Pete Kendall was chosen as a guard on the Globe’s All-Time All-Scholastic football team. As part of the project, he discussed his football life with us. Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: I read that Tom Coughlin (who had just accepted the BC head coaching job while he was finishing a stint as the Giants wide receiver coach) called you right after the Giants won the 1991 Super Bowl to convince you to commit to Boston College. What do you remember about that call?
PK: Yeah, I remember that. We had watched the game at my parents house in Weymouth. Tom was in the locker room and he had Mark Bavaro making calls on his behalf because Mark was a local guy. He spoke highly of Tom. It was pretty cool, but I couldn’t tell you if the conversation was 30 seconds or 30 minutes, it was so long ago.
Q: You were known as a pretty good trash talker back in the day. Was that a fair reputation, and did your mouth get you into a bit of trouble from time to time?
PK: It certainly was a fair reputation. I wouldn’t say I regret it, but I wouldn’t coach my own kid to pursue that path. I don’t know that I was ever penalized for anything I said, and hopefully I played the game the right way between the whistles. I’m sure I annoyed some opponents and probably, quite frankly, some teammates and coaches. But, 30 years is a long time ago.
Q: You had some great battles with Notre Dame during your time and it seems like you always took great pride in winning those games. What do you remember about each matchup?
PK: I still can remember the build-up to all of them. In ‘92 we had gotten out to an expectedly fast start. We were number nine in the country, Notre Dame was number eight in the country and I think if we’re being honest the feeling around that program was a little bit of disappointment. They were an incredibly talented team. Multiple first-round draft picks on the roster and apparently some of our fan base poked the bear the night before [when they interrupted] Lou Holtz [at Notre Dame’s pep rally]. And his team certainly took it out on us the next day. There were a couple of plays in particular where they were trying to rub it in. They ran a fake punt up 37-0. They put their first defense back on the field late in the fourth quarter up 54-0 to keep us out of the end zone. So it was more than just a game that got away, it was clearly personal and that’s fine. You have two similar institutions and all that big brother, little brother stuff I thought was part of it.
In ‘93, we felt really confident going into that game. After starting 0-2, we really found a stride especially on offense. Glenn [Foley] was as hot as anybody playing quarterback in the country through that stretch. It was a great experience, probably the pinnacle for me as far as winning a game. I didn’t enjoy that type of success in the NFL. I’ve never played in a Super Bowl, certainly never won a Super Bowl. I never really had postseason success, so that might have been it for me as far as my biggest achievement team-wise in the game.
The following year, Notre Dame had a highly-recruited quarterback. They came back to our place to play in ‘94 and I think they were ranked eighth in the country again. I think we were ranked 17th or right on the fringe of the top 20 somewhere, and we had a really good game that day. We had a good plan, which we executed well, and our defense was phenomenal in that game. We won that game and that was good. I think it validated the program and the group, that it wasn’t just a fluke-y one-off.
Q: I saw on your pro football reference page that you had one reception for negative nine yards in your last NFL season. Is that correct? Did you catch a pass?
PK: Not only did I catch a pass, but the other team scooped and scored my fumble, and won the game. I guess I thought I was going to take it for a big gain. I will say this in my defense: We were able to claw back into the game and take the lead back. But all the plays count, especially the stupid ones. So, that was regrettable to say the least.
Read more about the Globe’s all-time All-Scholastic team
- Meet the Globe’s all-time All-Scholastic football team
- Tell us your Massachusetts high school football memories
- ‘I was at home on the football field’: Doug Flutie reflects on his football career
- Pete Kendall doesn’t regret all the trash-talk he dished out, but tried to play the right way on the field
- If Mike Croel played in today’s NFL, he thinks he might be ‘ejected out of every game’
- Q&A with Pete Cronan: Football was ‘the first thing I did that people thought I was doing well’
- ‘My mother was the athlete of the family:’ Darren Flutie talks about a life centered on sports
- Art Graham explains what made him a deep-threat receiver for the Patriots
- Gosder Cherilus reflects on the life lessons learned at Boston College and the NFL
- Al Louis-Jean in his own words: Leaving BC early ‘made me into the noble man I am right now’
- Pat Hughes reflects on how he landed at Boston University, and other aspects of his football career
- What was Tom Nalen’s strategy for blocking bigger opponents? ‘Holding. It was the only way.’