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The Boston Globe

Sports

Smaller players fill vital roles for Patriots

FOXBOROUGH — When the Patriots made the first of their seven trips to the Super Bowl — on Jan. 26, 1986 — the average size of their starting offensive line was 6 feet 4 inches, 276 pounds. No one topped 300 pounds.

A generation later, as the Patriots attempt Sunday to qualify for their eighth Super Bowl, the physical enormity of the players is impossible to miss. All five offensive line starters weigh at least 300 pounds.On the defensive line, Vince Wilfork (325) and Kyle Love (315) dwarf most of their predecessors.

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