New England Patriots

New England Patriots helmet
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The New England Patriots who currently play in the AFC East Division of the NFL began their playing career in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, when they defeated the Buffalo Bills in the first ever AFL pre-season game on July 30th. Just over a month later on the 9th September they also had the distinction of playing the Denver Broncos in the first-ever AFL regular-season game which they lost 13-10.

During their first decade they struggled to find a suitable home playing at the Boston University Field in the 1960 and 1961 and at Harvard in 1962 &1970. While from 1963 to 1969, they played at the Boston Red Sox baseball stadium Fenway Park. With all this disruption it is no surprise that success was elusive and in 1963 they made their only AFL playoff appearance having won the Eastern Division.

In 1971 the team changed its name to the New England Patriots and moved to a new 60,764-seat stadium in the town of Foxboro where they play to this day.

Following the AFL-NFL merger, the Patriots joined the AFC East and had some success in the late 1970s reaching the playoffs twice in this decade. However it would take until the 1985 season for them to reach their 1st Super Bowl. Under Raymond Berry who took over the coaching job in 1984 they gained an 11-5 record and a wild-card berth. They then won three straight AFC playoff games on the road and advanced to Super Bowl XX. There they were unfortunate enough to come up against the Chicago Bears whose awesome defence held the Patriots to 123 yards of total offense in winning 46-10. They also made the playoffs the following season, winning the division but succumbing to the Denver Broncos in their first post season game.

The team then drifted until in 1994 Robert Kraft took over the team and the seeds of the dynasty franchise they would become were sown. Under experienced coach Bill Parcells the Patriots began to build a team through shrewd draft choices and after reaching the playoffs in 1994 the Patriots won the 1996 AFC Championship and earned a trip to their second Super Bowl where they lost to the Green Bay Packers. Further playoff appearances occurred in 1997 & 1998 and in 2001 they finally made the breakthrough as Bill Belichick pulled out a shock coaching achievement taking them from a 5-5 start to victory in Super Bowl XXXVI with a previously unknown Quarter Back Tom Brady.

Two more Super Bowl wins were to follow in the next three years and the Patriots have been consistently in the play offs for the rest of the decade. During this time they have setting a record 21 consecutive victories between October 2003 – October 2004; and in the 2007 season going undefeated during the 16 game regular season only to lose in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants so ending 18-1.

New England Patriots Honours

Super Bowl Champions

  • 2001 (XXXVI), 2003 (XXXVIII), 2004 (XXXIX)

Conference champions

  • AFC: 1985, 1996, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007

Division championships

  • AFL East: 1963
  • AFC East: 1978, 1986, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

Playoff appearances (16)

  • AFL: 1963, NFL: 1976, 1978, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

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