New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are a professional American football team based in the Greater Boston area. They compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The Patriots play home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is 22 miles (35 km) southwest of downtown Boston.[11] The franchise is owned by Robert Kraft, who purchased the team in 1994.[12][13] As of 2022, the Patriots are the ninth most valuable sports team in the world and have sold out every home game since 1994.[14][15]

New England Patriots
Current season
Established November 16, 1959; 63 years ago (November 16, 1959)[1]
First season: 1960
Play in and headquartered in Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, Massachusetts
New England Patriots logo
New England Patriots wordmark
LogoWordmark
League/conference affiliations

American Football League (1960–1969)

  • Eastern Division (1960–1969)

National Football League (1970–present)

Current uniform
2022Patriotsuniforms.png
Team colorsNautical blue, red, new century silver, white[2][3]
       
Fight song"I'm Shipping Up to Boston"
MascotPat Patriot
Personnel
Owner(s)Robert Kraft
ChairmanRobert Kraft
CEORobert Kraft
PresidentJonathan Kraft
General managerBill Belichick (de facto)
Head coachBill Belichick
Team history
  • Boston Patriots (1960–1970)[4]
  • New England Patriots (1971–present)
Team nicknames
  • The Pats
  • The Evil Empire[5][6]
  • The Boston TE Party (offensive TE corps; 2010–2012, 2021–present)[7][8]
  • The Boogeymen (defensive LB corps; 2019)[9][10]
Championships
League championships (6)
Conference championships (11)
Division championships (22)
Playoff appearances (28)
Home fields

Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team was a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) before joining the NFL in 1970 through the AFL–NFL merger. The Patriots played their home games at various stadiums throughout Boston until the franchise moved to Foxborough in 1971. As part of the move, the team changed its name to the New England Patriots. Home games were played at Foxboro Stadium until 2002 when the stadium was demolished alongside the opening of Gillette Stadium. The team began utilizing Gillette Stadium for home games the same year.

The Patriots hold the records for most Super Bowl wins (6, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers), appearances (11), and losses (5, tied with the Denver Broncos). Generally unsuccessful prior to the 21st century, the franchise enjoyed a period of dominance under head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady from 2001 to 2019.[16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] The Brady–Belichick era, regarded as one of the greatest sports dynasties, would see the Patriots claim nearly every major Super Bowl record.[24][25][26][27][22][28] Other NFL records held by the franchise include the most playoff wins (37), the most wins in a 10-year period (126 from 2003 to 2012), the longest winning streak of regular season and playoff games (21 from October 2003 to October 2004), the most consecutive winning seasons (19 from 2001 to 2019), the most consecutive conference championship appearances (8 from 2011 to 2018), the most consecutive division titles (11 from 2009 to 2019), the only undefeated 16-game regular season (2007), and the highest postseason winning percentage (.638).

Franchise history

Brief summary

 
Billy Sullivan, a native Bostonian, brought gridiron football back to Massachusetts after a nearly eleven year absence by founding the Patriots in 1959. His 27-year tenure of ownership did not come without controversy, however.
 
The Patriots were named after the colonists who rebelled against British control during the Revolutionary War, which was locally relevant due to the colony of Massachusetts playing a pivotal role in American independence. (Image: Minute Man statue in Concord, Massachusetts)

On November 16, 1959, Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing American Football League (AFL).[29] The following winter, locals were allowed to submit ideas for the Boston football team's official name.[30] The most popular choice – and the one that Sullivan selected – was the "Boston Patriots",[31][32] with "Patriots" referring to the colonists of the Thirteen Colonies who rebelled against British control during the American Revolution and in July 1776 declared the United States of America an independent nation, which heavily involved the then-colony of Massachusetts. Immediately thereafter, artist Phil Bissell of The Boston Globe developed the "Pat Patriot" logo.[33]

The Patriots never had a regular home stadium in the AFL. Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park (shared with baseball's Boston Red Sox), and Boston College's Alumni Stadium all served as home fields during their time in the American Football League. The 1963 season saw the franchise's first playoff win over Buffalo to clinch the division. They subsequently lost the AFL championship game to the San Diego Chargers 51–10. They did not appear again in an AFL or NFL post-season game for another 13 years.[34]

When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the American Football Conference (AFC) East division, where they still play today.[34] The following year, the Patriots moved to a new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which would serve as their home for the next 30 years. As a result of the move, they announced they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots, after the state of Massachusetts.[35] The name was rejected by the NFL and on March 22, 1971, the team officially announced they would change its geographic name to New England.[34]

During the 1970s, the Patriots had some success under head coach Chuck Fairbanks, 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. Under his successor, Ron Erhardt, the team finished one game out of the playoffs his first two years. The next coach, Ron Meyer, led the team to the playoffs in the strike-shortened 1982 season, and despite not having a losing record during his career, he was fired in 1984 due to poor relationships with players and management. Hall-of-Fame player Raymond Berry was hired as his replacement, and in 1985, he brought the team to its first AFC Championship and a berth in 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. Berry left the team following a disappointing 1989 season, and his replacement Rod Rust only lasted one season, 1990, during which the Patriots went 1–15. During the late 1980s and early 1990s they changed ownership several times, being purchased from the Sullivan family first by Victor Kiam in 1988, who sold the team to James Orthwein in 1992. 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. Orthwein and his marketing team then defied Patriots fans' overwhelming preference and commissioned the NFL to develop a new visual identity and logo, and changed their primary colors from the traditional red, white and blue to blue and silver for the team uniforms.[36] Orthwein intended to move the team to his native St. Louis (where it would have been renamed as the St. Louis Stallions), but instead sold the team in 1994 for $175 million to Boston paper magnate Robert Kraft, who had bought the Patriots' then-home, Foxboro Stadium, out of bankruptcy in 1988.[15]

Continuing on as head coach under Kraft's ownership, Parcells would bring the Patriots to two playoff appearances, including Super Bowl XXXI (following the 1996 season), 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 and 1998 before being dismissed as head coach after the 1999 season.[15]

 
Quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick were the pillars of the 20-year Patriots dynasty, one of the most successful dynasties in all of sports, throughout the 2000s and 2010s. During that period (2001–2019), they led the Patriots to nine Super Bowl appearances, winning six, as well as accumulating many league records in that timeframe. They are universally known as one of the greatest QB-HC tandems of all time.
 
Tight end Rob Gronkowski was a staple of the 2010s offense, fortifying what is widely known as the greatest QB-TE duo of all-time with Tom Brady. Gronkowski, nicknamed "Gronk", holds many league and Patriots franchise records, including a NFL-record most total and receiving touchdowns by a tight end in a single season (18 total, 17 receiving), as well as most receiving touchdowns (79) in Patriots history.

The Patriots hired head coach Bill Belichick, who had served as defensive coordinator under Parcells including during Super Bowl XXXI, in 2000. Their new home field, Gillette Stadium, opened in 2002 to replace the aging Foxboro Stadium. Long–time starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was the franchise's star throughout the 1990s, went down with a sheared blood vessel in his chest in a week two match–up in 2001 against the rival New York Jets. Backup quarterback Tom Brady, drafted by the Patriots in sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft, became the starting quarterback. Brady's successful play led to Bledsoe never getting his job back as a starter, and would serve as the franchise's starting quarterback for the next 18 years. Under Belichick and Brady, the Patriots became one of the most consistently dominant teams in the NFL, with many describing the team as a "dynasty". Within the first few seasons of the 21st century, the team won three Super Bowls in four seasons (2001, 2003, and 2004), over the St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. The Patriots finished the 2007 regular season with a perfect 16–0 record, becoming only the fourth 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.[37] After advancing to Super Bowl XLII, the team's fourth Super Bowl in seven years, the Patriots were upset 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. However, both the Bears and 49ers lost their only game during the regular season, and both would win their respective Super Bowl.[38]

The Patriots returned to the Super Bowl in 2011 but lost again to the Giants, 21–17.[39] In 2014, the Patriots reached a record-tying eighth Super Bowl, where they defeated the defending champion Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28–24 to win Super Bowl XLIX for their fourth title.[40] After Seattle had driven the ball to New England's 1-yard line with under a minute to go, New England rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler made a critical interception on Seattle's final offensive play that helped to seal the victory. New England became the first team to reach nine Super Bowls in the 2016–17 playoffs and faced the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.[41] Losing 28–3 midway through the third quarter, the Patriots scored 25 unanswered points to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation. In the first overtime in Super Bowl history, the Patriots won the coin toss and scored a touchdown to claim their fifth Super Bowl victory.[42] The Patriots extended their record to ten Super Bowl appearances in the 2017–18 playoffs but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.[43] The Patriots returned to the championship game for a third consecutive season in Super Bowl LIII, where they defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13–3 to win their sixth Super Bowl, tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories in NFL history.[44][45]

Following a disappointing 2019 season, in which the team lost in the first round of the playoffs, and in which the long-time Brady–Belichick partnership was strained due to Brady wanting to have more input in organizational decisions,[46] Brady left for free agency and was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To replace him, the Patriots signed veteran quarterback Cam Newton, but after an even more disappointing 2020 season, which saw the team miss the playoffs with their first losing record in two decades, the team drafted Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and released Newton after naming Jones the starting quarterback just prior to the team's first game of the 2021 season.[47] Jones led the team to their first playoff berth without Brady since 1998, but they would lose 47–17 to the division rival Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card round.[48]

Logos and uniforms

Logos

New England Patriots wordmarks
The Patriots' wordmark used in the Sullivan era between 1960 and 1992
The Patriots' wordmark used from 1993 to 2013, with the blue darkened in 2000. A version with the "Flying Elvis" attached to the top was commonly seen
The Patriots' wordmark used since 2013. A version with a small "Flying Elvis" underneath the block letters is also commonly used, such as in the end zone of Gillette Stadium
 
The Patriots' helmet since 2000 (displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame)
 
The Patriots' dynasty era uniforms from 2000–2019 (displayed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame)

The Patriots original helmet logo was a simple tricorne hat, used only for the 1960 season. From 1961 to 1992, the Patriots used a logo of a Revolutionary War minuteman hiking a football. The Patriots wordmark logo during this time consisted of a western-style font. The minuteman logo became known as the "Pat Patriot" logo, which later became the name of the team's mascot.[49][50]

