Box Score Bank: 30 Years in the Making

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Box Score Bank: 30 Years in the Making

Over the weekend, the Tennessee Titans announced that second-year QB Jake Locker has beaten out Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job, and will make his first career start in Week 1 against the Pats.

Good for Jake. And good for Bill Belichick, who's no doubt foaming at the mouth over an opportunity to welcome a new QB to the NFL starting ranks.

It got me thinking: Who was the last quarterback to make his first career start against the Patriots in Week 1 of the NFL season?

I know, pretty random. But would you would rather read about the Sox?

So, I started going back through the seasons . . .

And going back . . . and back . . . and back, back, back before briefly morphing into Chris Berman and eventually finding our answer.

So, let's set the Box Score Bank for 30 years ago: September 12, 1982

E.T. was No. 1 at the box office (followed not-so-closely by Rocky III and Porky's). "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago had briefly knocked the Steve Miller Band's "Abracadabra" off the top of the Billboard charts. A week later, a man named Scott Fahlman invented emoticons. Three weeks later, Sony launched the first consumer compact disc. Bill Belichick was coaching linebackers and special teams for the Giants. Tom Brady had recently turned five.

And at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, rookie QB Mike Pagel was making his first career against the Patriots in Week 1 of the NFL season.

Final Score: Patriots 24, Colts 13

Pagel, a 22-year-old fourth round pick out of Arizona State, was no match for the Pats and defensive coordinator Jim Mora. Pagel finished the game 7-15 for 71 yards with an INT and a rushing TD, and was ultimately replaced behind center by Art Schlichter (who was eventually replaced by David Humm). Despite the Colts lack of quarterbacking, they actually led 13-10 in the third quarter before the Pats rattled off 14 straight points (a 30-yeard pass from Matt Cavanaugh to Ken Toler, and a one-yard run by Robert Wheathers) to run away with the win.

Pagel went on to have a 12-year NFL career with the Colts, Browns and Rams but never found much success. He retired in 1993 with a career record of 17-36-1.

According to Wikipedia, he now resides in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, and is a project manager for AT&T. He also serves as analyst for the pregame, halftime and postgame shows on during Browns games and offers television color commentary on college games on Fox Sports Network.

Your move, Jake Locker.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.