New England Patriots
New England Patriots Football
Commonly known as “The Pats,” the New England Patriots are an NFL team located in the AFC East (along with the Jets, Dolphins and Bills). Their home games are played in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The team was originally known as the Boston Patriots, but the name was changed in 1971 after relocating to Foxborough.
The Patriots have appeared in six Super Bowl games. While they lost in their first two attempts (to the Chicago Bears in 1986 and Green Bay Packers in 1997), they would later win three Super Bowls in four years (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII and XXXIX). Their most recent appearance was a loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
New England Patriots Football History
The team was started in 1959 after businessman Billy Sullivan was awarded an AFL franchise. The following year, local residents were asked to submit ideas for the team’s name. The most popular submission was “Boston Patriots“.
Lacking a permanent home field, the Pats struggled during their AFL years. While they made it to an AFL championship game in 1963, they would not appear in the postseason for another 13 years.
After the NFL/AFL merger, the Patriots moved to a new stadium in Foxborough. Heisman Trophy winner Jim Plunkett was drafted as their new quarterback, and players like running back Sam Cunningham and guard John Hannah were later added. They made the playoffs in 1976 and 1978, but wouldn’t make another appearance until 1985.
The Snow Plow Game
In 1982, the team was involved in the infamous “Snow Plow” game. Played in the midst of a snowstorm, the Pats battled the Dolphins to a 0-0 tie late in the fourth quarter. As the Patriots prepared to try for a field goal, a convict on work release drove a John Deere tractor onto the field and cleared an area of snow to help his team. The Patriots made the field goal and went on to win the game 3-0.
Superbowl XX Loss
In 1985, they advanced to Super Bowl XX and were crushed 46-10 by the Chicago Bears. They returned to the playoffs the following year, but were eliminated in the first round. In the 1980′s, the Patriots were led by quarterbacks like Steve Grogan and Tony Eason.
The Big Tuna
Bill Parcells was hired as the head coach in 1993, and he took the team to two playoffs appearance and a Super Bowl (where they lost 35-21 to the Packers). During this time, the team boasted such talent as Drew Bledsoe, Curtis Martin, Terry Glenn, Lawyer Milloy, Ty Law, Ben Coates, Willie McGinest and Chris Slade. Following Parcells, coach Pete Carroll took the team to two more playoff appearances.
Bill Belichick was hired away from the Jets in 2000, but the team was forced to give up a first round draft pick as compensation. The team went 5-11 in his first season as head coach.
In 2001, Drew Bledsoe was knocked out of a game against the Jets and had to be taken to the hospital. Backup QB Tom Brady filled in, winning three of his first four starts. When Bledsoe was ready to return from his injury, Belichick announced that Brady would continue as quarterback. The team finished the season at 11-5, winning the AFC East in the process.
In the playoffs, the Pats hosted the Oakland Raiders in what would later be known as “The Tuck Game.” It was given this name because an apparent Brady fumble was ruled an incomplete pass due to the little-used tuck rule. The Patriots retained possession and eventually scored on the drive, sending the game to overtime. New England won the coin toss and finished off their opponents. A few weeks later, they would win their first Super Bowl in the team’s 42nd season.
The Patriots have seen their greatest success under Belichick, winning three Super Bowls and going undefeated during the 2007 regular season. Tom Brady and Randy Moss also set NFL records during the 2007 campaign (most touchdown passes and most touchdown receptions).
Patriots Team Logo
The team logo for the NFL New England Patriots was originally a Revolutionary War tricorne hat. This was replaced halfway through the team’s first season with a minuteman snapping a football. This image would come to be known as “Pat Patriot.”
In 1993, the logo underwent another change, and Pat Patriot was replaced by the silhouette of a Patriot’s head wearing a tricorne hat. This symbol was nicknamed the “Flying Elvis” by many New England fans.
New England Patriots Hall of Famers
The following Patriots’ players have been inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame: linebacker Nick Buononcini (2001), guard John Hannah (1991), cornerback Mike Haynes (1997) and linebacker Andre Tippett (2008).
Patriots Retired Jerseys
The following players have had their numbers retired by the New England Patriots organization: receiver Gino Cappelleti (20), cornerback Mike Haynes (40), linebacker Steve Nelson (57), guard John Hannah (73), tackle Bruce Armstrong (78), defensive lineman Jim Lee Hunt (79) and defensive lineman Bob Dee (89).
The Patriots Endzone Militia
During Patriot games, each end zone is lined with around 10 men dressed as Revolutionary-era minutemen. Whenever a touchdown or field goal is scored by the Patriots, the men on the opposite end of the field will fire off a round of blanks from their replica flintlock muskets. After an extra point is made, they will fire their guns to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.
New England Patriots’ Current Stars
The following men are currently some of the most recognizable and cheered-for players on the Patriots’ roster:
- Tom Brady (QB)
- Laurence Maroney (RB)
- Randy Moss (WR)
- Wes Welker (WR)
- Benjamin Watson (TE)
- Richard Seymour (DL)
- Tedy Bruschi (LB)
- Larry Izzo (LB)
- Adalius Thomas (LB)
- Mike Vrabel (LB)
- Rodney Harrison.(SS)
- Jerod Mayo (LB)