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The Snowplow Game
Snow plow game.jpg
The snowplow being used to clear a spot for a field goal attempt.
1 2 3 4 Total
MIA 0 0 0 0 0
NE 0 0 0 3 3
Date 1982-12-12
Stadium Schaefer Stadium
Location Foxborough, Massachusetts
Network NBC
Announcers Jay Randolph and Bob Griese

In National Football League lore, the Snowplow Game refers to a regular-season game played between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots on December 12, 1982.

Overview

Playing in a heavy snowstorm at New England's Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, the two teams remained scoreless late into the fourth quarter. With 4:45 left to go in the game and on-field conditions worsening, Patriots coach Ron Meyer directed snowplow operator Mark Henderson to clear a spot on the field specifically for placekicker John Smith. Matt Cavanaugh held for the kick. Miami coach Don Shula protested furiously but the field goal was good and the Patriots won the game by the final score of 3–0. The game ball was awarded to all-pro linebacker Steve Nelson, who subsequently donated it to his alma mater, North Dakota State University. Henderson also received a game ball from a gracious Meyer after the game.

Aftermath and legacy

Henderson, who was a convict on a work release program at the time of the game, was released from prison a few years later and currently works in the construction business. When he was being interviewed by a TV reporter about the controversy, Henderson jokingly replied, "What are they gonna do, throw me in jail?" The following year, the NFL banned the use of snowplows on the field during a game.

The incident is commemorated with an interactive exhibit at the Hall at Patriot Place within the Patriots' current home, Gillette Stadium. The plow itself, a John Deere Model 314 tractor with sweeper attached, hangs from the ceiling at the exhibit.

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