In 1979, the Patriots worked with NFL Properties to design a new, streamlined logo, to replace the complex Pat Patriot logo. The new logo featured the blue and white profile of a minuteman in a tricorne hat set against a flag showing three red stripes separated by two white stripes. Team owner Billy Sullivan decided to put the new logo up to a vote against Pat Patriot with the fans at the September 23 home game against the San Diego Chargers, using a sound level meter to judge the crowd's reaction. The new logo was decidedly rejected by the crowd in favor of Pat, and the concept was shelved.[51]

In 1993, a new logo was unveiled involving the gray face of a minuteman wearing a red, white and royal blue hat that begins as a tricorne and transitions into a flowing banner-like design. It became popularly known as the "Flying Elvis" due to many observing its resemblance to the profile of a young Elvis Presley. A new script logo was introduced as well in tandem with the "Flying Elvis", utilizing a cursive font.[50]

In 2000, the blue color used on the tricorne of the "Flying Elvis" as well as the outline of the cursive wordmark was switched from royal blue to nautical blue to concide with the uniform change in the new millennium.[50]

On July 3, 2013, the Patriots unveiled a new wordmark to accompany the "Flying Elvis", which replaced the script of their previous cursive typeface with modernized block letters (colored in blue or white depending on the background), and modified the "Flying Elvis" to be underneath instead of flowing up-top. While appearing everywhere else, it was not applied on the uniforms until the 2015 season due to NFL uniform policies.[52]

Uniforms

1960–1992

 
The uniforms worn by the Patriots in the Sullivan era from 1960 to 1992, with variations in the striping throughout the years in the shoulders and sleeves. The face mask color was gray from 1960–1981, white from 1982–1990 and red from 1991–1992.

The Patriots' primary uniforms remained largely unchanged from the franchises' inaugural season until 1993. The Patriots originally wore red jerseys with white block numbering at home, and white jerseys with red block numbering on the road. Both uniforms used white pants and white helmets, first with the hat logo over the player's number, then with the "Pat Patriot" logo starting in 1961.[53] A blue stripe was added to the two red helmet stripes in 1964.[53] The numbers on both the home and away jerseys gained a blue outline in 1973.[53] In 1979, the Patriots began the first of many sporadic runs of wearing red pants with the white jerseys.[53] The red pants were dropped in 1981, but returned in 1984. After being dropped again in 1988, they were used again from 1990 to 1992.[53]

1993–1999

 
The uniforms worn by the Patriots in the early Kraft era from 1993 to 1999, with alterations specifically in the numbers, shoulders, and stripes between 1993–1995 before finally settling on a look until 2000. The face mask color also changed from silver in 1993 to red in 1994–present.

The Patriots underwent a complete identity overhaul before the 1993 season, starting with the introduction of the aforementioned "Flying Elvis" logo. The new uniforms consisted of a royal blue home jersey and a white away jersey.[50] The helmet was silver with the Flying Elvis logo and no additional striping.[50] Both uniforms used silver pants, originally with stripes designed to look like those flowing from the Flying Elvis, but these were changed to simple red and blue stripes after one season. When they debuted, both the home and away jerseys used red block numbers with a blue and white outline, but after one season the home uniforms switched to the now-familiar white with a red outline.[54]

In 1995, the Patriots switched the block numbers to a more modern rounded number font with a dropshadow.[54] The Patriots were one of the first adopters of custom numbers, a trend that would grow drastically over the next 20 years.[54]

2000–2019

 
The primary uniforms worn by the Patriots in the dynasty era from 2000 to 2019, including a red throwback version released in 2002, then not seen again until 2010. The pictured red throwback had minor differences from each variation from 2002, 2010–2012 before being shelved due to NFL helmet policies. The Patriots also wore red AFL-patched throwback jerseys (for the 50th anniversary of the AFL) in 2009 along with the other original AFL franchises, however those jerseys were more based off the 1961 season specific appearance.

In 2000, the Patriots then became one of the few teams at the time to drop the rounded numbers and switch back to block numbers. The shade of blue was switched for the first time in the franchises' history, from royal to nautical blue. The jerseys once again had the number on the shoulders while the logo moved back to the sleeves. "New Century" silver stripes were also added to the home jersey, with nautical blue stripes appearing on the away jersey. The Patriots, unsatisfied with the 1990s white-on-silver road look, also took the opportunity to introduce blue pants to be worn with the white jersey, offering a better contrast. To better match the blue pants, the number on the white jersey was switched from red to blue.[55]

Though the Patriots had generally worn silver pants with the blue jerseys, and navy pants with the white jerseys, they did wear an all-blue set during the 2002 season. On two consecutive home games that season, the Patriots wore blue tops with their road blue pants and white socks; they lost both games (Week 6 vs. the Packers, and Week 8 vs. the Broncos). The team would not wear an all-blue set again until the introduction of the Color Rush uniforms in 2016.[55]

Throughout the 2011 season, the Patriots wore dark patches with white lettering on their uniforms with the initials 'MHK' in honor of Myra Kraft, the late long-time spouse of owner Robert Kraft.

2020–present

 
The primary uniforms worn by the Patriots in the post-dynasty era from 2020–present, with the red throwback returning for use starting in the 2022 season, due to the NFL reverting their helmet policies. It is the same version as the 2012 dynasty-era alternate.

For the 2020 season, the Patriots made some changes to their uniform. The all-blue "Color Rush" design became the primary home uniform, complete with updated block letters and numbers, and blue/red/white socks. A corresponding white uniform was also unveiled, also paired with the blue pants. Both uniforms featured truncated shoulder striping as a nod to the "Pat Patriot" uniforms. Coincidentally, the arrival of new jerseys occurred with the departure of long-time quarterback, Tom Brady, from the Patriots. Brady was in New England exactly between the last uniform change in 2000, and left before the 2020 uniform change in 2019.[56][57][58]

The Patriots brought back the silver pants to pair with the current uniforms in a 2022 Week 7 home game on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears. Unlike the previous silver pants the team wore from 2000 to 2019, this design featured thicker red stripes, matching the same width as the middle blue stripe.[59]

Alternate uniforms

In 1994, the Patriots wore the "Pat Patriot" helmets and plain white striped pants from two seasons prior as alternates as part of the NFL's 75th-anniversary celebration. In 2002, NFL teams were allowed to add a permanent third jersey to be worn in a maximum of two games. The Patriots reintroduced a red jersey as their alternate, complemented with the old-style "Pat Patriot" helmet.[50] In 2003, the Patriots changed their alternate to a silver jersey with blue pants. For this uniform, the "Flying Elvis" helmet was used.[50] The uniform was identical to the white jersey with any areas of white replaced by silver. These uniforms were dropped after 2007. No alternate uniform was used in 2008. In 2009, the red alternate was reintroduced, again accompanied by the "Pat Patriot" helmet. An alternate white road jersey was also worn with the older helmet for one game, using red numbers, in tribute to the 50th anniversary of the AFL. The red alternate gained a blue outline around the numbers in 2010 and this was worn through 2012. The Patriots temporarily retired their alternate red uniforms in 2013, thanks to a new NFL rule outlawing throwback alternate helmets, and restricting teams to one helmet shell only.[60] However, after the NFL reinstated the use of alternate helmets in 2022, the Patriots brought back the throwback red uniforms.[61]

In 2016, the Patriots took part in the NFL's Color Rush program, wearing monochrome navy uniforms on September 22 against the Houston Texans.[62] The uniform tops were patterned after the 1980s Pat Patriot-era uniforms, while the pants featured thick white stripes with red accents. They have worn them a total of four times since 2016. In 2017, an all-white Color Rush uniform was introduced and used for the Patriots' Thursday night road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Facilities

Stadium and headquarters

Sky view of Foxboro Stadium, where the Patriots played for their first 31 seasons in Foxborough after not being able to find a permanent home in Boston, from 1971 to 2001
The field of Gillette Stadium, the current home stadium of the Patriots in Foxborough since 2002

Since 2002, the Patriots' home stadium has been Gillette Stadium, a $350 million facility privately financed by Robert Kraft, located in Foxborough, Massachusetts. It houses the team's practice facilities, the team's administrative offices, as well as its owning entity's, The Kraft Group, along with the Kraft-owned Major League Soccer team, the New England Revolution.[63] The field, which was originally natural grass, was replaced with a FieldTurf surface during the 2006 season.[64] Despite not being around for more than 20 years, Gillette Stadium is home to the second most postseason games ever, Candlestick Park being first with 27 total. The Patriots have a 20–4 playoff record in this stadium as of the conclusion of the 2019 NFL season, the AFC playoffs consistently had the Patriots playing from home in 2001–2019.[65][66] The area around the stadium was developed, beginning in 2007, into a $375 million "lifestyle and entertainment center" called Patriot Place; among its largest structures is a multi-floor restaurant and bar called CBS Scene.[67]

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, and this venue was also privately funded. The final game in this stadium was the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoff game which was a 16–13 overtime win over the visiting Oakland Raiders, known for the raging snowstorm and the "tuck rule" call.[63]

During the team's days in the American Football League and its first year in the NFL, the Boston Patriots were hosted by a number of fields in or around Boston – they played at Nickerson Field (1960–62), Fenway Park (1963–68), Alumni Stadium (1969), and Harvard Stadium (1970).[63]

Training camp and practice

 
Patriots players during training camp in 2009

The Patriots hold training camp and practices just outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, with twin practice fields available for team use.

Prior to 2003, the Patriots held training camp and practice at numerous locations. From 1976 to 2002, the team held training camp at Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island. From 1960 to 1961, then from 1969 to 1975, the Patriots held training camp at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Between 1962 and 1968, the Patriots held training camp at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[68]

From 1971 until 2001, the Patriots would simply practice at Foxboro Stadium whenever the field was available, otherwise they would use the public football fields that were available in Foxborough.

