Football enthusiasts throughout New England are beyond ecstatic over the Super Bowl events that recently occurred. Yes, posterity will regard February 1, 2015, as a most remarkable day.
Yet, did you know the Patriots have maintained an intriguing history since their inception? Let’s look at several ins and outs surrounding this amazing team.
In 1959, several businessmen, spearheaded by William Sullivan, Jr., acquired the final franchise in the American Football League (AFL). In 1960, the team would become known as the Boston Patriots and play at Boston University Field. An image of a blue, tri-corner hat became their logo. Regrettably, the Patriots lost their opening game that year.
In 1961, the Boston Patriots logo changed. A Revolutionary War minuteman holding a football would now symbolize the team (the representation was coined Pat Patriot). In 1963, the Boston Patriots began playing home games at Fenway Park (what?). This was a good year, as they would come to win their first division crown. However, they lost the AFL title to the San Diego Chargers.
The Boston Patriots changed fields two additional times before settling in Foxborough, Massachusetts. In 1970, the National Football League (NFL) and American Football League merged. In 1971, the Boston Patriots became known as the New England Patriots. They played their first game at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, overpowering the New York Giants 20 to 14.
In 1982, Schaefer Stadium was renamed Sullivan Stadium. In 1988, Remington Products, Inc. CEO, Victor Kiam, bought the Patriots from the Sullivan family but sold the team to James Orthwein in 1992. Robert Kraft, current owner of the Patriots, purchased the franchise in 1994. Mr. Kraft is husband to the now-deceased, beloved philanthropist, Myra Kraft. Myra Kraft was born and raised in Worcester.
In 1993, the team again changed its logo. The minuteman representation remained, but the Revolutionary War figure would now bear a head-only shot with a star in the front of his hat and red, white, and blue colors flowing from the back. Interestingly, this logo would come to be known as Flying Elvis. In the year 2000, the blue portion of the logo was darkened; otherwise the design remains the same today.
In January 2000, Bill Belichick was hired by Robert Kraft to be the team’s head coach. In September 2002, the Patriots celebrated the grand opening of their new home, Gillette Stadium. The state-of-the-art facility is located in Foxborough and seats over 68,000 people.
The Patriots won their first-ever NFL Super Bowl title in 2002. They also took championship trophies in 2004, 2005, and, of course, 2015. Drew Bledsoe and Tom Brady were the key quarterbacks in the 2001-02 season, with Brady leading the team to their first championship triumph and subsequent Super Bowl victories.
Undoubtedly, 2015 will go down in the annals of sports history as a very good year in these parts: yes, there are scores of reasons to celebrate. True, the Patriots may have taken more than a few years to build a winning record. Still, to a number of New England fans, they’ve always been winners.