Bill Russell leading the Celtics to the 1969 NBA title squares off against the Patriots’ “snowplow game” in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
4. Bill Russell leads Celtics to 1969 titleBill Russell capped his 13-year playing career –- and third as a player-coach — with one last unforgettable run in 1969. At 36, a worn-down Russell led the Celtics to their 11th NBA championship in 13 years, defeating the powerful Los Angeles Lakers trio of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain in seven games to clinch the title. Although the Celtics struggled to a 48–34 regular-season record (their worst mark since 1955-56), they caught fire in the postseason, upsetting the 76ers and Knicks to set up a date with the Lakers in the Finals. Boston then withstood a Herculean effort by West (the only player from the losing team ever named Finals MVP) to raise yet another championship banner and close out one of the greatest eras in professional sports history.
13. ‘Snowplow Game’Sometimes, snow and the Patriots are synonymous, thanks to the relentless New England weather. Snow in New England has caused some unforgettable games, including the so-called “Snowplow Game” on Dec. 12, 1982. The night before the Patriots hosted the Dolphins at Schaefer Stadium, New England was blasted by rain that ended up freezing, and then before the game, it snowed. The difficult conditions called for snow plows to occasionally drive onto the field to clear the yard markers. Patriots coach Ron Meyer decided to use the plows to his advantage, sending snowplow driver Mark Henderson onto the field to clear a spot for John Smith to kick a field goal. The 33-yard kick was good and the Patriots won 3-0. The iconic moment still bothers Hall of Fame Dolphins coach Don Shula.
Share your thoughts about Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment on Twitter at @NESN. Include #BGSM in your tweet.