Are there any professions out there that allow drinking on the job other than sommeliers, brewmasters, and New England Patriots football players?
I wouldn’t say that the Patriots were technically allowing their players to drink back in the 1990’s. It was more so that they didn’t realize that members of their team were sneaking sips before practice.
Did anyone read that and say “ahh, the 90’s, simpler times?” I don’t blame you if you did, and I’d have to agree with you. Former Patriots cornerback Ty Law would probably agree with you too.
Law was drafted by New England in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, and would end up spending 10 seasons with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls.
And for your information, 1995 was five years before the Bill Belichick dynasty officially got started. Before the legendary cutoff hoodie coach got there, Law played under Bill Parcells and Pete Carroll prior to Bill’s arrival.
It was also before New England’s Gillette Stadium was built, which left Patriots players having to take a short ride to their practice facility after getting suited up.
During those car rides, some of the players allegedly drank out of flasks, and it was apparently all started by former Patriots player and (former as well) Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
Ty Law was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show this past week, and it was in that interview that Patrick asked if any of the players ever drank before playing in games.
Doing so would be against NFL policies, so Law smartly said no to that, but did concede to taking a few sips before practice:
“We did it in practice. Mike Vrabel used to have the flask, so we’d all go to Vrabel and hit the flask. He had some whiskey or something. I was a coffee guy.
He had everybody else getting a flask. Back then, we used to have to drive to practice…before the beautiful Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.”
I’m no expert in NFL coaching, but I’d imagine you wouldn’t want your players tipsy while you are trying to get them prepared for games. Then again, with football being such a violent and physically taxing sport, what’s a little shot of whiskey going to hurt?
Ty Law continued describing how the short rides to practice usually went down to Patrick, saying:
“We were driving over there with helmets and shoulder pads on just being silly, and hell yeah, we were taking drinks in the car.
Coach Parcells, Pete, when we were over in the other practice facility, it was going down on that little five-minute drive, especially when it was cold outside.”
So what? A group of guys can’t have a hobby that they bond over on their way to work?
It does sound like those little “happy hour drives” stopped once Bill Belichick took over, which is probably a good thing (and obviously worked out). Plus, it happened so long ago, the statute of limitations most likely applies here. I don’t know that for sure though…
You can listen to Ty Law spill the beans about drinking on the job in the interview snippet below: