The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats" by sports writers and fans, are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts. The team is part of the Eastern Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team changed its name from the original Boston Patriots after relocating the team to Foxborough in 1971, although Foxborough is a suburb of Boston, 22miles away.
An original member of the American Football League (AFL), the Patriots joined the NFL in the 1970 merger of those leagues. The team advanced to the playoffs four times before appearing in Super Bowl XX in January 1986, losing to the Chicago Bears. The team also appeared in Super Bowl XXXI in January 1997, losing to the Green Bay Packers.
Between 2001 and 2005, the Patriots became the second team in NFL history (after the Dallas Cowboys) to win three Super Bowls in four years (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX), and the eighth to win consecutive Super Bowls. The Patriots, however, were defeated by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, after winning the first 18 games of their 2007 season. Under quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have also compiled the two longest winning streaks in NFL history, an 18-game streak in 2003-2004, and a 21-game streak in 2006-2008 (the NFL excludes playoff games from their records).
See also: New England Patriots strategy. On November 16, 1959, Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing American Football League (AFL). The following winter, locals were allowed to submit ideas for the Boston football team's official name. The most popular choice—and the one that Sullivan selected—was "Boston Patriots". Immediately thereafter, Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell developed the "Pat Patriot" logo.
The Patriots time in the AFL saw them struggle most years as they never had a regular home stadium. Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, and Alumni Stadium all served as home fields during their time in the American Football League. They did play in one AFL championship game, following the 1963 season. They lost to the San Diego Chargers 51–10. They would not appear again in an AFL or NFL post-season game for another 13 years.
When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the AFC East division, where they still play today. The following year, the Patriots moved to a new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which would serve as their home for 30 years. As a result of the move, they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the New England Patriots. During the 1970s, the Patriots had some success, earning a berth to the playoffs in 1976 - as a wild card-team - and in 1978 - as AFC East champions. They lost in the first round both times. In 1985, they returned to the playoffs, and made it all the way to Super Bowl XX, which they lost to the Chicago Bears 46 - 10. Following their Super Bowl loss, they returned to the playoffs in 1986, but lost in the first round. The team would not make the playoffs again for eight more years. They changed ownership three times, being purchased from the Sullivan family first by Victor Kiam in 1988, who sold the team to James Orthwein in 1992. Orthwein intended to move the team to his native St. Louis, Missouri, but sold the team two years later to current owner Robert Kraft in 1994.
Though Orthwein's period as owner was short and controversial, he did oversee major changes to the team. Former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells was hired in 1993, and the drastic changes were made the same year to the Patriots uniforms, changing their primary colors from their traditional red and white to blue and silver, and introducing a new logo. Parcells would bring the Patriots to two playoff appearances, including Super Bowl XXXI, which they lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 35–21. Pete Carroll, Parcells's successor, would also take the team to the playoffs twice. The Patriots current coach, Bill Belichick, was hired in 2000, and a new home field, Gillette Stadium was opened in 2002. Under Belichick, the team won three Super Bowls in four years, and finished the 2007 regular season with a perfect 16–0 record, becoming only the fifth team in league history to go undefeated in the regular season, and the only one since the league expanded its regular season schedule to 16 games. After advancing to Super Bowl XLII, the team's fourth Super Bowl in seven years, the Patriots were defeated by the Giants to end their bid for a 19–0 season. With the loss, the Patriots ended the year at 18–1, becoming only one of three teams to go 18–1 along with the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears. Those teams, however, won the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots feature 13 former players in their team hall of fame, established in 1991. A committee of media and staff selected 11 players for enshrinement between 1991 and 2001, before a six-year span of no selections. In 2007, in advance of the 2008 opening of the Hall at Patriot Place, the Patriots introduced a new nomination committee to select three candidates, with the winner of an internet fan vote being enshrined in the hall of fame.
1991 #73 John Hannah, G, 1973 - 85
1992 #85 Nick Buoniconti, LB, 1962 - 68
1992 #20 Gino Cappelletti, K/WR, 1960 - 70
1993 #89 Bob Dee, DL, 1960 - 67
1993 #79 Jim Lee Hunt, DL, 1960 - 71
1993 #57 Steve Nelson, LB, 1974 - 87
1993 #15 Babe Parilli, QB, 1961 - 67
1994 #40 Mike Haynes, CB, 1976 - 82
1995 #14 Steve Grogan, QB, 1975 - 90
1999 #56 Andre Tippett, LB, 1982 - 93|-2000s
2001 #78 Bruce Armstrong, OT, 1987 - 2000
2007 #86 Stanley Morgan, WR, 1977 - 89
2008 #87 Ben Coates, TE, 1991 - 99
See main article: List of New England Patriots first-round draft picks.
|2000||No first-round draft pick|||
|2003||13||Ty Warren||DT||Texas A&M|||
|2004||21||Vince Wilfork||DT||Miami (FL)|||
|2005||32||Logan Mankins||OG||Fresno State|
|2007||24||Brandon Meriweather||S||Miami (FL)|||
See main article: List of New England Patriots head coaches.
During each game, about 10 men dressed as minutemen line the back of each end zone. When the Patriots score a touchdown or field goal, the militia behind the opposite end zone fire a round of blanks from flintlock muskets. After the point-after-touchdown (PAT) attempt, the men fire their guns to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. ESPN named this one of the top ten celebrations in the league in 2007.
As of 2007, the Patriots' flagship radio station is WBCN 104.1FM, owned by CBS Radio. The larger radio network is called the "Patriots Rock Radio Network", whose 35 affiliate stations span 7 states. Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti are the longtime announcing team.
Any preseason games not on national television are shown on ABC affiliate WCVB. Don Criqui has been the play-by-play announcer the last several years, with Randy Cross as a color commentator and Mike Lynch as a sideline reporter.
Former Patriots preseason announcers include Don Gillis (1972-1973), Len Berman (1974-1978), Roger Twibell (1979-1981), Jim Kelly (1983), Bob Lobel (1985-1991 & 1994), Bob Neumeier (1991 & 1994), Mike Crispino (1992), Michael Barkann (1993), Jim Nance (1977-1979), Tim Mazzetti (1983), Gino Cappelletti (1985), Reggie Rucker (1986), Sam Rutigliano (1987-1988), Jon Morris (1989), Steve Grogan (1991-1993), Tim Fox (1991-1993), and Jerry Glanville (1995-2002).
|Years||Flagship station||Play-by-Play||Color Commentator|
|1960–64||590 WEEI||Bob Gallagher||Fred Cusick|
|1965||590 WEEI||Ned Martin||Fred Cusick|
|1966–71||1030 WBZ||Bob Starr||Gil Santos|
|1972–77||1030 WBZ||Gil Santos||Gino Cappelletti|
|1978–79||1030 WBZ||Gil Santos||Jon Morris|
|1980–86||850 WHDH||John Carlson||Jon Morris|
|1987||850 WHDH||Curt Gowdy||Jon Morris|
|1988–90||590 WEEI||Dale Arnold||Gino Cappelletti|
|1991–1995||1030 WBZ||Gil Santos||Gino Cappelletti|
|1995–present||104.1 WBCN||Gil Santos||Gino Cappelletti|