New England Patriots

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The New England Patriots are one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Formed in 1959 by Boston businessman, Billy Sullivan, they initially competed in the American Football League before it was merged with the National Football League. The team were known as the Boston Patriots for the first few years of their existence finally becoming the New England Patriots when they finally relocated to Foxborough.

The New England Patriots are one of the NFL’s most valuable franchises and this is no doubt down to their continued success especially in recent years, making the playoffs 14 times in the last 15 years, as well as winning four Super Bowls in this period.

Fast Facts

  • Full Name: New England Patriots
  • Conference: American Football Conference
  • Division: East
  • Location: Foxborough, Massachusetts
  • Stadium Name: Gillette Stadium
  • Year Established: 1959
  • Owner: Robert Kraft
  • Head Coach: Bill Belichick
  • Manager: Bill Belichick
  • Nickname: The Pats
  • Mascot: Pat Patriot
  • Team Colours: Navy blue, red, silver, white

History

The Team’s Mascot, Pat Patriot

The Team’s Mascot, Pat Patriot

(Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com)

The New England Patriots were formed on November 16, 1959 when Boston business man, Billy Sullivan, was awarded the final franchise in the American Football League and were named the Boston Patriots following a newspaper competition to give the team a name. Despite posting a winning record in their second season and appearing in the AFL championship game in their fourth, the early years for the Patriots were initially disappointing. It didn’t help that the franchise struggled to find a permanent stadium, the team having to play at four different venues in the Boston area in their first ten years. Finally, following the AFL-NFL merger, the Patriots relocated to Foxborough and were named the New England Patriots.

The 1970s saw sporadic success for the Patriots. They had some fantastic players, such as John Hannah, the offensive lineman, Mike Hayes, the cornerback, and quarterback, Steve Grogan. They managed to make their first Super Bowl appearance in 1986 but, sadly, lost to an in-form Chicago Bears team 46-10. It would be 11 years till the Patriots would grace the Super Bowl again – this time coached by Bill Parcells and with star quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. Once again losing (this time to the Green Bay Packers) it marked an upturn in form and they reached the playoffs in 1996, 1997 and 1998, then a franchise record.

2000 saw the Patriots make a key appointment – Bill Belichick as head coach. He immediately began to build a team that was full of veteran free agents and clever draft picks. Belichick's appointment was inspirational and the New England Patriots have gone on to become one of the best ever NFL teams under his direction. In the last 15 years, the Patriots have failed to make the playoffs just once as well as winning conference championships in 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2014. Most importantly, however, they have won four Super Bowls in this time, in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014.

Super Bowl Appearances

2014 Super Bowl XLIX New England Patriots 28 - Seattle Seahawks 24

The New England Patriot’s latest appearance at the Super Bowl saw them take on the Seattle Seahawks on February 1st, 2015 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Watched by just over 70,000 spectators and 114 million viewers, the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in a close game that went to the wire. The National Anthem before the game was sung by Frozen’s, Idina Menzel, and the halftime show featured Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliot and Katy Perry.

2011 Super Bowl XLVI New York Giants 21 - New England Patriots 17

Played at the Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis on February 5, 2012, Super Bowl XLVI saw the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants following a National Anthem by Kelly Clarkson and a coin toss by John Parry. A rematch of Super Bowl XLII, it once again saw the Giants defeat the Patriots, this time by 21-17, which was an unexpected result, as the Giants came into the game with just a 56% win percentage. The game was watched by 68,658 people in the stadium and over 166 million TV viewers.

2007 Super Bowl XLII New York Giants 17 - New England Patriots 14

Commonly regarded as one of the biggest upsets in sports history as it saw the New England Patriots defeated after scoring a perfect regular season, the first since the Miami Dolphins achieved it in 1972. The New York Giants took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter but the Patriots took the lead 7-3 in the second quarter, maintaining this in the third quarter. However, despite the Patriots adding another seven points to their tally, the Giants scored 14, resulting in a final score of 17-14 to the Giants. Played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on February 3, 2008, it was watched by 71,101 people in the stadium and over 97 million viewers on TV.

2004 Super Bowl XXXIX New England Patriots 24 - Philadelphia Eagles 21

The Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida was the host of Super Bowl XXXIX which saw the Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles on February 6, 2006. A close game, the deadlock was only broken in the fourth quarter where the Patriots finally outscored the Eagles winning 24-21 with Deion Branch, New England’s Wide Receiver being named the Most Valuable Player. The game was watched by 78,125 people with an estimated 86 million watching on TV.

