One of the National Football League’s most celebrated franchises, the New England Patriots are once again atop the world of professional football. Love them or hate them, you at least have to respect their long record of success and roster of marquee players. Now Super Bowl champions yet again, the Patriots have only added to their allure. Here’s a quick look at their history and heritage over the years.
The New England Patriots were established in 1960 as part of the new American Football League, intended to compete with the older and more established National Football League. Originally known as the Boston Patriots, the team struggled in most of its time in the American Football League. They did manage tor each the championship game in 1963, only to be blown out by the San Diego Chargers.
As the American Football League merged with the National Football League in 1970, the team’s name was changed to the New England Patriots in 1971. The team saw mixed success in the 1970s, making several postseason appearances but never reaching the Super Bowl. Their Super Bowl debut finally came in 1985, though they lost soundly to the Chicago Bears that year. The team entered a period of decline after its Super Bowl loss and toyed with the idea of moving to St. Louis, but was instead sold to Robert Kraft in 1994.
With new head coach Bill Parcells, the Patriots again reached the Super Bowl in 1996 but fell to the Green Bay Packers. Parcells was replaced by Pete Carroll who guided to team to the playoffs again but was dismissed in favor of new head coach Bill Belichick in 2000. That year, the Patriots also drafted a little known player named Tom Brady as the second to last draft pick overall as well, a move that would prove to be brilliant.
New England finally made a serious playoff run in the 2001 season. After starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was sidelined with injuries, Brady took command and guided the team to the Super Bowl in 2002. Facing the heavily-favored Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams, the Patriots pulled off a stunning upset and finally captured their first Super Bowl title. They followed up with two more dramatic Super Bowl wins in 2004 and 2005, starting a dynasty and establishing Brady as one of the great players of the modern era.
The team finished the 2007-2008 regular season with an undefeated record but fell to the underdog Giants in a stunning upset. Facing the Giants again in Super Bowl in 2012, the Patriots were again narrowly defeated by them. The Patriots finally returned to their winning ways in 2015 when they defeated the Seattle Seahawks in one of the most thrilling Super Bowls of all time. In 2017, dogged by the “Deflategate” scandal, Brady guided the Patriots back to the Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons. Down by 25 points in the third quarter, Brady led the Patriots to the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, shocking the Falcons in an overtime thriller and capturing their first Super Bowl title overall.
Whatever you think of the Patriots, you at least have to respect them. Their winning formula has helped the team become one of the National Football League’s elite franchises in recent years, something unlikely to change anytime soon.