Aircraft

 
One of the two Patriots 767s taxiing at Logan International Airport

In 2017, the Patriots purchased two Boeing 767-300ERs for use as team planes, with one serving as the backup, which were ready in time for the 2017 NFL season. This made them the first team in league history to own their own planes.[69] At the time it was getting more difficult for professional sports teams to book private charter flights, with eight teams being dropped that season, as major commercial airlines were instead focusing on more profitable scheduled flights.[70] The two jet airliners, N366AA and N39367, were previously operated by American Airlines from 1991 to 2016. The planes are known affectionately as "AirKrafts" after team owner Robert Kraft.[71] Kraft has lent one of the planes to transport students to the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington, D.C.[72] Both planes are currently operating for the American airline, Eastern Airlines, LLC.[73]

Rivalries

In terms of number of games played, the Patriots have competed most against other teams in the AFC East division: the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets, who were all a part of the AFC East division since the AFL-NFL Merger, as well as the former AFL Eastern division. The Patriots also share rivalries with several teams outside of their division, including the Indianapolis Colts, who were members of the AFC East from 1970 to 2001, the Baltimore Ravens, the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Las Vegas Raiders. Outside of the AFC, the Patriots also had a memorable rivalry with the New York Giants.

Divisional rivals

New York Jets

 
Bill Belichick, after resigning from the Jets before ever coaching a game, was "traded" from the Jets to the Patriots in 2000 for a first round pick, which turned out to be one of the most notorious transactions in NFL history.[74]

The closest rivalry geographically has been that with the New York Jets.[75] The Patriots and Jets have been in the same division (what is now the AFC East) since both teams' foundings in 1960, and have played each other at least twice a year since then.[76] 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; he was replaced by former Jets coach Pete Carroll.[76] Four years later, Carroll was fired, and Parcells's assistant, Bill Belichick, resigned the day he was named the Jets' head coach to become the head coach of the Patriots.[77] Six years after that, Eric Mangini, an assistant under Belichick, became the head coach of the Jets.[78]

Bill Belichick achieved his 200th career head coaching win (regular season and playoffs) on November 22, 2012, defeating the Jets 49–19; it was his 163rd such win as Patriots coach.[79] Belichick also passed George Halas for second most career head coaching wins (regular season and playoffs) with his 325th win on October 30, 2022, in a 22–17 victory over the Jets.

Buffalo Bills

 
Defensive tackle Ty Warren takes down Bills QB J. P. Losman for a safety in 2006.

The Patriots and the Bills were both charter members of the AFL, and even competed with each other in an AFL playoff game. They have remained divisional rivals since the NFL-AFL merger. Prior to the rise of Tom Brady, the two teams shared a mellow, yet occasionally competitive rivalry, featuring highlights from players such as O. J. Simpson, Steve Grogan, Joe Ferguson, Jim Kelly, and Drew Bledsoe. However, Brady dominated the Bills during his tenure as the Patriots' franchise quarterback, holding a 32–3 regular-season record over them.[80] Though Patriots fans usually felt apathetic towards the Bills during the Brady era, Bills fans came to despise the Patriots more than any other rival.[81] With the departure of Tom Brady after the 2019 season, the Bills swept the Pats in 2020, including a 38–9 Monday Night Football win that stands as the worst home loss of the Belichick era. It was their first time doing so since 1999, Belichick's first year as head coach and the year before Brady was drafted.[82] In the 2021–22 NFL playoffs, the Bills defeated the Patriots 47–17 in the rivalry's first playoff matchup in nearly 60 years, with the Bills scoring seven consecutive touchdowns and never punting or attempting a field goal against the Pats defense,[83] making for the NFL's first "perfect offensive game" in history and the worst playoff loss of Belichick's career.[84]

Miami Dolphins

 
RB Craig James rushes the ball past the Dolphins' defense in the 1985 AFC Championship game.

The Patriots first played the Miami Dolphins in 1966 in the AFL, when Miami was one of two expansion teams to debut that year in that league. The Dolphins dominated the Patriots in the 1970s and 1990s, but the two teams remained competitive with each other for years before the rise of Tom Brady. Brady, however, struggled occasionally against the Dolphins in the 2000s before reasserting dominance in the 2010s.[85][86] The Patriots and Dolphins are the only two teams in the Super Bowl era to post undefeated regular season records, with Miami going 14–0 in 1972 and the Patriots going 16–0 in 2007.[87] Notable moments between the clubs include the Snowplow Game, three playoff matchups, the Dolphins revealing their Wildcat offense against the Patriots,[88] and the Miracle in Miami.[89]

Conference rivals

Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts

The Patriots rivalry with the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts ran through the two clubs' tenure together in the AFC East (1970–2001). The two clubs clashed in several close games, such as on December 19, 1971, as a late Patriots touchdown decided a 21–17 New England win; on September 18, 1978, the Colts rallied to defeat the Patriots 34–27 on Monday Night Football on a virtual one-man scoring rampage by running back Joe Washington; on September 4, 1983, the Colts defeated the Patriots in overtime 29–23 in their final season in Baltimore.[90] The Patriots defeated the Colts in back-to-back overtime games, 23–17 on December 8, 1991, and 37–34 on November 15, 1992.[90]

 
The Pats facing the Colts in 2011

Even though the two clubs were placed in separate divisions in the NFL's 2002 divisional realignment, their rivalry did not diminish. At that time, both teams were among the best in the AFC, and both were led by likely Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Peyton Manning (for the Colts) and Tom Brady (for the 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. The Manning portion of the rivalry began in Manning's rookie season, 1998; in 1999 Manning suffered a bitter 31–28 loss in September as the Patriots behind Drew Bledsoe erased a 28–7 Colts lead, then defeated the Patriots 20–15 in Indianapolis on December 12. The Brady–Manning portion of the rivalry began on September 30, 2001, as Brady made his first NFL start in a 44–13 Patriots win at Foxboro; on October 21 the Patriots defeated the Colts at the RCA Dome 38–17.[90]

After the Colts left the AFC East in 2002, they first met on November 30, 2003, in a 38–34 Patriots win decided on a last-second goal line stand by the Patriots.[90] The Colts broke a six-game Patriot winning streak in the rivalry in November 2005,[90] then won twice in 2006;[90] in the AFC Championship Game the Colts erased a 21–6 halftime lead; the game lead tied or changed seven times in the second half before a late touchdown led to a 38–34 Colts win. The November 4, 2007, meeting involved both teams being unbeaten to that point; the 8–0 Patriots and the 7–0 Colts. The Patriots rallied to win 24–20.[91] The Colts won again in 2008 and then erased a large Patriots lead in 2009's 4th and 2 game. Manning's final meeting with the Patriots as a Colt came in November 2010; a late interception sealed a 31–28 Patriots win.[92] In 2012, the Patriots faced the Colts, quarterbacked now by Andrew Luck, on November 18; the Patriots defeated the Colts 59–24.[93] The Patriots also beat the Colts on January 12, 2014, 43–22.[94] The Patriots played the Colts in the playoffs again on January 18, 2015, in the AFC title game, winning 45–7.[95]

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens first met the New England Patriots in 1996,[96] but the rivalry truly started in 2007 when the Ravens suffered a bitter 27–24 loss in the Patriots' quest for perfection.[97] The rivalry began to escalate in 2009 when the Ravens lost to the Patriots 27–21 in a game that involved a confrontation between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs.[98] Both players would go on to take verbal shots at each other through the media after the game. The Ravens defeated the Patriots in the 2009 AFC Wild Card playoff game, 33–14.[99] This was the first time the Ravens had ever defeated the Patriots. The Ravens faced the Patriots in week six of the 2010 season. The Patriots ended up winning 23–20 in overtime; the game caused controversy from a hit to the helmet of tight end Todd Heap by Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather.[100]

 
Tom Brady had a career record of 8–4 (regular & postseason) against the Ravens with the Patriots.

The Ravens played the Patriots for the third consecutive season in the 2011 AFC Championship Game, which the Ravens lost 23–20.[101] The rivalry reached a new level of friction with this, the second career playoff game between the two clubs. The Ravens clawed to a 20–16 lead in the fourth quarter, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dove into the end zone to make the score 23–20 with around 11 minutes remaining; this proved to be the winning touchdown.[101] On the Ravens' last possession of the game, quarterback Joe Flacco threw a pass to wide receiver Lee Evans in the corner of the end zone which looked to be the game-winning touchdown, before a last-second strip by Sterling Moore forced the ball from the hands of Evans, forcing the game to be decided on a last-minute field goal by Ravens placekicker Billy Cundiff.[101] With 11 seconds remaining on the clock, the kicker missed the 32-yard field goal attempt, allowing the Patriots to kill the clock on their way to Super Bowl XLVI for a rematch with the New York Giants.[101]

The Ravens' first regular-season win over the Patriots came on September 23, 2012. The game was emotional as receiver Torrey Smith was competing following the death of his brother in a motorcycle accident just the night before.[102] Smith caught two touchdowns in a back and forth game; the Ravens erased a 13–0 lead in the first half and led 14–13, but the Patriots scored at the end of the second quarter for a 20–14 lead. The lead changed twice in the third quarter and the Patriots led 30–21 in the fourth, but the Ravens scored on Smith's second touchdown catch. The Ravens were stopped on fourth down but the Patriots had to punt; in the final two minutes a pass interference penalty on Devin McCourty put the ball at the Patriots 7-yard line; new Ravens kicker Justin Tucker booted a 27-yard field goal on the final play; the ball sailed directly over the upright and was ruled good; the quality of officiating by replacement referees caused controversy as Bill Belichick angrily reached for one of the referees as they were leaving the field, leading to a $50,000 fine later that week.[103][104]

The two teams met again on January 20, 2013, in the AFC Championship, where the Ravens won 28–13.[105] The Patriots led at halftime, 13–7, but the Ravens defense gave up no points in the 2nd half.[105] It was the first time ever that Tom Brady lost a game at home after leading at halftime, and the first time a road team beat the Patriots in the AFC Championship.[105]

The two teams met once again at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs on January 10, 2015. The Patriots trailed by as much as 14 twice, before beating the Ravens 35–31 to advance to the AFC Championship.[106]

