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The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats", are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East 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 to Foxborough in 1971, although Foxborough is a suburb of Boston, 22 miles (35 km) 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.

In the 2000s the Patriots became one of the most successful teams in NFL history. They are currently tied for second with 6 appearances in a Super Bowl, and have the most appearances in the last 25 years. Between 2001–2010, the Patriots set a record for most wins in a decade (126, different from conventionally bounded decades, 2000–2009, 1990–1999, etc; this record references any 10 year stretch; 2nd is the 1984–1993 San Francisco 49ers, with 120 wins). 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 (and as of the present time, the last team to date) 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 longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history, a 21-game streak from October 2003–October 2004.

ContentsEdit

[hide]*1 Contents

ContentsEditEdit

[hide] *1 Franchise history

Franchise historyEditEdit

Main article: History of the New England Patriots[1][2]"Pat Patriot" logo, used through 1992.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.[1]

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.[1]

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 announced they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots. The name was rejected by the NFL and on March 23, 1971, the team officially announced they would become 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. During the 1990 season, the Patriots went 1-15. 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.[1]

Though Orthwein's period as owner was short and controversial, he did oversee major changes to the team, first with the hiring of former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells in 1993. Also a change was made that 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.[2] 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 in 1997 & 1998 before being dismissed as head coach after the 1999 season.[1]

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.[1] 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.

Season-by-season recordsEditEdit

This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Patriots. For the full season-by-season franchise results, see List of New England Patriots seasons.
Super Bowl Champions (2001–present) Conference Champions Division Champions Wild Card Berth
Season Team League Conference Division Regular Season Post Season Results Awards
Finish Won Lost Ties
2006 2006 NFL AFC East § 1st § 12 4 0 Won Wild Card Playoffs (Jets) 37–16
Won Divisional Playoffs (Chargers) 24–21
Lost Conference Championship (Colts) 38–34
2007 2007 NFL AFC * East § 1st § 16 0 0 Won Divisional Playoffs (Jaguars) 31–20
Won Conference Championship (Chargers) 21–12
Lost Super Bowl XLII (Giants) 17–14
Bill Belichick (NFL COY)[3]Tom Brady (NFL MVP)[4] Tom Brady (NFL Off. POTY)[5]
2008 2008 NFL AFC East 2nd[k] 11 5 0 Jerod Mayo (Def. ROY)[6]
2009 2009 NFL AFC East § 1st § 10 6 0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Ravens) 33–14 Tom Brady (CBPOY)[7]
2010 2010 NFL AFC East § 1st § 14 2 0 Lost Divisional Playoffs (Jets) 28–21 Bill Belichick (NFL COY)[3]Tom Brady (NFL MVP)[8] Tom Brady (NFL Off. POTY)[9]
Total 401 362 9 (1960–2010, includes only regular season)
21 15 (1960–2010,[l] includes only playoffs)[10]
422 377 9 (1960–2010, includes both regular season and playoffs)

RecordsEditEdit

All-Time Patriots Leaders
Leader Player Record Number Years on Patriots
Passing Tom Brady 36,907 passing yards 2000–present
Rushing Sam Cunningham 5,453 rushing yards 1973–1982
Receiving Stanley Morgan 10,352 receiving yards 1977–1989
Coaching Wins Bill Belichick 131 wins 2000–present

RivalriesEditEdit

Main articles: Jets–Patriots rivalry and Colts–Patriots rivalry[3][4]Super Bowl banners at Gillette StadiumThe Patriots have maintained a rivalry with the New York Jets, who have also been members of the AFC East since its inception in 1970. Prior to that, both teams competed in the American Football League since both teams' foundings in 1960. The rivalry between the Jets and Patriots has escalated since 1996, when Patriots head coach Bill Parcells left the Patriots under controversy to become the head coach of the Jets. Four years later, Parcells' assistant, Bill Belichick, resigned the day he was named the Jets' head coach to become the head coach of the Patriots. Six years after that, Eric Mangini, an assistant under Belichick, became the head coach of the Jets.

Meanwhile, the rise of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the early 2000s led to an increased rivalry between Manning's Indianapolis Colts and Brady's Patriots. The teams met three times in four years (2003, 2004, 2006) in the playoffs, with the winner going on to win that season's Super Bowl each time.

StrategyEditEdit

Further information: New England Patriots strategyUnder head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have employed specific on-field and off-field strategies. On the field, the Patriots have typically utilized an "Erhardt-Perkins" offense and a "Fairbanks-Bullough" 3–4 defense, referred to commonly as a 2-gap 3–4 defensive system.[11] Their philosophy in making personnel decisions and in game planning has focused on the "team" concept,[12] stressing preparation, strong work ethic, versatility,[13] and lack of individual ego.[14] This approach, which led to three Super Bowl victories under Belichick, was analyzed in the 2004 book Patriot Reign.

