The home stadium of the National Football League (NFL) team, the New England Patriots, is in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is located 22 miles southwest of Boston. The New England Patriots are part of the American Football Conference's (AFC's) East Division, which also includes the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Miami Dolphins.
The Boston Patriots
When the team first formed, it was called the Boston Patriots. A businessman from the Boston area named Billy Sullivan Jr. started the franchise as part of the American Football League (AFL) in late 1959. In 1960, the team played in the AFL’s first preseason and regular-season games against the Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos. During that time, the team played in four different stadiums in Boston, including Boston University Field. Lou Saban was the team’s first head coach, and Harvey White, a quarterback from Clemson University, was its first player to sign a contract.
Sullivan didn’t choose the name Patriots himself but instead allowed the public to take part in a contest. The name was meant to represent the region’s deep-rooted history that played a role in the founding of the United States. It also led to the official team colors being red, white and blue. Phil Bissell, a cartoonist from the Boston area, designed the team’s first logo, a Patriot dressed in a red, white and blue uniform and centering a football as if he’s ready to snap it to the quarterback.
Switching to New England
The Patriots didn’t take on the New England name until a decade after the team was formed. In 1970, the AFL and NFL merged to create a 26-team league divided into the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). The new league required teams to have a stadium with a seating capacity of at least 50,000. That meant the Patriots had to move, but nothing could be found in Boston. They built a new stadium in Foxborough and changed the team's name to signal a new era for the Patriots, according to the owner's son, Pat Sullivan.
Notable Patriots Players and Coaches Throughout History
Since 1959, the Patriots have had many notable coaches and players, including quarterback Tom Brady who joined the team in 2000. Brady holds 54 NFL records including Super Bowl appearances, victories and MVPs. Other notable players include:
- John Hannah, an offensive lineman who played in nine Pro Bowls
- Linebacker Andre Tippett, who leads the team in sacks
- Cornerback Mike Haynes, a Pro Football Hall of Famer
- Wide receiver Stanley Morgan, the Patriot's all-time leader in receiving yards, yards per catch and touchdowns
- Cornerback Ty Law, who played a decade with the Pats including key roles in four Super Bowls
- Wide receiver Randy Moss, a record-breaker with 98 passes caught for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2007
Some of the team’s top coaches throughout the years include Bill Parcels, Raymond Berry, Chuck Fairbanks, Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Belichick joined the team in 2000 and helped lead them to win six Super Bowls by 2019.
Playoffs and Super Bowls
As of 2019, the New England Patriots have played in 57 playoff games, winning 37 of them. They’ve played in 11 Super Bowls, winning six of them in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019.
Who Owns the Patriots
Billy Sullivan Jr, who started the team, was its owner until 1987. In 1988, Remington Products CEO Victor Kiam purchased the team from Sullivan and owned it until 1991. Business executive James Orthwein purchased the team in 1992. And in 1994, Kraft Group CEO Robert Kraft purchased the team. Kraft still owns the team as of 2019.
Other Regional Teams
The New England Patriots name change from Boston to New England in 1970 indicates it represents an entire region of fans instead of one city. The New England region of the United States is made up of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The only other NFL team that is named for a region rather than a city or state is Carolina. While the Carolina Panthers play their home games in Charlotte, North Carolina, the team claims to represent fans in both North Carolina and South Carolina.