The New England Patriots are one of the most well-known professional American football franchises in the NFL, with a long and illustrious career that has made them a household name in the sporting world.
In this article, we are going to be running through everything that you need to know about the New England Patriots, from their most memorable wins to their humble beginnings. Let’s get started.
The History Of The New England Patriots
The New England Patriots started their journey to American football stardom more than fifty years ago on November 16th, 1959, when a Bostonian business executive by the name of William Sullivan- known as Billy Sullivan- along with the Sullivan Brother Printers- owned by John Sullivan- was given the eighth franchise (which was also the final franchise) of the then developing American Football League, known as the AFL.
The name of the Patriots was selected by Billy Sullivan, but it was the locals to the Boston area that were asked to submit ideas for the official team name.
Sullivan chose from the choices of the locals, with the “Boston Patriots” being the final winner.
The name “Patriots” references the colonists within the Thirteen Colonies in the United States.
These colonists rebelled against the control of the British during the American Revolution, which culminated in the United States of America becoming an independent nation in July 1776.
Once the name was confirmed, the logo of “Pat Patriot”- featuring a man wearing the outfit of a revolutionary soldier whilst holding a football- was designed and established by an artist from The Boston Globe newspaper called Phil Bissell.
Thus, the Patriots and their aesthetic was born!
First Playoff Win
The Patriot’s first playoff win came in 1963 when they defeated the Buffalo Bills and became the winners of the very first preseason game in the American Football League.
However, they would go on to lose the championship AFL game to the San Diego Chargers.
It took more than a decade for the team to appear in an NFL post-season game or an AFL game, but this doesn’t make that initial defeat of the Buffalo Bills any less impressive.
The NFL And AFL Merge
The merging of the NFL and AFL in 1970 marked some key changes to the team that would last until the present day, such as moving to a new stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and being placed into the East division of the American Football Conference, or the AFC.
The move to Massachusetts also meant a change to their name, becoming the New England Patriots rather than the Boston Patriots in order to represent the state of Massachusetts where they were now based.
A fun fact here is that this wasn’t the original name that the Patriots were meant to have.
The original name was the “Bay State Patriots” in reference to their new Massachusetts home base.
However, this was rejected by the NFL, with the team officially becoming the “New England Patriots” in March 1971.
The reason for this rejection? It was pointed out that an abbreviated form of the original name would lead to the team being referred to as “The B.S Patriots”.
Probably a good idea that they went with the New England Patriots instead!
Near Moves To Other States
During the time between their playoff win against the Buffalo Bills and their final move to Foxboro, the Patriots moved four different times to temporary places.
They moved between Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, and Nickerson Fields before they were able to settle in 1971.
They almost got shipped off to St Louis in 1992 when the team was bought out by Missouri native Jame Orthwein.
This did not happen though, as the owner of Foxboro Stadium- Robert Kraft- turned down this plan and purchased the franchise from Orthwein two years after.
The Patriots also almost got relocated to Connecticut as well, back in 1998 when a businessman from Hartford- Connecticut- tried his luck by offering the aforementioned Robert Kraft a fancy new publicly financed stadium for the Patriots to play in.
This deal ultimately fell through though as Bay State secured the Patriots with a massive $72 million deal.
This money was then used to create the Gillette Stadium, which is now known as the official home of The New England Patriots.
The New England Patriots have had their fair share of noteworthy achievements during their time, so let’s take a look at a few.
- That aforementioned pre-season AFL game win back in 1960 against Buffalo Bills.
- Their first Super Bowl appearance in the 1985 NFL playoffs.
- The first team in league history to get to the Super Bowl by winning three of their playoff games whilst on the road.
- The longest winning streak in the history of pro football, claiming 21 postseason and straight regular wins from 2003 and 2004, establishing an NFL record.
- The team holds the record for the most wins at the Super Bowl, tying with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six wins.
- The Patriots also have the record for the most appearances at the Super Bowl appearances, competing 11 times throughout their career. The closest rivals to this record include the Dallas Cowboys, the Denver Broncos, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, all of whom hold eight appearances.
- The team also has a somewhat less impressive record for the most losses at the Super Bowl too, losing five times. However, they aren’t the only ones to hold this record! It is one that they share with the Denver Broncos.
- They tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the record of the most playoff wins.
- When it comes to these playoff wins, the team broke their own NFL record of playoff wins within a decade. Their record of 14 wins from the 2000s was broken in the 2010s by themselves with 15 wins.
The New England Patriots Dynasty/ The Brady-Belichick Era
The Brady- Belichick era is a noteworthy achievement in itself, referencing the seasons between 2001 and 2019 wherein quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick were in their prime and considered to be the greatest in their roles.
They are often thought to be the reason behind the major success of the New England Patriots during those years, which is often thought to be the most dominant legacy in American football history.
In fact, many of those achievements that we talked about above were achieved during this era.
The legacy of Brady and Belichick doesn’t stop there though, with their efforts creating a culture that has been dubbed the “Patriot Way”, which focuses on admirable qualities within a sporting team such as the importance of teamwork, personal accountability, continuous and consistent improvement and the need to put the team above personal gains.
Some of the achievements earned by the New England Patriots during the Brady-Belichick era include the following:
- 17 division titles, 11 of which were consecutive between the years of 2009 to 2019
- The only undefeated 16-game regular season, which happened in 2007
- 19 consecutive winning seasons
- Gained their tied league record (6 tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers)
- Played in nine Super Bowls during their career, which is more than any other franchise within the NFL.
- Appeared in half of the Super Bowls that were played during the 18 seasons that Tom Brady played as the primary started.
- Won two-thirds of these seasons.
- Tom Brady holds the record for the most appearances and victories by a player in the Super Bowl. He also holds the records for the most regular season wins- with 230-, most career wins- with 264- most playoff wins- 34- and Super Bowl MVP rewards, with an impressive five MVP awards in his time with the New England Patriots.
- Bill Belichick also holds various records, including the most appearances and victories in the Super Bowl for a head coach. Much like Brady, Belichick also has an incredibly impressive array of records to his name, such as the most playoff wins by a head coach with 31 wins.
Although the era of Brady and Belichick has come to an end- ending in 2020 when Brady left the New England Patriots to become a free agent for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-, their legacy is sure to be remembered in the sporting world for decades to come.
So there you have everything that you need to know about the New England Patriots!
From their beginnings and history to their achievements and broken records, as well as the Golden Age of the Patriots with the sports dynasty that was the Brady-Belichick era.
Whilst the team may have passed what was considered its heyday, they are still a formidable team that- despite its general lack of success prior to the 21st century- went on to become a powerhouse in the NFL.
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