Online film “Bighorn” explores General Custer’s New England Patriots Super Bowl connection


Jan. 27, 2012

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Alfred Thomas Catalfo

Online film “Bighorn” explores General Custer’s
New England Patriots Super Bowl connection

DOVER, N.H. — With the New England Patriots heading to the Super Bowl, an online film is raising the possibility that a last-minute decision by George Armstrong Custer at the fateful Battle of the Little Bighorn may have affected the outcome of the New England Patriots’ first Super Bowl win.

That is the premise behind the short film “Bighorn,” a 15-minute, supernatural historical fantasy based on a true story: General Custer’s bandmaster, Felix Vinatieri — an Italian immigrant and the great-great-grandfather of NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri — was ordered to stay behind at the 7th Cavalry’s Powder River camp and just missed the Battle of the Little Bighorn where Custer and his entire regiment were annihilated.

The Twilight Zone-ish tale takes place in 2002 — when the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl on Adam Vinatieri’s last-second, 48-yard field goal — and in 1876.

“Bighorn” can be viewed free online at

Nathaniel Philbrick, Pulitzer Prize-nominated author of the New York Times Bestseller “The Last Stand,” applauded “Bighorn” on his blog, calling it “an ingenious and demented intermingling of the Battle of the Little Bighorn with the New England Patriots” and telling his readers “You’ve got to see this movie!”  The quirky short film recently won the Online New England Film Festival.

“I was captivated by the story,” writer/director Alfred Thomas Catalfo recounts.  “If Felix had died in the battle, Adam would not have been born.  I thought that was a poignant commentary about how tenuous life is and how a path taken today can have an effect even generations later.”

Adam Vinatieri is widely regarded as the greatest clutch kicker of all time.  The possibility that a different kicker might have missed the Super Bowl-winning field goal was made starkly evident when the Baltimore Ravens’ Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard, chip-shot kick at the end of this year’s AFC championship game, punching New England’s ticket to the Super Bowl.

“Bighorn” is the latest from award-winning filmmakers Catalfo, writer/director of the Internet hit “The Norman Rockwell Code” and winner of 21 major screenwriting competitions, and Glenn Gardner, producer of the film “Sniffer” that won the prestigious Palm d’Or, the top overall award, at the Cannes Film Festival.

Custer is portrayed by Steve Alexander, recognized by the U.S. Congress as “the foremost Custer living historian.”  Alexander has played him in numerous films and at the annual Native American re-enactment on the original battlefield.  Alexander lives in Custer’s former home in Monroe, Michigan.

“I remember saying that my next film would be simple and easy,” laughs Catalfo, a New Hampshire personal injury attorney by day.  “The next thing I know I’m directing Custer’s Last Stand with mounted cavalry charging, soldiers firing period weapons, arrows flying, and a very ornery herd of buffalo — on film with a $5000 budget.”

Catalfo and Gardner are next moving on to feature films and have several projects in development.


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