The two teams met with Lamar Jackson as the Ravens quarterback for the first time on Sunday Night Football on November 3, 2019. The 8–0 Patriots were favored over the 5–2 Ravens before the game, but the Ravens won in a blowout, 37–20.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos and Patriots met twice annually during the American Football League (AFL) years from 1960 to 1969, and played in the first-ever AFL game on September 9, 1960.[107] Since 1995, the two teams have met frequently during the regular season, including nine consecutive seasons from 1995 to 2003.[108] As of the end of the 2015 season, the two teams have met in the playoffs five times, with the Broncos owning a 4–1 record.[109] The teams' first playoff match on January 4, 1987 was John Elway's first career playoff win,[110] while the teams' second playoff match on January 14, 2006 game was the Broncos' first playoff win since Elway's retirement after the 1998 season.[111] The game was also notable for Champ Bailey's 100-yard interception that resulted in a touchdown-saving tackle by Benjamin Watson at the 1-yard line.[112] On October 11, 2009, the two teams met with former Patriots' offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels as the Broncos' head coach. Both teams wore their AFL 50th anniversary jerseys.[113] The game featured a 98-yard drive in the fourth quarter, with a game-tying touchdown pass from Kyle Orton to Brandon Marshall, followed by an overtime drive led by Orton that resulted in a 41-yard game-winning field goal by Matt Prater.[114] The two teams met in the Divisional round of the 2011 playoffs, with the Patriots blowing out Tim Tebow and the Broncos by a score of 45–10.[115] The Broncos' rivalry with the Patriots later intensified when longtime Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning became the Broncos' starting quarterback from 2012 to 2015. Manning and Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady maintained a legendary rivalry from 2001[116] until Manning's retirement after the 2015 season.[117] Though Brady dominated Manning in regular season play, winning nine of twelve meetings, Manning won three of five playoff meetings, including the Broncos' 26–16 win in the 2013 AFC Championship and the Broncos' 20–18 win in the 2015 AFC Championship.[118]

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers emerged as a prominent rival in league circles when the Patriots upset the Steelers in the 2001 AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field, though the two teams had met in the postseason twice before; the Patriots defeated the Steelers in 1996 28–3 while the Steelers won 7–6 in 1997; both times, the Patriots fielded players with Pittsburgh-area roots in Ty Law and Curtis Martin. Martin's final game with the Patriots was in the 1997 playoffs before he departed to the rival New York Jets. Following the 2001 AFC title upset, the Patriots defeated the Steelers 30–14 at the start of the 2002 season. Pittsburgh did not exact revenge for the two losses until ending the Patriots' record-setting 21-game winning streak in week 6 of the 2004 NFL season. Later that season, the Steelers lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Patriots in the AFC Championship game after a 15–1 regular season.

The Patriots won six of seven meetings over a ten-year period (19982007) before the Steelers broke through with a 33–10 victory at Foxborough in 2008, after Matt Cassel turned the ball over five times. The Patriots in 2013 then made history by becoming the first opponent to score 55 points on the Steelers, winning 55–31. The Patriots won again in 2015 (28–21) and 2016's regular season (27–16), and then won 36–17 in the 2016 AFC Championship Game. They also won in 2017 when a go-ahead touchdown reception by Steelers' tight end Jesse James was controversially called back.[119] Though they ultimately missed the playoffs, the Steelers defeated the Patriots by a score of 17–10 on December 16, 2018, in Pittsburgh.

In the postseason, the Patriots have outscored the Steelers 135–75, with the Patriots maintaining a 4–1 record. The only other franchises with winning AFC playoff records against Steelers include the Los Angeles Chargers (2–1), the Jacksonville Jaguars (2–0), and the Broncos (5–3). The Steelers have an all-time regular-season record of 15–13 against the Patriots. In the Bill Belichick era, the main period of the rivalry, the Patriots have a 12–4 record against the Steelers. In their last matchup, the Patriots beat the Steelers 33–3 on Sunday Night Football.[120]

Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders

The rivalry between the Patriots and the Oakland/Los Angeles/Las Vegas Raiders dates to their time in the AFL, but was intensified during a 1978 preseason game, when Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley was permanently paralyzed after a vicious hit delivered by Raiders free safety Jack Tatum. Before that, the Patriots also lost a playoff game in 1976 to the Raiders; the game is unofficially known as "The Ben Dreith Game" due to a controversial penalty by head referee Dreith. While based in Los Angeles, the Raiders hosted the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs in 1986. The game was won by the Patriots and marred by a chaotic rumble between the teams in the end zone as players were leaving the field after the game. The brawl was especially notable for Raiders linebacker Matt Millen attacking GM Patrick Sullivan, son of owner Billy Sullivan, with his helmet. The two teams met in a divisional-round playoff game in 2002, which became known as the "Tuck Rule Game". Late in the game, an incomplete pass, ruled a fumble, by quarterback Tom Brady was overturned, and the Patriots went on to win in overtime and eventually won the Super Bowl against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams.[121] Since that game, the Patriots have won five of the last six regular-season contests between the two teams. The first contest being the following year during the 2002 season in Oakland, with the Raiders winning 27–20; they met in the 2005 season opener in New England with the Patriots ruining Randy Moss' debut as a Raider 30–20; the Patriots defeated the Raiders 49–26 in December 2008 in Bill Belichick's 100th regular-season win as Patriots coach; a Patriots 31–19 win during the 2011 season; a scrappy 16–9 Patriots win in the third week of the 2014 season, and the Patriots' 33–8 win in Mexico City in 2017.

Inter-conference rivals

New York Giants

 
Tom Brady pictured in 2007, during the Patriots' historic 16–0 season. It was the only undefeated regular season in the NFL during the 16-game schedule era. The Patriots had defeated the New York Giants in the final game of the season, however the Giants would then upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Brady would also earn his first MVP award and break the passing touchdowns record (50, broken in 2013 by the Denver Broncos).

The two teams rarely played each other given they were on opposite conferences, but the rivalry gained notoriety in the late 2000s thanks to some close contests and memorable moments between Tom Brady and Eli Manning. In the 2007 season, the Patriots defeated the Giants 38–35 to clinch a perfect 16–0 regular season, but could not finish a perfect 19–0 season in Super Bowl XLII following a 17–14 defeat. That game featured the now-iconic Helmet Catch from David Tyree. The Giants also defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, a 21–17 victory.[122]

Strategy and influence

LB Willie McGinest (left), LB Tedy Bruschi (middle), and LB Mike Vrabel (right) are three New England Patriots credited for instilling and defining what is described the "Patriot Way" throughout the dynasty from 2001–2019. Each of them were members of the Patriots' strong defense during the first three Super Bowl wins. McGinest also holds the NFL playoff record of most career postseason sacks (16.0) and most postseason sacks in a single game (4.5 in 2005). Other players that were known for their involvement in upholding the "Patriot Way" include 3x Super Bowl champion WR Troy Brown (not pictured) and Super Bowl champion SS Lawyer Milloy (not pictured).

Under head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have employed specific on-field and off-field strategies. On the field, the Patriots have typically used an "ErhardtPerkins" offense and a "FairbanksBullough" 3–4 defense, referred to commonly as a two-gap 3–4 defensive system. Under Erhardt's, Perkin's and Bullough's stints as coordinators and head coaches across the league after developing the scheme in collaboration with head coach Chuck Fairbanks, the systems developed in New England in the 1970s would begin to see historic use. Influence spread, especially under their coaching tree in Bill Parcells' schemes as head coach of the New York Giants in the mid-to-late 1980s, after serving as a linebacker coach for the Patriots in 1980. Parcells would come back to New England as head coach in 1993 and re-install the system used in the 1970s and 1980s, re-uniting with Ray Perkins as WR coach. Parcells own coaching tree would use the scheme created in New England as well, especially Belichick, once he was named as head coach after years of being an assistant to Parcells with the New York Giants, the Patriots, and the New York Jets.[123]

Since 2000, the philosophy in making personnel decisions and in game planning has focused on the "team" concept,[124] stressing preparation, strong work ethic, versatility,[125] and lack of individual ego.[126] This approach, which has led to six Super Bowl victories under Belichick, has been analyzed in media such as the 2004 book Patriot Reign, as well as the 2021 documentary miniseries Man in the Arena.

The New England Patriots are noted for the following characteristics under coach Belichick's tenure, dubbed as the "Patriot Way":

  • Their self-critical, perfectionist, and militaristic approach[127]
  • Their emphasis on team,[128] equality among players and lack of individual ego[129]
  • Their strong work ethic, intelligence and high level of focus and preparation for each individual game[130]
  • Their versatile players, able to play multiple positions[131]
  • Their multiple schemes intended to take advantage of their opponent's weaknesses[132][133]

Championships

Super Bowl championships

The league championship banners at Gillette Stadium, representing the Patriots' six Super Bowl titles (left). The six Vince Lombardi Trophies, the historic trophy awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl, kept at the Patriots Hall of Fame (right).

The Patriots have won six Super Bowls, the league championship of the NFL. The franchise is tied for the most all-time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team repeated as champions between the 2003 and 2004 NFL seasons, the last club to do so among the seven franchises who have accomplished it (Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers (twice), San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and the Denver Broncos). Between 2001 and 2004, the Patriots became the second team in NFL history (after the Dallas Cowboys) to win three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003, 2004), and are also the last franchise to have achieved it.[134]

 
A Super Bowl hero, CB Malcolm Butler made one of the greatest plays in NFL history with a game-clinching interception at the goal line in Super Bowl XLIX, ensuring the Patriots' victory in the final seconds of the game.
 
RB James White tallied one of the most impressive Super Bowl performances of all time in Super Bowl LI, with 139 yards from scrimmage (29 rushing, 110 receiving), as well as holding multiple Super Bowl records such as most receptions, most receiving yards by a running back, and most points scored in regulation and overtime (20, and 6).
 
