New England Patriots

The New England Patriots had a rough start: Without their own stadium they moved from one place to another for almost a decade and also didn’t have many playoff appearances. But forty years after the founding the team reached the top of the league: The Patriots surprisingly won Super Bowl in 2001.

23 years after the Redskins had left Boston and went to Washington, the professional football returned to the city: The businessman Billy Sullivan Jr. got a license for a new AFL franchise. In memory of the glorious past of the city as the cradle of the American Revolution, the team received the sounding name Boston Patriots.

During the first decade of its existence, the Patriots were busy with their the unsuccessful search for their own stadium: 1960 and 1961 they played at Boston University Field, 1962 in Harvard, then from 1963 to 1969 at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, and in 1970 at Harvard again. The year 1971 finally brought two major changes and a change for the better: The team was renamed to New England Patriots and finally found their new how in Foxboro, 25 miles south of Boston.

Despite their constant search for a stadium, the Patriots played in the AFL in the upper-half of the table from the start. With kicker and wide receiver Gion Cappeletti, the Patriots had a star around which the first two coaches of the Patriots, Lou Saban and Mike Holovak formed their team. But the quality of the team sufficed only once, in 1963, to qualify for the AFL Championship Game. However, the Patriots clearly lost to the San Diego Chargers with 55:10.

Following the merger of the AFL and NFL, the Patriots disappeared temporarily in the lows of the American Football Conference, from where they only returned in the late 1970s. In 1984, the former wide receiver Raymond Berry-Star took over the team and led it to unknown heights: Already in its second season, the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, however they were defeated by the Chicago Bears with 46:10, but it was amazing to watch the New England Patriots this season.

In the years after that that both the owners and the coaches changed regularly in Foxboro. James Orthwein, one of the short-term owners even almost moved the team to St. Louis in the early 1990s. With head coach Bill Parcells and owner Robert Kraft the team finally settled down again in 1993 and 1994. Parcells, who had led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories, could sign a number of outstanding players for the Patriots by using a clever strategy in various drafts, for example quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 1993. Along with this, Parcells led the Patriots to their second Super Bowl game in 1996, where they lost gain, though. This time against the Green Bay Packers.

In 1999, Bill Belichick was hired as the new head coach and he finally led the Patriots to some important titles at the start of the new millennium: Under the direction of the unknown quarterback Tom Brady, which Bledsoe had replaced after an injury, the Patriots surprised the entire NFL and beat the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI with 20:17 after a field goal by kicker Adam Vinatieri seven seconds before the game ended. Two years later the Patriots won a second title with almost the identical scenario: Again, Vinatieri kicked a field goal for a 32:29 triumph over the Carolina Panthers. And a year later, they defended the title against the Philadelphia Eagles. Since then the New England Patriots are one of the most successful teams in NFL history.

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