- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Owner Robert Kraft released the following statement on the passing of former Patriots coach Chuck Fairbanks today:
"As a Patriots season ticket holder, I remember the excitement that was generated by the hiring of Chuck Fairbanks from the University of Oklahoma in 1973. Coach Fairbanks gave the Patriots instant credibility. For Patriots fans of that era, Fairbanks was the Bill Parcells before Bill Parcells. Meaning, he did for the Patriots in the '70s what Bill Parcells did for the team in the '90s. He delivered the franchise’s first 11-win season in 1976 and earned a home playoff game after winning the division in 1978. It was the first time in franchise history that we hosted a playoff game. He introduced the 3-4 defense to the NFL during his Patriots tenure, which remains a part of his NFL legacy. It is a sad day for a generation of Patriots fans who enjoyed his era of coaching. My thoughts and prayers are with the Fairbanks family and all who mourn his loss."