The Minutemen Who Return to Battle Every Sunday!
The celebration of America! The revolutionary minutemen who stood in front of the British and told them exactly where they could go…these were the men who allowed our country to be fresh, new and, most importantly – FREE!!
Not only did they find themselves as one of the largest parts of our history, but they also now find themselves represented on a football field. Don’t believe me? Well…East Coast people sure do. During each and every Patriot’s football home game, ten men dressed as these minutemen line the back of each end zone, and when the Pats score a touchdown, field goal, or point-after-touchdown, the militia raise their flintlock muskets and fire a round of blanks into the air – signaling that the Patriots are still very much alive in this world!
Our much-beloved men also play in a $350-million-dollar facility that is privately financed by Kraft. Not only that, but if fans are ever lucky enough to get there, the area around the stadium is stunning and has been developed into a true “lifestyle and entertainment center” called Patriot Place!
Now prior to 2002, the Patriots played in good old Foxboro where they began playing in 1971 – the team’s second year in the NFL after the AFL-NFL merger took place. During the days that they played in the American Football League, their name was the Boston Patriots and were hosted by a number of fields in or around Boston
The New England Patriots came into being, however, and they have never looked back since. The Pats, as they are commonly known, are THE professional football team based in the greater Boston area and play their games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The Pats were a semi-quiet team for a while, but soon the military fight was born deep inside these players and the team advanced to the playoffs four times before appearing in Super Bowl XX in January of 1986. Unfortunately, this resulted in a loss to the Chicago Bears. Then, in Super Bowl XXXI in January of 1997, their loss was to the Green Bay Packers. But history soon faded for the Pats, and they have now become one of the most successful teams in NFL history.
Currently these ‘come-back kids’ have appeared in six Super Bowls and can record the most appearances of any team in the last twenty-five years. If that’s not enough, the Pats set a record for most wins in a decade (2001-2010). And, the information that is most loved by all Pats’ fans, is the fact that they became the second team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in four years. Under Tom Brady at quarterback position and head coach, Bill Belichick, the Patriots have recorded the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history; twenty-one-games that stretched from October 2003 to October 2004.
But it all began back in 1959, when a Boston business executive by the name of Billy Sullivan was given the eighth and final franchise of the, then-new, AFL. And Sullivan knew how to get his fans involved. He even allowed the locals to choose their official name which, un-creatively, became the “Boston Patriots.“
Back then, football fans were unaware that in the future their beloved Patriots would become one of the best teams that the NFL has ever seen. In fact, at the beginning, the Patriots’ struggled for many, many years, simply because they never had a home stadium. But when the NFL and AFL merged their power and teams in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the AFC East division, where they still play today, and that is when they moved to their very own stadium which would serve them well for almost thirty years.
Oddly enough, it was the team name that was still a struggle for everyone. After the move, an announcement went out to the world that they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots – a name that was rejected by the NFL…thankfully. Soon, it was a final decision that the New England Patriots (a much better name) had been born!
A great deal of issues cropped up for the New England Patriots early on – especially when it came to ownership of the team. First owned by Sullivan, a man by the name of Victor Kiam bought them in 1988, then turned around and sold in 1992 to James Orthwein. Thankfully, for all New England fans, that is the sale that did not stick, seeing as that Orthwein was going to move the team to his native St. Louis – far from the New England shore. The one upside to Orthwein’s ownership, however, was the fact that he brought on Bill Parcells – the head coach of the New York Giants who had already proved he knew how to get a team into the ‘big game.’ In addition to hiring a better staff, Orthwein also made a change to the Patriots’ uniforms: Out went the traditional red and white, and in came the blue and silver, as well as a brand new logo.
Parcells, unfortunately, would not bring the luck he had with the Giants to the field of the Patriots. Losing to the ‘Pack’ in Super Bowl XXXI by a score of 35-21 – his successor would also bring upon a losing streak. Although taking the team to the playoffs twice in 1997 and 1998, there would be no wins.
Through all this, Robert Kraft came on board as the owner in 1994, and the Patriots’ current coach, Belichick, turned out to be the lost “solider” that the Patriots had needed. With this commander standing on the front lines, the three Super Bowl wins came, and in 2007, the Patriots actually finished the regular season with a perfect 16–0 record, becoming only the fifth team in league history to go undefeated in the regular season.
The biggest rivalry for the New England Patriots came in the form of another East Coast team. This rivalry with the Jets has been going on since 1970…and will never end.
It was in 1996 when the rivalry between the Jets and Patriots began to escalate. This was the year that Bill Parcells left the Patriots under controversy to become the head coach of the Jets. Then, oddly enough, four years later Parcells’ assistant, Belichick, resigned the day he was named the head coach of the Jets to become the head coach of the Patriots. Then…six years after that, an assistant under Belichick became the head coach of the Jets. Talk about confusing.
Then there came another rivalry as two star quarterbacks fought with one another in order to get to the Super Bowl and win it all. But this time, the Jets were absolutely innocent. Tom Brady was the fighter for the Pats, while Peyton Manning of the Colts fought hard, meeting three times in four years (2003, 2004, 2006) in the playoffs, with the winner going on to become that season’s Super Bowl champions every single time!
In the end, New England may have started off slowly – but when they found their home, their name, their uniform, and their ‘dream team,’ nothing could stop them!