New England Patriots Information
On November 16, 1959, Boston executive William "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", which derived from the historical Patriots of the American Revolution. Afterward, Phil Bisell developed the "Pat Patriot" logo (see section). Immediately thereafter, Lou Saban was selected as Patriots' first head coach.
The franchise's first training camp started on July 4, 1960, two months prior to their first official game. On September 9, 1960, the Boston Patriots played the Denver Broncos in the first-ever AFL regular season game. The Broncos defeated the Patriots by a score of 13–10. In their first three seasons, the Patriots posted a cumulative record of 23–17, though they failed to reach the playoffs in all three years. However, in 1963 the Patriots reached the AFL Championship for the first time, which resulted in a loss to the San Diego Chargers 51–10. Although the franchise lost the championship, it was honored when eleven Patriots made the AFL All-star team, including Gino Cappelletti, Nick Buoniconti, and Babe Parilli.
The Patriots were unsuccessful in reaching the AFL playoffs for the remainder of the decade. Nevertheless, fullback Jim Nance developed into an offensive weapon for the Patriots, gaining 1,458 yards in 1966, when he was the American Football League's MVP. Moreover, Tom Addison, the first Patriot All-star, founded the AFL Players Association in the mid 1960's.
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In 1970, the Patriots' franchise joined the NFL pursuant to the merger of the AFL and NFL that had been agreed to three years earlier. The Patriots were merged into the American Football Conference (AFC), where they remain to the present day. However, the Patriots' first season as part of the NFL resulted in a record of 2–12, sole possession of the newly merged league's worst record.
In 1971, after shifting between four different Boston-area stadiums in their first 11 seasons, the Patriots moved into a new stadium in Foxborough (also known as Foxboro). The stadium, to be known as Schaefer Stadium, would become Sullivan Stadium in 1983 and, ultimately, Foxboro Stadium in 1990. In March 1971 the team was renamed the "New England Patriots" in order to reflect the fact that the team was now located outside of the Boston city limits.
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Chuck Fairbanks was hired as head coach in 1973. The Patriots finished 7–7 in 1974 and 3–11 in 1975, which resulted in offensive changes. Plunkett was traded to the San Francisco 49ers and replaced by second year player Steve Grogan. Grogan and Fairbanks found success in 1976 when the Patriots finished 11–3—the best record in team history to that point—and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1963. Despite the successful season, the Patriots lost to the Oakland Raiders 24–21 in the first round of the playoffs. The following year, Fairbanks was fired as head coach and replaced by Ron Erhardt, who, in turn, was followed by Ron Meyer in 1981. From 1977 to 1984, the Patriots missed the playoffs six times; the 1978 and 1982 seasons both resulted in first round playoff losses. Looking to improve leadership, the Sullivans replaced head coach Ron Meyer with former wide receiver Raymond Berry in 1984.
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President George W. Bush poses with the New England Patriots during a ceremony honoring the 2004 Super Bowl Champions in the Rose GardenAfter Carroll was fired, Bill Belichick, hand-picked to be Parcells' successor with the Jets, quit after one day to join New England. In 2000, Belichick's first season resulted in a 5–11 record. In 2001 Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured early in the season. He was replaced by Tom Brady, who led the team into the playoffs with an 11–5 record. The Patriots defeated the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI, where they defeated the St. Louis Rams on a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal. In New England's first Super Bowl victory, Brady was selected Super Bowl MVP. Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills in the 2002 off-season.
In 2002 Robert Kraft opened the new Gillette Stadium. Robert Kraft funded the construction of the stadium through his own private finances, without calling on money from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The stadium was built with state-of-the-art technology, and is widely considered to be one of the premier stadiums in NFL Football.  That season, the Patriots missed the playoffs after finishing with a record of 9–7. In 2003 the Patriots started 2–2 but finished with a 14–2 record and fourteen straight wins on their way to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers. The Patriots won by a score of 32–29; the final three points came from another Adam Vinatieri field goal. Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the second time.
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Patriot fans rally in front of Boston City Hall following the 2004 championshipIn 2004 the Patriots broke the all-time winning streak record of 18 wins following a victory against the Miami Dolphins. Later in the season, the Patriots lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which halted their winning streak at 21 games. After finishing the season with a 14–2 record, the Patriots defeated the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers en route to Super Bowl XXXIX. The Patriots went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles by a score of 24–21, thus becoming the first team in six years (and the eighth in history) to repeat as NFL Super Bowl champions, and only the second team ever to win three Super Bowls in four years (the Dallas Cowboys did it in the years 1992-95).
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After the 2004 season, Belichick's top two coordinators—Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel—left the team to pursue head coaching jobs. Significant players moved on as well, including longtime Patriot cornerback Ty Law. Linebacker Tedy Bruschi missed half of the 2005 season while recovering from a mild stroke. During the 2005 season, the team lost several starters to injuries, including safety Rodney Harrison and offensive tackle Matt Light. In the final game of the season, Doug Flutie performed the first successful dropkick extra point since 1941. At the end of the season, the Patriots won the AFC East with a 10–6 record. The Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 28–3 in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the Denver Broncos 27-13. The New England Patriots became the seventh team in NFL history to fail on a chance to win the Super Bowl in three consecutive seasons—the last team to do so being the Broncos.
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During the 2006 off-season, defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was hired by the New York Jets to be their head coach. His spot would later be taken over by Dean Pees, who had been linebacker coach for the club the past two years. QB coach Josh McDaniels was promoted to offensive coordinator after New England went one season without replacing Charlie Weis. Notable Patriots such as David Givens and Willie McGinest left New England for the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns respectively. In March, kicker Adam Vinatieri left the team to join the Indianapolis Colts.
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The Kraft years have provided a major turnaround for the fan base of the Patriots. Prior to Kraft’s arrival, the Patriots rarely played at Foxboro Stadium’s maximum capacity (with the only exception being the highly successful 1986 season). The attendance was particularly low during the early 1990s, when poor performance and the aforementioned rumors of franchise relocation to St. Louis loomed; the average home attendance was below 60% of maximum capacity. However, the improvements made during Bill Parcells' coaching tenure (both on and off the field) resulted in a rejuvenation of the fan base. From the 1996 season onward, every Patriots home game sold out, both at Foxboro and Gillette stadiums.
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In 1993, changes to the Patriots' uniforms and logo were rolled out by brief Patriots owner James B. Orthwein.The old "Pat Patriot" logo was retired and replaced with a stylized Patriot head in silhouette wearing a red-white-and-blue tricorn hat, designed in tandem with NFL Properties that fans and sports officials would eventually nickname the "Flying Elvis".The team's uniforms were changed from red to "Patriot" (dark) blue, and both the helmets and pants from white to silver