When owner Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, he did so for $175 million. Since then, the Patriots have sold out every home game in both Foxboro Stadium and Gillette Stadium. By 2009, the value of the franchise had increased by over $1 billion, to a Forbes Magazine estimated value of $1.361 billion, third highest in the NFL.[15]

StadiumEditEdit

Main article: Gillette StadiumSince 2002, the Patriots' home stadium has been Gillette Stadium, a $350 million facility privately financed by Kraft. It houses all administrative offices for the team and its owning entity, The Kraft Group, as well as the Kraft-owned Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution. The field, which was originally natural grass, was replaced with a FieldTurf surface during the 2006 season. The area around the stadium was developed, beginning in 2007, into a $375 million "lifestyle and entertainment center" called Patriot Place.

Prior to 2002, the Patriots played in Foxboro Stadium dating back to 1971, the team's second year in the NFL after the AFL-NFL merger. During the team's days in the American Football League, the Boston Patriots were hosted by a number of fields in or around Boston.

Notable playersEditEdit

Main article: List of New England Patriots players===Current roster===

New England Patriots roster

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Quarterbacks

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen

Linebackers

Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Practice Squad

Rookies in italics Roster updated December 10, 2011 Depth ChartTransactions 53 Active, 11 Inactive, 7 Practice Squad

More rosters

Hall of Famers and retired numbersEditEdit

The New England Patriots feature 17 former players and one contributor 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.[16] In order to be eligible, players and coaches must be retired for at least four years.[17] Beginning in 2011 and meeting every five years, a senior selection committee has the option of voting a player who has been retired for at least 25 seasons into the hall of fame.[18]

Former owner Billy Sullivan was inducted by owner Robert Kraft in March 2009, the Patriots' 50th season, as a contributor.[19]

Additionally, four former Patriots players have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Patriots have officially retired seven uniform numbers.

New England Patriots Hall of Fame
Players
Number Name Positions Seasons Year elected Number Name Positions Seasons Year elected
73 John Hannah G 1973–1985 1991 (Pro: 1991) 56 Andre Tippett LB 1982–1993 1999 (Pro: 2008)
85 Nick Buoniconti LB 1962–1968 1992 (Pro: 2001) 78 Bruce Armstrong T 1987–2000 2001
20 Gino Cappelletti WR-K 1960–1970 1992 86 Stanley Morgan WR 1977–1989 2007
89 Bob Dee DL 1960–1967 1993 87 Ben Coates TE 1991–1999 2008
79 Jim Lee Hunt DL 1960–1971 1993 35 Jim Nance FB 1965–1971 2009
57 Steve Nelson LB 1974–1987 1993 39 Sam Cunningham RB 1973–1982 2010
15 Babe Parilli QB 1961–1967 1993 56 Jon Morris C 1964–1974 2011
40 Mike Haynes CB 1976–1982 1994 (Pro: 1997) 11 Drew Bledsoe QB 1993–2001 2011
14 Steve Grogan QB 1975–1990 1995
Contributors
Number Name Positions Seasons Year elected Number Name Positions Seasons Year elected
Billy Sullivan Owner & founder 1960–1988 2009
Also enshrined in Pro Football Hall of Fame
Uniform number officially retired by team

All-decade teamsEditEdit

1960s (AFL)EditEdit

In November 1971, fans voted on a 10-year Patriots anniversary team, which coincided with the team's 10 years in the then-defunct American Football League:[20] Additional selections for returner, special teamer, and coach were added in 2009:[21]

1970s, 1980s, 1990sEditEdit

In March 2009, as part of the Patriots' 50th anniversary, a group of local media and other team figures selected all-decade teams for the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s:[21]

2000sEditEdit

On March 16, 2010, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected an all-decade team for the 2000s:

Anniversary teamsEditEdit

35th anniversary (1994)EditEdit

In 1994, a group of local media selected a 35th anniversary team:[20]

50th anniversary (2009)EditEdit

In 2009, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected a 50th anniversary team:[20]

All-time first-round draft picksEditEdit

Main article: List of New England Patriots first-round draft picks==Coaches==

Head coachesEditEdit

Main article: List of New England Patriots head coaches===Current staff===

New England Patriots staff

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Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

Defensive Coaches

Special Teams Coaches

Strength and Conditioning

Coaching StaffManagementMore NFL staffs

Cheerleaders and mascotEditEdit

[16][17]The Patriots Cheerleaders performing a routine in 2007The Patriots NFL Cheerleaders are simply known as The Patriots Cheerleaders. In 2005, cheerleader Kristin Gauvin won Miss Massachusetts, in part from her local commitment with the Patriots.

The Patriots' mascot is Pat Patriot, a revolutionary minuteman wearing a Patriots home jersey.

During each game, about 10 men dressed as minutemen line the back of each end zone. When the Patriots score a touchdown, field goal or point-after-touchdown, the militia behind the opposite end zone fire a round of blanks from flintlock muskets. ESPN writer Josh Pahigian named this one of the top ten celebrations in the league in 2007.[22]

Radio and televisionEditEdit

Main article: List of New England Patriots broadcastersThe Patriots' flagship radio station is WBZ-FM 98.5 FM, owned by CBS Radio. The larger radio network is called the New England Patriots Radio Network, whose 37 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 CBS affiliate WBZ-TV. These games were broadcast on ABC affiliate WCVB-TV from 1995 until the change to WBZ in 2009. 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. Lynch was replaced by WBZ reporter Steve Burton in 2009.

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