The Worst Teams of All Time, Part 6: The 1990 New England Patriots

This is a post in an ongoing series, where we examine and poke fun at some of the most ghastly teams ever to take the field.

Oh, those Patriots. Nowadays, New England is a proud franchise with three Lombardi trophies, five Super Bowl appearances on the century, and 11 Division titles starting from 2001.

Well, it’s time to give Bill Belicheat and New England’s delusional fanbase a slap of reality, as we’re now going to dive in to the past, where the Pats were the NFL’s biggest laughing stock.

Victor Kiam

Victor Kiam not facing the fans, as usual. He looked like a weasel, acted like one, and uh…note the score of the game.

Victor Kiam might have been a nice face to advertise Gillette razors, but he should never have owned an NFL team. Rumors of the Patriots leaving the New England area for St. Louis nagged Kiam, but he kept the franchise where it was.

On top of this, Kiam had to deal with his own players. After New England’s only win at Indianapolis in Week 2, Boston Herald reporter Lisa Olson was interviewing players after a workout session when a few players complained to GM Pat Sullivan that Olson was only there to “check out the players”. Sullivan discarded the comments, saying he saw nothing wrong. As a result, several players (TE Zeke Mowatt, RB Robert Perryman and WR Michael Timpson) began sexually harassing her.

Boston Herald Reporter Lisa Olson

After Olson complained to Kiam about what had happened, calling it a “mind rape”, Kiam responded with such class and respect that is expected of NFL owners, alledgedly calling her a “classic bitch”. Kiam later denied using such language in a public apology written in a Boston newspaper, but admitted to calling her a “classy bitch”. However, when asked about the quote by a Boston reporter, Kiam responded differently.

…And the quote, that you said about her being a “classic bitch”, I wonder if you could talk about that.

About the quote?

Yeah, about the quote.

Well, first of all, I…’classic’ is not a common word that I use in my uh…vocabulary.

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe later said that Kiam’s response was “something out of Animal House”.

Oh, those 1990 Patriots. So polite and forward-thinking. Later, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue stepped in, hired a reporter, and cracked the whip. Mowatt was fined $12,500 while Perryman and Timpson were fined $5,000 each. The team was also fined an additional $50,000 because they failed to react immediately or properly.

After the report went public, the imbecilic Patriot fans went crazy. They slashed her tires, robbed her apartment, and some even issued death threats. When she covered games, the fans harassed her. Olson was transferred to Sydney, Australia by the Herald’s owner.

This also brought the Patriots down on the field as well. They were already pretty bad to begin with, but they certainly didn’t need a nation-wide headline that had feminists after Kiam’s head. The first game after the Olson incident was against Cincinnati, where New England was crunched 41-7. That started a 14-game downward spiral in which the Patriots never won again. They finished 1990 predictably languishing with a league-worst 1-15 record. This allowed them to…trade the No.1 overall pick to Dallas for the No.11 pick, No. 41 pick, two starting linebackers (David Howard, Eugene Lockhart) and a DB who never played again (Ron Francis).

Both sides of the ball were awful for the Patriots, but the offense was worse (slightly). They averaged 11.3 points per game, predictably an NFL worst. One of, if not the biggest problem, was their woeful quarterbacks.

Tommy Hodson

Tommy Hodson might have been OK running with the ball, but he was a crappy passer.

Hodson started 6 games for the Pats, finishing with a 4 TD – 5 INT ratio, throwing for 968 yards, a 54.5% completion rate and a quarterback rating of 68.5. Joe Montana he was not.

Marc Wilson

In pretty much the only known picture of Marc Wilson during his tenure with the Patriots, he looks as clueless as ever.

Wilson was the only quarterback to appear in every game for New England, but his stats were still yawn-inducing. The ex-Raider completed 52.5% of his passes, throwing for 1,625 yards for 6 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a rating of 61.6. Wilson was crippled by injuries, breaking his throwing hand and dislocating his non-throwing shoulder. This resulted in a throwing arm that was weaker than North Korea’s supposed missile attack.

Steve Grogan 2

Steve Grogan was way past his prime by 1990. The veteran retired after an uninspiring 1990 campaign.

Steve Grogan, at the spry age of 37, played out the string in his final season in New England. Grogan did start for the Patriots’ only win, but his stats were mediocre to be kind. Grogan completed 54.3% of his passes for 615 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

Irving Fryar

Irving Fryar might have been the best player on offense in 1990.

Fryar was a very good receiver in his day, but because of the constant quarterback circus, he didn’t put up the numbers that he could have. Fryar finished the year with 54 receptions for 856 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Hart Lee Dykes

The same couldn’t be said of the rest of the receivers. The Patriots tried anything, including no-names like Hart Lee Dykes (legendary name), Marv Cook, Greg McMurtry, and two of the morons who flaunted their shortcomings around Olson, Mowatt and Timpson. Mowatt recorded 6 receptions for 67 yards, which is like a normal game for a starting tight end. Timpson, on the other hand, averaged a stunning 1 catch per game.

Good stats, guys. You really batted 1000 that year.

John Stephens

John Stephens taking a tumble in 1990, just like the rest of the team.

Although he was the leading rusher, John Stephens (rest in peace) was held back by hideous offensive line play. He finished 1990 with 808 yards, while scoring half the team’s rushing touchdowns (2). Stephens only averaged 3.8 yards per carry, which ranked 31st in the NFL, due to New England using the Air Coryell attack, which largely limited his amount of carries.

Robert Perryman

Robert Perryman had a terrible year in New England, which is confusing considering he of all people would have been able to make more with less. Perryman finished the year with 97 yards in 7 games, and after the season was over, he and his thimble-sized “Lil’ Perryman” were shown the door. Perryman couldn’t even make it to his front lawn without being tackled for a loss.

All of this has been said, but we haven’t even covered the defense.

Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy once said that in order to win, you had to “run and stop the run”. Well, the Patriots couldn’t do either. Not only did they rank 31st in points allowed with 446 (27.8 per game), they ranked last in run defense, surrendering 2,676, an average of 167.3 per game.

The Patriots’ best defensive players were all pass defenders (guys like Andre Tippett and Ronnie Lippett), so offenses just ran the ball down their throats and won easily.

Patriots fans left their team in the ditch in 1990, with low attendance figures and even worse support. The weather was terrible, the stadium was old and crappy, and the team was atrocious. What was in it for them?

Rod Rust

Rod Rust pretending to look like he knew what he was doing.

At the end of the horrid season, changes were in order. Rod Rust was fired after his first and only season in New England, being brought in as a defensive specialist, but then realizing he specialized in not playing defense.

GM Pat Sullivan was also fired, as ownership wanted to change direction as quickly as possible.

Things fell into place as the 1990s progressed, with the Patriots selecting Drew Bledsoe in the 1993 draft, and acquiring Bill Parcells to coach the team the same year. In 1994, they made the playoffs, and in 1996 reached the Super Bowl.

But NFL Network presenter Adam Schefter summed up the disastrous 1990 campaign very well, in an NFL Top 10 presentation:

Putrid. They were like bad fish.


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