The New England Patriots are members of the NFL’s American Football Conference and play in the East Division. The team is located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is approximately 20 miles from the City of Boston.
The franchise, which was created in 1959, was part of the American Football League (AFL). Originally, the team was headquartered in Boston and was known as the Boston Patriots. They first played at Nickerson Field (1960- 1962). They also called Fenway Park (1963- 1968), Alumni Stadium (1969) and Harvard Stadium (1970) home until moving to Foxborough in 1971. At that time, they were renamed the New England Patriots.
From 1971- 2001, the club played at Foxborough Stadium, which was also named at various times Schaefer Stadium and Sullivan Stadium. Since 2002, they have called Gillette Stadium, which is also in Foxborough, home.
Billy Sullivan was awarded the original franchise. It was one of eight teams created for the new league—the rival AFL. The Patriots competed in the league’s East Division and when the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, they became part of the AFC’s East Division.
The Patriots, also known as the Pats, struggled for 25 years before winning a conference championship, although they did win numerous division titles including the AFL East in 1963 and the AFC East in 1978. In 1985, they won their first conference title. In total they have earned 11 division, six conference and four Super Bowl championships.
In 1985, they appeared in Super Bowl XX, the team’s first ever, where they were annihilated by the Chicago Bears 46- 10. The team also lost Super Bowl XXXI by a score of 35- 21 to the Green Bay Packers.
Robert Kraft bought New England in 1994, which marked a new start for the Patriots. Kraft inherited head coach Bill Parcells. When Parcells left, Pete Carroll was hired as head coach in 1997. Although Carroll got the team to the playoffs twice, he was fired and Kraft chose Bill Belichick as head coach.
Under Belichick, the Patriots have won Super Bowl Championships in 2001 (XXXVI), 2003 (XXXVIII and 2004 (XXXIX). They have also earned four conference and six division titles. In 2007, they did something no NFL team has ever done by winning all 16 of their regular season games. The Patriots were stunned in the 2007 Super Bowl when the New York Giants upset them 17- 14.
Hall of Fame players that have worn the Patriot uniform include linebacker Nick Buoniconti (1962- 1968), guard John Hannah (1973- 1985) and linebacker Andre Tippett (1982- 1993). Buoniconti, who also played with Miami from 1969-1976, was a six-time AFL All Star and was selected to the Pro Bowl twice. Hannah, who started in 183 games and recovered 10 fumbles, was All-Pro 11 years and selected to the Pro Bowl nine times. Tippett, who recorded 100 sacks in 151 games, was a five-time All-Pro and Pro Bowler.
The Patriots present QB, Tom Brady, is considered to be one of the best in the game and Belichick, despite recent controversy concerning some of his game preparation tactics, is thought to have one of the finest football minds around.