LB Dont'a Hightower had two memorable plays in two of the Patriots' Super Bowl wins that were pivotal to the eventual victories. In Super Bowl XLIX, he had a last second tackle on Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch at the one-yard line in the final minute of the game, forcing the Seahawks to have to call another play to reach the end zone. The Seahawks would throw the game-losing interception to Butler the next play, sealing the Patriots' fourth Super Bowl win. In Super Bowl LI, his strip sack on Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan was what turned out to be a crucial catalyst that helped led to the Patriots' historical comeback down 28–3.
Year Coach Super Bowl Location Opponent Score Record
2001 Bill Belichick XXXVI Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans) St. Louis Rams 20–17 11–5
2003 XXXVIII Reliant Stadium (Houston) Carolina Panthers 32–29 14–2
2004 XXXIX Alltel Stadium (Jacksonville) Philadelphia Eagles 24–21 14–2
2014 XLIX University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale) Seattle Seahawks 28–24 12–4
2016 LI NRG Stadium (Houston) Atlanta Falcons 34–28 (OT) 14–2
2018 LIII Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta) Los Angeles Rams 13–3 11–5
Total Super Bowls won: 6

AFC championships

The New England Patriots have won eleven AFC Championships, the record for the most conference championships all-time in the NFL.[1]

Year Coach Location Opponent Score Record
1985 Raymond Berry Miami Orange Bowl (Miami) Miami Dolphins 31–14 11–5
1996 Bill Parcells Foxboro Stadium (Foxborough) Jacksonville Jaguars 20–6 11–5
2001 Bill Belichick Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh Steelers 24–17 11–5
2003 Gillette Stadium (Foxborough) Indianapolis Colts 23–20 14–2
2004 Heinz Field (Pittsburgh) Pittsburgh Steelers 41–27 14–2
2007 Gillette Stadium (Foxborough) San Diego Chargers 21–12 16–0
2011 Baltimore Ravens 23–20 13–3
2014 Indianapolis Colts 45–7 12–4
2016 Pittsburgh Steelers 36–17 14–2
2017 Jacksonville Jaguars 24–20 13–3
2018 Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City) Kansas City Chiefs 37–31 (OT) 11–5
Total AFC Championships won: 11

Division championships

The New England Patriots have won 22 Division Championships, which is second place for the most all-time behind the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, who are tied in first with 24. One of these divisional titles was won in the AFL in the AFL East (1963), the rest were won in the AFC East of the NFL.[1]

Year Coach Record
1963 Mike Holovak 7–6–1
1978 Chuck Fairbanks 11–5
1986 Raymond Berry 11–5
1996 Bill Parcells 11–5
1997 Pete Carroll 10–6
2001 Bill Belichick 11–5
2003 14–2
2004 14–2
2005 10–6
2006 12–4
2007 16–0
2009 10–6
2010 14–2
2011 13–3
2012 12–4
2013 12–4
2014 12–4
2015 12–4
2016 14–2
2017 13–3
2018 11–5
2019 12–4
Total Division Championships won: 22
Deion Branch (left) and Julian Edelman (right) are the two Patriots wide receivers that have won the Super Bowl MVP award, each doing so in Super Bowl XXXIX and Super Bowl LIII, respectively. They are both known as two of the franchise's most prolific postseason performers.

Statistics, records, and awards

Season-by-season results

This is a partial list of the Patriots' last five completed seasons. For the full season-by-season franchise results, see List of New England Patriots seasons.

Note: The Finish, Wins, Losses, and Ties columns list regular season results and exclude any postseason play.

Super Bowl champions Conference champions Division champions Wild Card berth

As of January 15, 2022

Season Team League Conference Division Regular season Postseason results Awards
Finish Wins Losses Ties
2017 2017 NFL AFC East 1st 13 3 0 Won Divisional Playoffs (Titans) 35–14
Won AFC Championship (Jaguars) 24–20
Lost Super Bowl LII (Eagles) 41–33
Tom Brady (MVP)
2018 2018 NFL AFC East 1st 11 5 0 Won Divisional Playoffs (Chargers) 41–28
Won AFC Championship (Chiefs) 37–31(OT)
Won Super Bowl LIII (Rams) 13–3
Julian Edelman (SB MVP)
2019 2019 NFL AFC East 1st 12 4 0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Titans) 20–13 Stephon Gilmore (DPOY)
2020 2020 NFL AFC East 3rd 7 9 0
2021 2021 NFL AFC East 2nd 10 7 0 Lost Wild Card Playoffs (Bills) 47–17

[135]

Record vs. opponents

Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties

Team W L T Percent Last result Last date Last locale Postseason
Jacksonville Jaguars 8 1 0 .889 W 50–10 January 2, 2022 Foxborough, Massachusetts 4–1 postseason
Baltimore Ravens 9 2 0 .818 W 9–0 November 15, 2020 Foxborough, Massachusetts 2–2 postseason
Chicago Bears 10 3 0 .769 W 38–31 October 21, 2018 Chicago, Illinois 0–1 postseason
Houston Texans 9 3 0 .750 W 34–7 October 10, 2021 Houston, Texas 2–0 postseason
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 3 0 .700 L 19–17 October 3, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Minnesota Vikings 9 4 0 .692 W 24–10 December 2, 2018 Foxborough, Massachusetts
New Orleans Saints 10 5 0 .667 L 28–13 September 26, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Cincinnati Bengals 17 9 0 .654 W 31–28 December 15, 2019 Foxborough, Massachusetts
New York Giants 7 4 0 .636 W 35–14 October 10, 2019 Foxborough, Massachusetts 0–2 postseason
San Diego / Los Angeles Chargers 24 14 2 .625 W 27–24 October 31, 2021 Inglewood, California 3–1 postseason
Baltimore / Indianapolis Colts 48 29 0 .623 L 27–17 December 18, 2021 Indianapolis, Indiana 4–1 postseason
Buffalo Bills 76 46 1 .622 L 33–21 December 26, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts 1–1 postseason
Atlanta Falcons 9 6 0 .600 W 25–0 November 18, 2021 Atlanta, Georgia 1–0 postseason
Houston Oilers / Tennessee Titans 24 16 1 .598 W 36–13 November 28, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts 2–2 postseason
Detroit Lions 7 5 0 .583 L 26–10 September 23, 2018 Detroit, Michigan
New York Jets 69 53 1 .565 W 24–34 October 24, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts 2–1 postseason
Oakland / Los Angeles / Las Vegas Raiders 18 14 1 .561 W 36–20 September 27, 2020 Foxborough, Massachusetts 2–1 postseason
Green Bay Packers 6 5 0 .545 W 31–17 November 4, 2018 Foxborough, Massachusetts 0–1 postseason
St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams 7 6 0 .538 L 24–3 December 10, 2020 Inglewood, California 2–0 postseason
St. Louis / Phoenix / Arizona Cardinals 8 7 0 .533 W 20–17 November 29, 2020 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Cleveland Browns 13 12 0 .520 W 45–7 November 14, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts 0–1 postseason
Miami Dolphins 52 58 0 .473 L 33–24 January 9, 2022 Miami Gardens, Florida 2–1 postseason
Pittsburgh Steelers 13 15 0 .464 W 33–3 September 8, 2019 Foxborough, Massachusetts 4–1 postseason
Philadelphia Eagles 6 7 0 .462 W 17–10 November 17, 2019 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1–1 postseason
Washington Commanders 5 6 0 .455 W 33–7 October 6, 2019 Washington, D.C.
Denver Broncos 22 27 0 .449 L 18–12 October 18, 2020 Denver, Colorado 1–4 postseason
Seattle Seahawks 8 10 0 .444 L 35–30 September 20, 2020 Seattle, Washington 1–0 postseason
Carolina Panthers 3 4 0 .429 W 24–6 November 7, 2021 Charlotte, North Carolina 1–0 postseason
Dallas Cowboys 6 8 0 .429 L 35–29 October 17, 2021 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Kansas City Chiefs 14 20 3 .419 L 26–10 October 5, 2020 Kansas City, Missouri 2–0 postseason
San Francisco 49ers 5 9 0 .357 L 33–6 October 25, 2020 Foxborough, Massachusetts
Total 529 411 9 .562
Total including playoffs 566 433 9 .566

[136]

Playoff record

 
The Patriots snapping the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Year Game Opponent Result
1963 Divisional Round Buffalo Bills W 26–8
AFL Championship San Diego Chargers L 51–10
1976 Divisional Round Oakland Raiders L 24–21
1978 Divisional Round Houston Oilers L 31–14
1982 AFC Wild Card Miami Dolphins L 31–14
1985 AFC Wild Card New York Jets W 26–14
Divisional Round Los Angeles Raiders W 27–14
AFC Championship Miami Dolphins W 31–14
Super Bowl XX Chicago Bears L 46–10
1986 Divisional Round Denver Broncos L 22–17
1994 AFC Wild Card Cleveland Browns L 20–13
1996 Divisional Round Pittsburgh Steelers W 28–3
AFC Championship Jacksonville Jaguars W 20–6
Super Bowl XXXI Green Bay Packers L 35–21
1997 AFC Wild Card Miami Dolphins W 17–13
Divisional Round Pittsburgh Steelers L 7–6
1998 AFC Wild Card Jacksonville Jaguars L 25–10
2001 Divisional Round Oakland Raiders W 16–13
AFC Championship Pittsburgh Steelers W 24–17
Super Bowl XXXVI St. Louis Rams W 20–17
2003 Divisional Round Tennessee Titans W 17–14
AFC Championship Indianapolis Colts W 24–14
Super Bowl XXXVIII Carolina Panthers W 32–29
2004 Divisional Round Indianapolis Colts W 20–3
AFC Championship Pittsburgh Steelers W 41–27
Super Bowl XXXIX Philadelphia Eagles W 24–21
2005 AFC Wild Card Jacksonville Jaguars W 28–3
Divisional Round Denver Broncos L 27–13
2006 AFC Wild Card New York Jets W 37–16
Divisional Round San Diego Chargers W 24–21
AFC Championship Indianapolis Colts L 38–34
2007 Divisional Round Jacksonville Jaguars W 31–20
AFC Championship San Diego Chargers W 21–12
Super Bowl XLII New York Giants L 17–14
2009 AFC Wild Card Baltimore Ravens L 33–14
2010 Divisional Round New York Jets L 28–21
2011 Divisional Round Denver Broncos W 45–10
AFC Championship Baltimore Ravens W 23–20
Super Bowl XLVI New York Giants L 21–17
2012 Divisional Round Houston Texans W 41–28
AFC Championship Baltimore Ravens L 28–13
2013 Divisional Round Indianapolis Colts W 43–22
AFC Championship Denver Broncos L 26–16
2014 Divisional Round Baltimore Ravens W 35–31
AFC Championship Indianapolis Colts W 45–7
Super Bowl XLIX Seattle Seahawks W 28–24
2015 Divisional Round Kansas City Chiefs W 27–20
AFC Championship Denver Broncos L 20–18
2016 Divisional Round Houston Texans W 34–16
AFC Championship Pittsburgh Steelers W 36–17
Super Bowl LI Atlanta Falcons W 34–28 (OT)
2017 Divisional Round Tennessee Titans W 35–14
AFC Championship Jacksonville Jaguars W 24–20
Super Bowl LII Philadelphia Eagles L 41–33
2018 Divisional Round Los Angeles Chargers W 41–28
AFC Championship Kansas City Chiefs W 37–31 (OT)
Super Bowl LIII Los Angeles Rams W 13–3
2019 AFC Wild Card Tennessee Titans L 20–13
2021 AFC Wild Card Buffalo Bills L 47–17
Overall Playoff Record: 37–22

[137]

All-time leaders

 
Tom Brady holds nearly every record in career, single-season, and single-game (regular season and playoffs) passing statistics for the Patriots, as well as total games played.
 
