1980sDick EnbergFootballLos Angeles RaidersMerlin OlsenNBCNew England PatriotsNFLNFL Hall of Fame

NFL – 1985 – AFC Divisional Playoffs – Los Angeles Raiders Vs New England Patriots – 3rd Qtr

DOG ASIDE:   

With the success of the current New England Patriots under the tutelage of Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady….it seems to us at ImaSportsphile that Pats fans have forgotten about the teams that Coach Raymond Berry guided for five years from 1984 to 1989….the great Baltimore Colts wide receiver…. who hauled down so many passes from Johnny U (Johnny Unitas) during his 12 years with the Colts….that he ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame….but his years at the helm as the Patriots head coach were very successful too.    

Berry joined the New England Patriots as receivers coach under Chuck Fairbanks in 1978. …then he stayed on with new coach Ron Erhardt until Erhardt and his entire staff were fired following a 2–14 season in 1981…..when Berry left football and worked in real estate in Medfield, Massachusetts….until the Patriots fired Ron Meyer in the middle of the 1984 season and hired Berry to replace him. Under his leadership, the Patriots won four of their last eight games and finished the season with a 9–7 record.

Berry’s importance to the team was reflected less in his initial win–loss record….than in the respect he immediately earned in the locker room….as according to running back Tony Collins, “Raymond Berry earned more respect in one day than Ron Meyer earned in three years”.

In the 1985 season, the team improved further by posting an 11–5 record….and making the playoffs as a wild card team….as they went on to become the first team in NFL history to advance to the Super Bowl by winning three playoff games on the road….defeating the New York Jets 26–14….the Los Angeles Raiders 27–20 (as seen in this video herewith….and then Miami Dolphins 31–14 in the AFC Conference title game…which was the first time the Patriots had beaten the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl (Miami’s then-home stadium) since 1966….which was Miami’s first season as a franchise. 

The following season, Berry’s Patriots again recorded an 11–5 record and made the playoffs….but this time lost in the first round of the postseason….which was the final time the Patriots made the playoffs with Berry as their coach….as they narrowly missed the playoffs with an 8–7 record in 1987 (a strike-shortened season) and a 9–7 record in 1988. Then in Berry’s last year as a coach, the Patriots finished the 1989 season 5–11….when  New Patriots team owner Victor Kiam demanded Berry relinquish control over personnel and reorganize his staff….which Berry refused and was fired…..but the fact is that Berry led the Pats to the best team record since they came out of the old AFL when it merged with the NFL in 1970.  Ray Berry also coached six future Hall of Fame players during his tenure at New England….including WR Stanley Morgan, T Bruce Armstrong, LB Andre Tippett, QB Steve Grogan, LB Steve Nelson and G John Hannah.

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