Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

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Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

Fred Marion is one of three finalists for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this year, along with Troy Brown and Bill Parcells.

Parcells was a nominee in 2011 when Drew Bledsoe was ultimately selected by fans for induction.

Marion and Brown are first-year nominees and both were available on conference calls Tuesday to discuss the honor.

Marion, a safety from the University of Miami was taken in the fifth round in 1982 and was an All-Pro in 1985. He had 29 career interceptions and was named to the Patriots All-'80s team and the 35th and 50th anniversary teams.

"Im very floored by the mere nomination to the Patriots Hall of Fame," said Marion. "I definitely want to thank Mr. Robert Kraft for actually making it all possible, what a wonderful family. I just cant say enough great things about the way he treated the former players who played long before he owned the team and just extended his kindness to us and let us not be forgotten, that speaks volumes. I am very honored to even be nominated."

Brown would seem to be the heavy favorite to win induction when voting is opened to the public.

Houston Antwine, a six-time AFL All Star and a member of the AFL's All-Time Team, was the third nominee in 2011.

But Antwine's support as a conventional nominee dried up last month when some members of the Hall panel deemed Antwine's chances of beating out Brown to be slim. Rather than put him up again, some voters decided to leave Antwine off their ballots and allow the veteran's committee to address him in the future. Which opened the door for Marion to become a nominee.

Marion was asked what he'd like people to recall about his 10-year career.

"Id like them to remember that I was always prepared and I left everything on the field," he explained. "I came to play and I think that I was always around the ball. I was a student of the game. I always did a lot of film study and I wasnt afraid to make contact. I would come up and hit the best of them, and wasnt afraid to be an aggressive player. I played in the secondary. I think I played a great centerfield as a free safety, always trying to fool the opposing quarterback, let him think they had something when there was nothing there. I was able to go get the ball. Id like to be remembered as I played the game the way we played the game back then and thats hard and physical on each and every down."Marion, who is currently a sales manager at a Toyota dealership in Sanford, Florida, was asked if he ever feels like he was built a decade or so too early.

"I think everything has its purpose and everything has its time," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to play when I played and Im sure like a lot of other guys who pioneered the game, you always wish you were born at a later time. Unfortunately, our time was our time. I think that Gods in control of everything. Im a true believer in that. I was fortunate to play in the era I played in."

Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

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Curran’s 100 plays that shaped a dynasty: A nice pair of kicks

We're into the Top 10 now.

These are the plays of the Bill Belichick Era you best never forget. And probably can't. They're the ones that led directly to championships -- most for New England, a couple for the other guys. Or they're plays that signified a sea change in the way the New England Patriots under Belichick would be behaving from there on out.

I did my best to stack them in order of importance. You got a problem with that? Good. Let us know what's too high, too low or just plain wrong. And thanks for keeping up!

PLAY NUMBER: 4

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Feb. 3, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 20, Rams 17

THE PLAY: Vinatieri 48-yarder in Superdome delivers SB36 win

WHY IT’S HERE: When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it was viewed nationally and locally as a cathartic moment for a long-suffering region. Deliverance for a fanbase that resolutely suffered through 90 years of star-crossed heartbreak with a mix of stoicism and fatalism. “Long-suffering Red Sox fan” was a badge of honor, an identity. And New Englanders – baseball fans or not - would self-identify with the hideous notion of Red Sox Nation. There was no “Patriots Nation.” To drag out the forced metaphor, Patriots fans were living in tents and cabins in the wilderness, recluses. Reluctant to be seen in town where they’d be mocked. And suddenly, they cobbled together one of the most improbable, magical seasons in American professional sports, a year which gave birth to a dynasty which was first celebrated, now reviled but always respected. And while so many games and plays led to this 48-yarder – ones we’ve mentioned 12 times on this list – Adam Vinatieri kicking a 48-yarder right down the f****** middle to win the Super Bowl was an orgasmic moment for the recluses and pariahs that had been Patriots fans when nobody would admit to such a thing.
 

PLAY NUMBER: 3

THE YEAR: 2001 (actually Jan. 19, 2002)

THE GAME: Patriots 16, Raiders 13

THE PLAY: Vinatieri from 45 through a blizzard to tie Snow Bowl

WHY IT’S HERE: Two thoughts traveling on parallel tracks were running through the mind while Adam Vinatieri trotted onto the field and lined up his 45-yarder to tie Oakland in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the final one at Foxboro Stadium. “There’s no way he can make this kick in this weather,” was the first. “The way this season’s gone, I bet he makes this kick. It can’t end here. It can’t end now.” From where I was sitting in the press box I couldn’t see the ball clearly, probably because I was looking for it on a higher trajectory than Vinatieri used. So I remember Vinatieri going through the ball, my being unable to locate it in the air and then looking for the refs under the goalposts to see their signal. And when I located them, I saw the ball scuttle past. Then I saw the officials’ arms rise. Twenty-five years earlier, the first team I ever followed passionately – the ’76 Patriots – left me in tears when they lost to the Raiders in the playoffs. Now, at 33, I was covering that team and it had gotten a measure of retribution for the 8-year-old me.