A career Patriot and a 3x Super Bowl champion, RB Kevin Faulk is the franchise's all-time leader in all-purpose yards (receiving, rushing, and return yards combined) with 12,340 total yards.
 
3x Super Bowl champion kicker Stephen Gostkowski is the team's all-time leader in points scored with 1,775 total points. He also holds the single-season scoring record with 158 in 2013.
All-time Patriots leaders
Leader Name Record number Years with Patriots
Passing[138] Tom Brady 74,571 passing yards 2000–2019
Rushing[139] Sam Cunningham 5,453 rushing yards 1973–1982
Receiving[140] Stanley Morgan 10,352 receiving yards 1977–1989
Scoring[141] Stephen Gostkowski 1,775 points 2006–2019
Sacks[142] Andre Tippett 100.0 sacks 1982–1993
Interceptions[142] Raymond Clayborn
Ty Law
36 interceptions 1977–1989
1995–2004
Coaching wins[143] Bill Belichick 254 wins 2000–present

Statistics

Career leaders

Single-season leaders

Individual awards

 
A four-time Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots (the NFL-record for the most with one franchise), Tom Brady is seen celebrating the Patriots' dramatic comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI

These awards are specifically from the Associated Press, except for two cases: The NFL in the case of the Super Bowl MVP and the Pro Football Writers of America in the case of the Executive of the Year award. Seasons in which the AFL counterparts of the awards were won (1960–1969) are labeled.[144]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Players of note

Current roster

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 November 24, 2022

53 active, 12 inactive, 15 practice squad (+1 exempt)

AFC rostersNFC rosters
 
Pro Football Hall of Fame & Patriots Hall of Fame G John Hannah, known as one of the greatest offensive linemen in history. Spending his entire illustrious career with the Patriots, Hannah achieved many accolades and awards, and is a franchise icon.
 
Pro Football Hall of Fame & Patriots Hall of Fame CB, 3x Super Bowl champion Ty Law (pictured with Denver Broncos). Law is tied for the record of most interceptions in the franchise's history (36). Law also had one of the most memorable moments in Patriots history, with a 47-yard pick-six in Super Bowl XXXVI.
 
Pro Football Hall of Fame & Patriots Hall of Fame DE, 3x Super Bowl champion Richard Seymour. Seymour was considered one of the most versatile defensive lineman in the NFL during his tenure.
 
Pro Football Hall of Fame & Patriots Hall of Fame LB Andre Tippett, the Patriots' all-time sack leader (100.0).
 
Pro Football Hall of Fame WR Randy Moss, who caught a NFL-record (still standing) 23 receiving touchdowns in a single-season as a New England Patriot, during the historic undefeated 16–0 2007 season.

Pro Football Hall of Famers

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has inducted 6 players who made their primary contribution to professional football while with the Patriots. The Patriots' total number of Pro Football Hall of Famers is 11, 9 players and 2 coaches.[145]

Notes:

  • Hall of Famers who made the major part of their primary contribution for the Patriots are listed in bold.
  • Hall of Famers who spent only a minor portion of their career with the Patriots are listed in normal font.
New England Patriots in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Players
No. Name Inducted Position(s) Tenure
85 Buoniconti, NickNick Buoniconti 2001 LB 19621968
73 Hannah, JohnJohn Hannah 1991 G 19731960
40 Haynes, MikeMike Haynes 1997 CB 19761982
24 Law, TyTy Law 2019 CB 19952004
28 Martin, CurtisCurtis Martin 2012 RB 19951997
81 Moss, RandyRandy Moss 2018 WR 20072010
55 Seau, JuniorJunior Seau 2015 LB 20062009
93 Seymour, RichardRichard Seymour 2022 DE 20012008
56 Tippett, AndreAndre Tippett 2008 LB 19821993
Coaches and Contributors
Name Inducted Position(s) Tenure
Berry, RaymondRaymond Berry 1973 Head coach 19841989
Parcells, BillBill Parcells 2013 Head coach 19931996
  • Raymond Berry was inducted for his tenure as a player (outside of New England), not as a head coach.

Retired numbers

Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
New England Patriots retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure Retired
20 Gino Cappelletti FL/K 1960–1970 1971
40 Mike Haynes CB 1976–1982 1996
57 Steve Nelson LB 1974–1987 July 11, 1988
73 John Hannah G 1973–1985 1990
78 Bruce Armstrong T 1987–2000 2000
79 Jim Lee Hunt DT 1960–1970 1971
89 Bob Dee DE 1960–1967 1968

The Patriots have officially retired seven uniform numbers. The organization has not retired any numbers since 2000, likely to keep a healthy amount of numbers available to the up-to 90-man pre-season roster. Half of these players played for the original AFL-era Boston Patriots. Bruce Armstrong (1987–2000) is by far the most recent player to have their jersey retired. Five of the seven numbers were retired prior to Robert Kraft's current tenure as owner since 1994. As of 2020, number 12 has been kept out of circulation, otherwise the Patriots have currently abstained from reducing any other number un-officially regardless of stature.

Patriots Hall of Fame

The Patriots Hall of Fame features 28 former players and three contributors as a part of the franchise's own hall of fame, founded to independently honor significant members of the organization within the club's history. It was established in 1991, with John Hannah being the inaugural member.[146]

The physical Patriots Hall of Fame building opened in 2008 outside of the stadium at Patriot Place, presented by Raytheon Technologies. It has featured numerous renovations and additions since, and it is updated yearly. It is described as a modern, interactive "museum".[147]

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 grand opening of the physical Patriots Hall of Fame in 2008, the club introduced a new nomination committee to select three candidates, with the winner of an internet fan vote being enshrined in the hall of fame.[148] In order to be eligible, players and coaches must be retired for at least four years. 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.[149]

Starting in 2009, contributors have been allowed to be periodically voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Former team founder and owner Billy Sullivan was posthumously inducted by owner Robert Kraft in March 2009, before the Patriots' 50th season, as the first contributor inducted.[150][151]

Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Patriots Hall of Fame
No. Name Position Years With Club Inducted
73 John Hannah G 1973–1985 1991
85 Nick Buoniconti LB 1962–1968 1992
20 Gino Cappelletti FL/K
Broadcaster
1960–1970
1972–1978, 1988–2012
1992
89 Bob Dee DL 1960–1967 1993
79 Jim Lee Hunt DT 1960–1971 1993
57 Steve Nelson LB 1974–1987 1993
15 Vito "Babe" Parilli QB 1961–1967 1993
40 Mike Haynes CB 1976–1982 1994
14 Steve Grogan QB 1975–1990 1995
56 Andre Tippett LB
Front Office
1982–1993
2007–present
1999
78 Bruce Armstrong T 1987–2000 2001
86 Stanley Morgan WR 1977–1989 2007
87 Ben Coates TE 1991–1999 2008
35 Jim Nance FB 1965–1971 2009
Billy Sullivan Founder/Owner 1960–1988 2009
39 Sam Cunningham RB 1973–1982 2010
11 Drew Bledsoe QB 1993–2001 2011
56 Jon Morris C 1964–1974 2011
80 Troy Brown WR/PR/CB
WR/KR Coach
1993–2007
2020–present
2012
54 Tedy Bruschi LB 1996–2008 2013
Gil Santos Broadcaster 1972–1979
1991–2012
2013
24 Ty Law CB 1995–2004 2014
55 Willie McGinest LB/DE 1994–2005 2015
65 Houston Antwine DL 1961–1971 2015
33 Kevin Faulk RB 1999–2011 2016
26 Raymond Clayborn CB 1977–1989 2017
72 Matt Light T 2001–2011 2018
37 Rodney Harrison S 2003–2008 2019
70 Leon Gray T 1973–1978 2019
93 Richard Seymour DL 2001–2008 2020
Tracy Sormanti Cheerleading Director 1983–2020 2021
75 Vince Wilfork DT 2004–2014 2022

[152]

NFL All-Decade and Anniversary team selections

Tom Brady, John Hannah, and Bill Belichick are among the rare list of people to have been named to multiple NFL All-Decade Teams. Each were also named to the prestigious NFL 100th Anniversary Team, all primarily for their time with the Patriots. Hannah was also selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary Team.

The following Patriots were named to the AFL All-Time Team (1960–1969), as well any NFL All-Decade Team after the AFL–NFL merger in 1970 (and NFL 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time Teams, selected in 1994 and 2019, respectively).[153] Only those who spent time with New England during the respective decades are listed for All-Decade team selections.