2003 Super Bowl XXXVIII Carolina Panthers 29 - New England Patriots 32

February 1, 2004 was the date of Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was played at the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas against the Carolina Panthers. Widely thought of by sports writers and fans alike as one of the best played and most exciting Super Bowls, it saw the Patriots claim their second Super Bowl title in three years. Watched by 71,000 stadium spectators and just under 90 million TV viewers, Beyoncé had the honour of singing the National Anthem and the halftime show featured Janet Jackson and her controversial ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

2001 Super Bowl XXXVI St Louis Rams 17 - New England Patriots 20

Super Bowl XXXVI saw the Patriots take on the St Louis Rams at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Watched by 72,922 people in the Superdome and over 86 million viewers at home, it saw the Patriots defeat the then St Louis Rams by 20-17. It was an unusual game in that the Rams outgained the Patriots by 427-267 in total yards but the Patriots were deserved winners in the end with Tom Brady being named Most Valuable Player.

1996 Super Bowl XXXI New England Patriots 21 - Green Bay Packers 35

Super Bowl XXXI was played between the Patriots and the Green Bay Packers at the Louisana Superdome in New Orleans on January 26, 1997. Despite running up a 14-10 first quarter lead, the Green Bay Packers soon overtook the Patriots in the second quarter and held and extended their lead in the third, finishing the game 35-21 winners. Fans were treated to the National Anthem by Luther Vandross, a halftime show by James Brown and the Blues Brothers, whilst the coin toss was performed by a plethora of past Super Bowl winning coaches.

1986 Super Bowl XX Chicago Bears 46 - New England Patriots 10

Played on January 26, 1986 at the Louisana Superdome, Superdome XX was the debut of the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was also the debut of the Chicago Bears. It was a record breaking game in several respects, but sadly not in a good way for the Patriots. The Bears set records for sacks (seven), fewest rushing yards allowed (seven), as well as the margin of victory (36 points).The game was watched by over 92 million people on NBC and as it was the twentieth Super Bowl and all previous MVPs (Most Valuable Players) were honoured.

Stadium

Gillette Stadium

Gillette Stadium (littleny / Shutterstock.com)

The New England Patriots play all of their home games at the Gillette Stadium, which is based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Opened in 2002, it was built to replace the old Foxboro Stadium. As well as functioning as the home stadium and headquarters for the New England Patriots, it is also the home stadium for Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution and the football program of the University of Massachusetts.

The Gillette Stadium was originally known as the CMGI Field before the naming rights were bought by Gillette and this deal remains until 2031. The capacity of the stadium is 68,756, which includes 600 club seats and 87 luxury suites. It is owned and operated by the Kraft SPorts Group, which is owned by Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots.

Famous Players

Tom Brady (2000 - Present)

Tom Brady hasn’t just got a strong case for being the best New England Patriot player of all-time, he’s got a strong case for being the best quarterback of all-time. He has three Super Bowl wins to his name, a perfect regular season, a record breaking 50 touchdown passes in a single season, as well as a career rating of 93.5. There is no doubt that the Patriots would not be the team they are today without Brady.

John Hannah (1973-1985)

John Hannah is undoubtedly one of the best defensive linemen of all-time and one of the best ever players to play for the New England Patriots. Named to nine Pro Bowls, it is unlikely that the NFL will ever see a lineman with the skills of John Hannah.

Andre Tippett (1982-1993)

Franchise leader in sacks and fumble recoveries, Andre Tippett was inducted into the Pro Hall of Fame in 2008. Playing a total of eleven seasons for the Patriots, he made five straight Pro Bowls. The best playmaker, pass rusher and defensive presence in the team’s history.

Did You Know?

  • Before the Patriots, Massachusetts had pro football with both the Boston Bulldogs and the Boston Redskins (who are now based in Washington D.C).
  • Between 1960 and 1971, the Patriots had four different home grounds, including Nickerson Field, Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium, and Boston College’s Alumni Stadium.
  • When the Patriots left for Foxborough in 1971, they were initially renamed the Bay State Patriots. However, this was quickly reversed when it was realised the abbreviation would be ‘The B.S. Patriots’.
  • According to Game of Thrones creator, George R.R. Martin, the New England Patriots are the NFL’s Lannisters.