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About the Patriots
The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area. The Patriots compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league’s American Football Conference (AFC) East division.
The team plays its home games at Gillette Stadium in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots are also headquartered at Gillette Stadium.
William Stephen Belichick serves as the head coach. His extensive authority over the Patriots’ football operations effectively makes him the general manager of the team as well.
He holds numerous coaching records, including winning a record six Super Bowls as head coach, and two more as defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches in NFL history by current and former players, his peers, and the press.
Belichick is the NFL’s longest-tenured active head coach, as well as the first all-time in playoff coaching wins with 31 and third in regular season coaching wins in the NFL with 261. He is one of only three head coaches who have won six NFL titles. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons.
Billy Sullivan Jr., a Boston businessman with a strong sports promotional background, secured an American Football League franchise on November 22, 1959. In keeping with the New England heritage, the nickname “Patriots” was selected by a panel of Boston sportswriters in a contest to name the team
During the Patriots’ first decade, finding a suitable playing home in the Boston area was almost as urgent as putting a competitive team on the field. The Patriots played at Boston University Field in 1960 and 1961 and at Harvard in 1962 and again in 1970.
From 1963 to 1969, the Patriots played at Fenway Park, the home of Red Sox baseball. In 1971, two significant events occurred; the team changed its name to New England Patriots and moved to a new 60,764-seat stadium in the town of Foxboro, about 25 miles south of Boston.
Mike Holovak, who replaced Lou Saban midway into the 1961 season compiled a 53-47-9 record. His best season came in 1963, when the Patriots defeated Buffalo 26-8 in a playoff for the AFL Eastern crown.
In recent years, Patriots ownership has changed often, from Sullivan to Victor K. Kiam II in 1988, to James B. Orthwein in 1992 and finally to Robert Kraft in 1994. With the highly-regarded veteran coach Bill Parcells in charge and the successful stockpiling of quality talent through the NFL draft, the Patriots won the AFC Championship in 1996 and earned a trip to their second Super Bowl.
The Patriots posted a winning record in their second season and advanced to the AFL championship game in their fourth. However, after a second place divisional finish in 1966, the team recorded seven consecutive losing seasons.
Led by John Hannah, considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, future Hall of Fame cornerback Mike Haynes, and quarterback Steve Grogan, the Patriots experienced sporadic success in the 1970s and ’80s. They advanced to their first Super Bowl in 1986 but lost to a dominant Chicago Bears team, 46–10.
Eleven years would pass before the Patriots would return to the Super Bowl, this time under the direction of coach Bill Parcells and led by quarterback Drew Bledsoe. New England lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Green Bay Packers, but their postseason appearance marked the beginning of three straight years of playoff football for the team, then a franchise record.
In 2017 the Patriots went 13–3 to win another division title en route to an NFL-record 10th Super Bowl appearance for the franchise. There the team lost a close contest to the Philadelphia Eagles, which gave New England five Super Bowl losses, the most in league history.
The Patriots juggernaut continued its dominance in 2018, easily winning another division title and earning the second seed in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots won a roller-coaster AFC championship game over the Kansas City Chiefs to qualify for a third straight Super Bowl. In that game, the lowest-scoring in Super Bowl history, New England defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13–3, to claim their sixth title, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl wins.
1. Tom Brady
Brady has played 17 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning five Super Bowls and taking his team to the game seven times. He nearly had a perfect season in 2007, going 16-0 in the regular season before losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl.
2. John Hannah
Yet another Hall of Famer from the New England Patriots is left guard John Hannah. He played his entire career with the Pats, from 1973–85. He was legitimately the best at his position during his time in the NFL, making nine Pro Bowls and seven First-Team All-Pro selections during his 13-year career.
3. Andre Tippett
He was drafted in 1982 and played until 1993, making the Pro Bowl five times and being a First-Team All Pro twice in his career.
Tippett finished his playing days with exactly 100 sacks, setting a Patriots record in 1984 with 18.5 sacks and following it up the next year with 16.5. Tippett helped lead the team to the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears in 1985. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.