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Patriots All-Decade teams

Starting in 2010, every ten years the Patriots Hall of Fame committee will release an all-decade team to celebrate the greatest members of the team at every position during each respective decade. The committee has retroactively released all-decade teams for every decade prior to the 2000s.[154]

1960s (AFL)

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:[155] Additional selections for returner, special teamer, and coach were added in 2009:[156]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Known affectionately as "Mr. Patriot", Gino Cappelletti was one of the franchise's first star players, playing from the inaugural season until the 1970 season. He then remained close to the team as broadcaster until 2012.
Boston Patriots All-1960s Team (1971)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

1970s

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:[156]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Sam "Bam" Cunningham is the franchise's all-time rushing yards leader. He was the leading rusher of the historical 1978 team, in which the Patriots achieved an NFL record 3,165 total rushing yards as a team. This league record stood until 2019, when the Baltimore Ravens surpassed the record.
New England Patriots All-1970s Team (2009)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

1980s

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:[156]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Steve Grogan's 16 seasons with the Patriots is second only to Tom Brady. He was known as one of the toughest players of his era, with his willingness to scramble out of the pocket as well as his prowess to come back from multiple injuries sustained in an era with much less player safety.
New England Patriots All-1980s Team (2009)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

1990s

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:[156]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Adam Vinatieri began his long and storied career as a kicker with the New England Patriots, kicking multiple, franchise-defining kicks to help the Patriots reach and win three Super Bowls. Vinatieri kicked two famous field goals in the Tuck Rule Game in blizzard-like conditions, as well as the game-winning field goals in the Patriots' first two Super Bowl victories.
New England Patriots All-1990s Team (2009)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

2000s

On March 16, 2010, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected an all-decade team for the 2000s:[155][157]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Wes Welker, despite being undrafted and undersized, broke barriers and re-defined the slot receiver position in the NFL. He holds the franchise's career receptions record (672), single-season receptions record (123 in 2009), and single-season receiving yards record (1,569 yards in 2011).
New England Patriots All-2000s Team (2010)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

2010s

On April 29, 2020, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected an all-decade team for the 2010s:[158]

 
Rutgers product Devin McCourty, one of the defensive back-bones of the 2010s teams. A long-time Patriot, McCourty is considered one of the greatest leaders to ever don a Patriots uniform, he has been named a team captain every year of his career since after his rookie season. His contributions have led to his role in three Super Bowl championships.
New England Patriots All-2010s Team (2020)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Coach Coach

Patriots Anniversary teams

Periodically, the Patriots Hall of Fame committee will release an anniversary team to celebrate the greatest members of the team at every position up to the year of publication.[c][159]

35th Anniversary team (1994)

In 1994, a group of local media selected a 35th anniversary team:[155]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Steve Nelson was a defensive anchor for the Patriots for 14 seasons at linebacker. He led the Patriots in tackles in eight of his 14 seasons, including an unofficial team record of 207 in 1984.
New England Patriots 35th Anniversary Team (1994)
Unit Position Players
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Coverage

50th Anniversary team (2009)

In 2009, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected a 50th anniversary team:[155]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Rodney Harrison joined the team after the Patriots failed to repeat as champions in the 2002 season. His phenomenal play, mental toughness and work ethic was a perfect fit and led to Harrison having a big role in the Patriots winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 2003 and 2004.
New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team (2009)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Captains Captains
Coach Coach

All-Dynasty team (2001–2019)

On October 22, 2020, the Patriots Hall of Fame selection committee selected an "All-Dynasty Team" to celebrate the greatest members of the team at every position during the Patriots dynasty from 2001–2019:[160][161]

Bold indicates those elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 
Vince Wilfork was drafted in the 2004 NFL draft and contributed immediately. Wilfork is known as one of the greatest nose tackles in NFL history, and was a favorite amongst teammates and fans alike. A member of two Super Bowl winning teams, Wilfork was the only Patriots player besides Tom Brady to have won in both halves of the dynasty (2004 and 2014).
New England Patriots All-Dynasty Team (2001–2019)
Unit Position Players & Coach
Offense Quarterback
Running Back
Wide Receiver
Tight End
Offensive Line
Defense Defensive Line
Linebacker
Cornerback
Safety
Special Teams Kicker/Punter
Returner
Coverage
Long snapper
Coach Coach

Pro Bowl selections

The following Patriots players have been named to the Pro Bowl (or the AFL All-Star game prior to 1970):[162]

Two Patriots has been named Pro Bowl MVP, Vito "Babe" Parilli in 1966 (AFL), and Ty Law as co-MVP in 1998.

In addition to the players, three Patriots coaches have participated in the Pro Bowl as conference coaches. Mike Holovak in 1963 and 1966 (AFL), Chuck Fairbanks in 1978, and Bill Belichick in 2006 and 2010.

 
Special teams gunner Matthew Slater, known as one of the greatest special teams players ever, holds the record for most Pro Bowls selections of any special teams player with 10.

First-team All-Pro selections

The following Patriots players have been named AP First-team All-Pro (or All-AFL prior to 1970):[162]

 
Former cornerback Stephon Gilmore was an integral member of the Patriots' late 2010s defense, achieving 2x First-team All-Pro honors and the franchise's first NFL DPOY recipient in 2019.

All-time first-round draft picks

Administration and personnel

 
Robert Kraft, a Massachusetts native and a Patriots fanatic before purchasing the team, bought the Patriots in 1994.

Ownership

The Patriots have had four owners since becoming a franchise, the first being Massachusetts native Billy Sullivan from 1959 to 1988. During Sullivan's 28 seasons of owning the club, the Patriots tallied 14 winning records, made six playoff appearances, played in the 1963 AFL Championship Game and represented the AFC in Super Bowl XX. However, he was also notoriously cheap, and would cause friction with some his high-profile players who were seeking to be respected and paid what they were worth, causing some like future Pro Football Hall of Famer Mike Haynes to seek an owner who was team first.[163]

Following his bankruptcy, Sullivan sold the team to Remington Products owner Victor Kiam in 1988.[164] The sale did not include Foxboro Stadium, which Sullivan lost in a bankruptcy sale to paper magnate Robert Kraft, and Kiam lost money on the deal. In 1990, Lisa Olson, a Boston Herald reporter, sued Kiam and the Patriots when Zeke Mowatt allegedly exposed himself and made lewd comments to her in the team change room. The incident stirred debate over female reporters in the locker room. Kiam became the center of the controversy when he came to the defense of the players' actions.[165]

In his later career, Kiam's business interests moved on from the Patriots, so he sold them in 1992 to St. Louis businessman James Orthwein. During his ownership, Orthwein hired Bill Parcells as head coach and oversaw the drafting of first-overall draft pick quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who helped to return the moribund franchise to respectability. He planned to relocate the Patriots franchise to St. Louis, renaming the team the St. Louis Stallions. However, those plans were derailed when Boston paper magnate Robert Kraft, owner of Foxboro Stadium, refused to accept a buyout of the lease. Kraft used his ownership of the stadium to stage a hostile takeover, offering to pay $175 million for the Patriots franchise knowing that Orthwein no longer wanted the team if he could not move it to St. Louis. Although future St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke offered to buy the team for $200 million and move it to St. Louis, Orthwein would have been saddled with all moving expenses. He also would have been responsible for any legal expenses as well, and Kraft had already made it clear that he would go to court to enforce the lease. With no other choice, Orthwein accepted Kraft's bid on January 21, 1994.[166]

Kraft had been a life-long fan (he was a season ticket holder since 1971) before he purchased the team and intended to support them much more than all of the previous owners did, making multiple moves that have turned New England into an admirable franchise since. The Patriots under Kraft have been the NFL's most successful franchise since 1994. Since then, the Patriots have appeared in ten Super Bowls, have won six, and had numerous league records established by the franchise.[167][168]

Name Tenure Record Titles
W L T
Billy Sullivan 19601987 193 202 9
Victor Kiam 19881991 21 43 0
James Orthwein 19921993 7 25 0
Robert Kraft 1994–present 308 141 0 6

Head Coaches

 
Bill Belichick, head coach since 2000, has led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles. He is widely known as one of the greatest coaches of all time, and is generally known as the greatest Patriots coach of all time.

The Patriots have had 14 head coaches throughout their history as a franchise. Bill Belichick has the longest tenure as head coach (23 seasons) with the Patriots, and has been coach since 2000. He has been widely considered one of the greatest coaches of all time, and was named a member of the NFL 100th All-Time Anniversary Team, due to his countless accomplishments with the Patriots. He has specifically led the Patriots to 17 AFC East division titles, 13 appearances in the AFC Championship Game, and nine Super Bowl appearances, with a record six wins.

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 290.[169] He is one of only three head coaches who have won six NFL titles.[170] He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons.[171] Belichick has led the team for more regular season games (336), post-season games (41) and more complete seasons (22) than any other head coach. His 254 wins with the Patriots are far and away the most in franchise history, more than three times those of runner-up Mike Holovak.

Belichick was acquired in a "trade" with the rival New York Jets. Belichick did not want to be under Bill Parcells' authority there in 2000, with uncertainty of his role once their owner, Leon Hess, died. The initial promise was that Belichick would've been granted extreme authority over all of the Jets executive decisions, but when Hess passed away Parcells overruled the stipulation with loopholes, so he would remain in control as GM, leading to Belichick's infamous resignation in 2000. Parcells, a two winning Super Bowl champion coach with the New York Giants (also was an assistant with the Patriots in the early 1980s), had joined New England's staff for the 1993 season to help resurrect the franchise from its dark early 1990s days but had conflicted interests with owner Robert Kraft.[172] In his last year with the Patriots in 1996, Parcells brought in his assistant head coach from his Giants days, Belichick, after being dismissed from coaching five seasons with the Cleveland Browns. Here, Kraft would plant the seeds of a bond between he and Belichick, as Belichick would often mediate issues between Kraft and Parcells. Although Belichick left in 1997 to once again be Parcells assistant in their Jets regime, cold feet about his long-term role there brought him back after negotiating with Kraft, even though he was still under contract with the Jets.[173] The Patriots had technically "tampered" in communicating with Belichick. For compensation, the Patriots gave the Jets their first round pick in the 2000 NFL draft, where even without their first round pick, the Patriots would coincidentally draft Tom Brady in the sixth round, widely regarded as the greatest quarterback of all time and the NFL's greatest draft steal.

