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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #46: Vincent Brown

We revisit that time in Patriots history pre-Tom, pre-titles. When we rooted for a guy like Marv Cook to make the Pro Bowl, or for the #1 pick to pan out with a guy like Drew Bledsoe. The late 80s and early 90s were the lean years, the Dark Ages between Berry and Parcells, when titans like Hodson and Millen and Wilson took the snap from center with fear and resignation.

In this miasma of losing and shame came Vincent Brown. He only played from 1988 to 1995, eight seasons in old Foxboro Stadium with some truly abysmal teams. Brown was a bright spot, a surprising menace on a toothless defense, like a sudden rattlesnake in a pleasant park. He went to the Pro Bowl three times for the AFC, in 1991, 92, and 93, amidst a run of five seasons with 100+ tackles (158 in 1993). Brown roamed the middle of the defense like a dollar store Singletary or Urlacher, more a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher, though he did amass 16.5 sacks and 10 picks in his Pats career.

Most importantly, Brown had a nickname. We called him The Undertaker. You know, because he buried people. We didn't have a lot of nicknames on those teams except for the cheesy ones Chris Berman threw out on Sunday nights on ESPN (Ben "Winter" Coats, etc.). There was no Tom Terrific, no Minitron, no Gronk, no Ghost, certainly no (gulp) Boogeymen. Just an Undertaker. And we took what limited solace and swagger we could from his brief arc of excellence.

Brown has bounced around the college coaching ranks since his retirement in 1995. He's the defensive coordinator at William and Mary now, which must be quite the undertaking.

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