cautious hopes that Jim Plunkett would be ready to start at quarterback.

Plunkett suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 7, so Neill Graff started the first two games of the season, losses to Miami and Houston. (Yes, the Oct. 5 game was just their third. They only played 14 games back in the day.)

Graff had been almost adequate, completing 18 of 35 passes for 221, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Eventually, rookie quarterback Steve Grogan saw some playing time.

Plunkett did come back to face the Jets, but the Pats took a 36-7 thumping.

By season’s end the were 3-11. Over the off-season Plunkett was traded to the 49ers, and Fairbanks made Grogan his starter for the 1976 season. Another new era was to begin.

The Pats had lots of new eras in their first few decades.

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