While Belichick led the team to nine of their eleven Super Bowl appearances, winning six of them, before him the Patriots saw some championship game appearances. Holovak, Raymond Berry and Parcells all led the Patriots to league championship games, with only one coach failing to reach the Super Bowl. Five Patriots head coaches, Holovak, Chuck Fairbanks, Berry, Parcells, and Belichick, have been named coach of the year by at least one major news organization. The first head coach in franchise history was Lou Saban, who coached them to a 7–12–0 record in the 1960/1961 season. Additionally, Raymond Berry is a member (as a player) of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1973, eleven years before he became the Patriots' head coach.[174]

Name Tenure Record Titles
W L T
Lou Saban 19601961 7 12 0
Mike Holovak 19611968 52 49 9
Clive Rush 19691970 5 16 0
John Mazur 19711972 9 21 0
Phil Bengtson* 1972 1 4 0
Chuck Fairbanks 19731978 46 39 0
Ron Erhardt 19791981 21 28 0
Ron Meyer 19821984 18 15 0
Raymond Berry 19841989 48 39 0
Rod Rust 1990 1 15 0
Dick MacPherson 19911992 8 24 0
Bill Parcells 19931996 32 32 0
Pete Carroll 19971999 27 21 0
Bill Belichick 2000–present 254 99 0 6

*Interim head coaches

Front office
  • Chairman/CEO – Robert Kraft
  • President – Jonathan Kraft
  • Director of player personnel – Matt Groh
  • Personnel coordinator – Brian Smith
  • Director of scouting – Eliot Wolf
  • Director of pro scouting – Steve Cargile
  • Director of college scouting – Camren Williams
  • Director of scouting administration – Nancy Meier
  • Director of football/head coach administration – Berj Najarian
  • Associate director of football administration – Bobby Brown
  • Director of research – Richard Miller
Head coach
Offensive coaches
 
Defensive coaches
Special teams coaches
  • Special teams coordinator – Cameron Achord
  • Special teams assistant – Joe Houston
Strength and conditioning

Coaching staff
Management
More NFL staffs

Offensive coordinator history

Source:[175]

Years Name
2012–2021 Josh McDaniels
2011 Bill O'Brien
2006–2008 Josh McDaniels
2000–2004 Charlie Weis
1998–1999 Ernie Zampese
1997 Larry Kennan
1993–1996 Ray Perkins
1991–1992 Dick Coury
1990 Jimmy Raye II
1982–1984 Lew Erber
1977–1978 Ron Erhardt
1973–1976 Red Miller

Defensive coordinator history

Source:[175]

Years Name
2012–2017 Matt Patricia
2006–2009 Dean Pees
2005 Eric Mangini
2001–2004 Romeo Crennel
1997–1999 Steve Sidwell
1993–1996 Al Groh
1991–1992 Joe Collier
1990 Charlie Sumner
1983–1987 Rod Rust
1982 Jim E. Mora
1980–1981 Fritz Shurmur
1973–1978 Hank Bullough

Culture

Patriots fans rallying in celebration of the team's Super Bowl XXXVIII championship in front of Boston City Hall in 2003 (left). Patriots fans in attendance for the victory parade of Super Bowl LI on Boylston St., Boston in 2017 (right).

Cheerleaders

 
The team's cheerleading squad performing a routine in 2007

The Patriots' professional cheerleading squad is the New England Patriots Cheerleaders which represents the team in the NFL.[176] Notable alumni of the cheerleading squad include wrestler Carmella[177] and model Camille Kostek.[178] Long-time cheerleading director Tracy Sormanti, who was the cheer director since 1994 and had been involved with the organization since 1983, passed away after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma in 2020. She was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2021 as a contributor.[179]

Mascots

 
Pat Patriot in 2009

The Patriots' official mascot since 1995 has been Pat Patriot, a revolutionary minuteman wearing a Patriots home jersey based off the original logo of the same name.[180]

The Patriots also employ a corps known as the End Zone Militia, a group of American Revolutionary War reenactors founded in 1996 by Geoff Campbell, a reenactor for the 9th Massachusetts Regiment (26th Continental Regiment).[181] Consisting of about 30 men and women, they dress 20 for each home game and split themselves into two groups of 10 lining the back of either end zone. When the Patriots score – whether it be a touchdown, field goal, point-after-touchdown or safety – the militia behind the opposite end zone fire a volley of blanks from flintlock muskets. Per an interview with the Loren & Wally Show on WROR 105.7 FM in and around the time of Super Bowl XLIX, said shots use double the load of black powder than a regular historical reenactor does, specifically 200 grains, in order to be heard throughout the stadium. ESPN writer Josh Pahigian named this one of the top ten celebrations in the league in 2007.[182]

Entrance theme

Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" has become an unofficial theme song and entrance anthem for the Patriots at their home games and Super Bowls, starting when they hosted the NFL Kickoff at Gillette Stadium on September 8, 2005.[183][184]

Radio and television

 
Map of New England Patriots radio affiliates

The Patriots' flagship radio station is WBZ-FM (98.5 FM, otherwise known as "The Sports Hub"),[185] owned by Beasley Broadcast Group.[186] The larger radio network is called the New England Patriots Radio Network, whose 37 affiliate stations span seven states.[185] Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti were the longtime announcing team until their retirement following the conclusion of the 2012 NFL season. Santos was replaced by Bob Socci.[185] Former Patriots QB Scott Zolak joined the radio team in the 2011 season as a sideline analyst, and in 2013, he replaced Cappelletti as color commentator.[185]

Any preseason games not on national television are shown on CBS's O&O WBZ-TV, who also airs the bulk of Patriots regular-season games by virtue of CBS having the rights to most AFC games; CBS also has a presence at the nearby Patriot Place with the "CBS Scene" bar and restaurant. During the regular season whenever the Patriots host an NFC team, the games are aired on Fox affiliate WFXT-TV, and NBC Sunday Night Football games are carried by Boston NBC station WBTS-CD.[185] Preseason games were broadcast on ABC affiliate WCVB-TV from 1995 until the change to WBZ in 2009 (WCVB continues to simulcast ESPN's Monday Night Football games featuring the Patriots).[185] Don Criqui was play-by-play announcer for the 1995–2012 seasons, with Randy Cross as a color commentator and Mike Lynch as a sideline reporter.[185] Lynch was replaced by WBZ reporter Steve Burton in 2009.[185]

Controversies

Snowplow Game

During a December 12, 1982 home game against the Miami Dolphins under icy conditions, the game remained scoreless until the fourth quarter when Patriots head coach Ron Meyer motioned to snowplow operator Mark Henderson to specifically clear a spot on the field for New England kicker John Smith so he could kick what proved to be the game-winning 33-yard field goal to give the Patriots a 3–0 win. At the time, an emergency ground rule was put into play where the officials could call time-out and allow the ground crew to use a snowplow to clear the yard markers, but not plow often enough to keep the field clear. Dolphins head coach Don Shula, believing it to be against the league rules, pointed out that the league's unfair act clause allowed the league to overturn it, and met with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle several days later to formally protest the game result. Although Rozelle agreed with Shula that the use of the plow gave the Patriots an unfair advantage, he said that he had never reversed the result of a game and was not going to start doing so for any reason, including cheating.[187] Henderson, a convict on work release, jokingly remarked, "What are they gonna do, throw me in jail?"[188][189]

The following year, the NFL banned the use of snowplows on the field during a game. The Patriots has commemorated the game with an exhibit at the Hall at Patriot Place within Gillette Stadium, where the plow itself hangs from the ceiling.[190]

Spygate

During the 2007 season, the New England Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping New York Jets' defensive coaches' signals from an unauthorized location during a September 9, 2007 game.[191][192] Videotaping opposing coaches is not illegal in the NFL de jure, but there are designated areas allowed by the league to do such taping. After an investigation, the NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, which would have been the 31st pick of the draft.[193]

Deflategate

During the 2015 AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, allegations arose that the Patriots were using under-inflated footballs. It was even suggested that the Patriots' staff themselves deliberately deflated the footballs to give their team an unfair advantage during the playoffs.[194][195] A lengthy investigation and heated debate commenced shortly afterwards, with a full report being published in May 2015.[196][197] The Wells Report found that balls provided by the Patriots, who were the home team, indeed had less pressure on average than the balls provided by the Colts. Also notable was the findings of some suggestions of communication between Tom Brady and two Patriots locker room attendants, indicating Brady was likely "generally aware" of the situation and that the Patriots staff intentionally deflated the footballs.[197] A later study by the American Enterprise Institute called the evidence and methodology of the Wells report "deeply flawed" and "unreliable".[198]

In the aftermath of the incident, the NFL suspended Brady without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season, fined the Patriots $1 million, and forced them to forfeit their 2016 first round draft pick and 2017 fourth round draft pick. Brady appealed his suspension, which was eventually vacated by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, only for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to reinstate it a year later for the 2016 NFL season.[199] Brady eventually agreed to serve the suspension in 2016, but led the Patriots to win Super Bowl LI in spite of it.[200]

See also

Notes and references

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Seau was also a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team for his time outside of New England.
  2. ^ As a part of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Jones was listed as a linebacker (LB) due to his time with the Arizona Cardinals, in New England however he was specifically listed as a defensive end (DE).
  3. ^ The 35th Anniversary team in 1994 was selected exclusively by local media with no additions from the Patriots Hall of Fame committee.

Citations

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  2. ^ "New uniforms unveiled". Patriots.com. NFL Enterprises, LLC. May 25, 2000. Archived from the original on February 2, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2021. Exactly what do colors Nautical Blue and New Century Silver look like? Find out Saturday evening, May 27, right here on Patriots.com. We'll show you exactly what the new uniforms look like after they are unveiled at the WBCN River Rave concert at Foxboro stadium.
  3. ^ "New England Patriots Team Capsule" (PDF). 2021 Official National Football League Record and Fact Book. NFL Enterprises, LLC. August 11, 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 8, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2021.
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  6. ^ "NFL: Why the New England Patriots' 'evil empire' is back". BBC Sport. November 21, 2021.
  7. ^ "Boston TE party: Gronkowski unstoppable for Patriots". NFL.com. January 19, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
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Further reading

External links