January 5, 1997 – it came straight out of a Stephen King novel, “The Mist.” Except for us, it was “The Fog.” The Patriots took on the Steelers in the AFC playoffs – a Steelers team that probably deserved a better fate than what it got. But the Patriots had it all on their side that day, including the weather as a dense, thick fog enveloped old Foxboro Stadium. The fog was so thick that as the game kicked off, we could not see the field from our vantage point in the press box – a necessary occurrence if one is to do one’s job and call the game on the field! It was as if a cloud had descended from the sky and pitched its’ tent inside the mostly concrete (and steel) structure, stretching from sideline to sideline and rising into the air as if we were all of a sudden in the stratosphere. For most of the first half and into the second half, we relied on the TV cameras and the television replays to make the calls on the field for the coaches, players and fans in the stands because we simply could not see a thing. The television network took its cameras and actually lowered them closer to field level once the game started (we witnessed a move or two) in an effort to provide more than a fleeting glance at Curtis Martin ripping apart a stunned Steelers defense. The Patriots won, 28-3, setting the stage for the first-ever AFC title game in Foxborough the next week against Jacksonville. There have been other foggy days in Foxborough since, but this one was most memorable. (Editor’s note: John Rooke is the public address announcer at Gillette Stadium and Foxboro Stadium before that)
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