Former Patriots radio announcer Gil Santos died Thursday night on his 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary. Santos, a Massachusetts native, called 743 Patriots games, including three Super Bowl championships.
“Gil was a legendary broadcaster, who for 36 years passionately described the play-by-play detail of every Patriots game during his career,” team owner Robert Kraft said in a statement.
Here’s a look back at some of his best calls:
2002 Divisional playoff vs. Raiders: Adam Vinatieri’s tying 45-yard field goal in the snow: “Forty five-yard field goal attempt coming up. Snap, ball down, kick up, on the way, and it is good! It is good! Forty-five yards! Adam Vinatieri kicks it through the snow! And we’re tied at 13-13 with 27 seconds to play.”
2002 Divisional playoff vs. Raiders: Adam Vinatieri’s winning field goal in the snow: “From the 13-yard line, a 23-yard field goal attempt for Adam Vinatieri. Lonie Paxton to snap, Ken Walter to hold. The crowd will tell you whether he makes it or not. Set to go, snap, ball down, kick is up, Patriots win! Patriots win! Patriots win in overtime, 16-13, and it’s a mob scene on the snow field of Foxboro. Oh baby! We’re going to the AFC Championship Game!”
Super Bowl XXXVI: Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal beats the Rams: “Ken Walter will hold, Lonie Paxton will snap from the far hash mark, angled to the left for Adam Vinatieri. 48-yard field goal attempt. Set to go, snap, ball down, kick up. Kick is on the way, and it is... GOOD! It’s good! It’s good! Adam Vinatieri booms a 48-yard field goal and the game is over and the Patriots are Super Bowl champions! The Patriots are Super Bowl champions! The best team in the National Football League. Oh baby! What a finish. What a finish.”
Week 7, 2003: Tom Brady finds Troy Brown in overtime for a game winning 82-yard touchdown: “Brady with one lone setback, spins, pump fakes, looking over the middle, now nobody there. Now he shoots it long and deep for Troy Brown, he’s got it! He’s down to the 15, to the 10, to the 5, touchdown! Touchdown! Touchdown!”
Week 13, 2003: Willie McGinest halts Edgerrin James at the 1-yard line on 4th and goal: “Fourth down, 15 seconds to go, they hand off to Edgerrin James and he’s stopped! He is stopped! Willie McGinest made the stop at the one-yard line!”
Week 7, 2007: Randy Moss catches a 50-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady: “The nearside right is Welker going in motion to the left. Direct snap to Brady. Stands in the pocket, stands in the pocket, going to fire it long, going to fire it deep ... Randy Moss in the end zone, touchdown! Touchdown, Randy Moss! Another spectacular catch by this incredible football player!”
AFC Championship Game, 2013: His final Patriots sign off: “The Patriots season has come to a close here in the AFC Championship game. And with it, has come to a close my 36 years of broadcasting Patriots football. Sorry, I don’t have one more game for you, but I don’t. I was hoping to be able to finish it up at the Super Bowl. Not going to be that way.
“In walking away from the microphone and retiring as the voice of the Patriots, I’ll just say this: I want to thank the fans who have been very kind to me over the years. I want to thank Bob Kraft and his family, Bill Belichick, his staff and his players, thank them for being so cooperative to me and our broadcast team over the season.
“And to all of the previous Patriots coaches, players, and owners, thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for so many wonderful years. I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope the next guy who does it enjoys it as much as I have, and I hope he realizes it’s a privilege and not a job. That’s going to take care of it. With the final score, the Baltimore Ravens 28, the Patriots 13.”
Hayden Bird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @haydenhbird.