Is Matt Light the greatest left tackle ever? Nope. Will he be enshrined in Canton? Doubtful. But he'll always be one of the more memorable Patriots, just based on sheer personality -- a personality I hope we haven't seen the last of around here, given all the opportunities he probably has open to him in broadcasting and similar endeavors.
In the meantime, as Light remains on the fence about what the future will hold, here are my favorite memories of his antics while in uniform:
The "Snow Viking" Picture -- It's a desktop-sized photo of Light standing on the sideline in the snow. HIs red hair is standing out every which way, his beard thick and glorious, lip curled in a snarl, and his posture aggressive. At the time and since, this image summed up the raw, gritty talent of the 2003-04 Super Bowl squad for me, and is the first image that springs to mind when I think of Matt Light. I hope it never leaves Boston.com's servers. The Internet would be lesser without it.
Cutting Brady Down to Size -- Matt Light's most defining feature has always been his wit, which is probably not the first thing people associate with a 6' 4", 305-lb. guy who shoves around other huge guys for a living. But Matt Light has also always been the first example I could point to that puts the lie to the idea that football players, and especially linemen, are little more than barely-upright apes who couldn't spell "cat" if you gave them the "c" and the "a".
Nowhere has this wit been more publicly evident than in the way Light has delighted in brutally dethroning his most idolized teammate whenever possible. Two specific things spring to mind when I think of this: 1) Light and the rest of the line taping Brady's goat picture to their backs in practice; and 2) an appearance on WAAF's Hillman Morning Show in which he was asked, "How's Brady look?" and responded drily, "Oh, you mean the hair...?"
The Bathrobe -- The year: 2004. The time: evening. The occasion: the Patriots' arrival as victors in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Gillette Stadium. And who should emerge holding the trophy but Matt Light, sporting an impish grin, another truly glorious beard, and a fuzzy bathrobe.
It was a triumphant time for all of us.
The Punt -- I got to talk to Bill Belichick once. True story. He was a guest speaker at a conference I was attending, and as part of his motivational speech (yes, really), he played the footage of Matt Light catching a punt in a high-stakes bid to get out of practice early.
Light had asked for the night off in training camp after a blisteringly hot day, and Belichick made him a deal—catch a punt and you get the night off; fail to field it cleanly and the whole team runs double the wind sprints at the end of practice.
As the story goes, and as Belichick relayed it, Light suddenly had more coaching than he knew what to do with, from Troy Brown to Tom Brady, everyone around him babbling urgent instructions. Light eventually did field the punt, and was immediately mobbed by his overjoyed teammates.
I'd heard that story before. But I hadn't seen the video until Belichick showed it that day. It's still footage that, as far as I know, has never seen the light of day elsewhere, so you'll just have to take my word for it: it was awesome.
The Mustache Song -- This is something that I'm happy to say you can still experience, at least while it remains up in the WAAF archives. If you haven't heard it, don't wait another minute to enter Matt Light's mustache realm.