This chapter is more or less meant to introduce people to the Patriots from the beginning. On November 16, 1959 Billy Sullivan, a local Boston businessman, was awarded the 8th and final slot in the AFL (American Football League). Locals submitted ideas for the team name and on February 20th, 1960 and the Boston Patriots was soon chosen. Artist Phil Bissel created the iconic original Pat Patriot logo.
The Patriots time in the AFL was short but odd. While in the AFL they didn't have a home stadium. They played at Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, and Alumni Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Bills in the AFL divisional game in 1963 and made it all the way to the AFL Championship. A game they would get annihilated 51-10. The Patriots would miss the playoffs for the next 13 seasons. But in 1970 something big happened. The AFL-NFL merger took place. The Patriots were put in the AFC East division and remain there today.
In 1971 the Patriots make their move to Foxboro and also change their name to the "New England" Patriots to represent more of the region as the Northeast was short of professional sports. The team had mild success in the 70's earning a wild card birth in '76 and a playoff berth in '78 but losing both games. In 1985 however the Patriots made it all the way to the big game. The Super Bowl. Super Bowl 20 to be exact. The Pats were set the square off with the Chicago Bears. New England was doomed almost immediately after the 'Super Bowl Shuffle" came out. Just look it up. I'm not explaining it. Chicago demolished the Patriots 46-10. I know my dad wants to pretend this game didn't happen but it did. Sorry pops.
The Pats made the playoffs again in 1986 but lost in the first round. They would go on to miss the playoffs for the next 8 seasons. In 1988, entrepeneur and TV spokesman for Remington,Victor Kaim purchased the team. His tenure was short lived as he sold the team to James Orthwein in 1992. Orthwein came from quite the family. His mother was the grand daughter of Adolphus Busch, founder of Anheiser-Busch. Maybe you've heard of em. Orthwein was the owner for only two year but towards the end of his time as owner he wanted to abandon New England and take the team to St. Louis. I can think of 6 reasons I'm glad that never happened.
In 1994 Orthwein sold the team to Robert Kraft. A man now known simply as RKK. Robert Kraft was born June 5th, 1941. He owned the land surrounding Foxboro Stadium and was a season ticket holder of the Patriots before the opportunity arose to buy the team. Mr Kraft purchased the team for 172 million dollars which at the time was unheard of. Also quick flex, the team is now worth 4.1 billion. That's insane.
The Patriots transitioned to their blue jerseys the year before Mr Kraft took over and also adopted the "Flying Elvis" logo. The team made it to Super Bowl 31 on the back of Patriots Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Bledsoe. They were promptly beat 35-21. The next time they made the Super Bowl the outcome would shock the world. The next move Mr Kraft made was perhaps the best trade in Patriots history. On January 27, 2000 the Patriots traded 3 draft picks, including a 2000 first rounder, for 2 picks and Bill Belichick. Bill had resigned as the head coach of the Jets only a day after being named the head coach. The kicker? He resigned on a napkin. Dude is a savage.
Belichick's first year as a head coach did not go as planned at all. The Patriots ended the year 5-11 and people were starting to question Bill after only one year. Things changed pretty rapidly after the second game of the 2001 season. This is the game Mo Lewis became an accidental New England legend. With 5:03 left in the 4th quarter, Bledsoe ran along the right sideline before being leveled by Mo Lewis. Bledsoe ended up having internal bleeding injuries which put number 12 into the game for the first time. A backup QB from Michigan named Tom Brady. There's no way this kid is gonna be better than Bledsoe right? Right?