Boston, The City of Sports: The New England Patriots

We all know that American’s LOVE their football!

Since its the start of the pre-season, let’s learn more about one of Boston’s favorite teams:

The New England Patriots, commonly called the “Pats“, are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The team changed its name from the original Boston Patriots after relocating to Foxborough in 1971, although Foxborough is a suburb of Boston, 22 miles (35 km) away.

An original member of the American Football League (AFL), the Patriots joined the NFL in the 1970 merger of those leagues. The team advanced to the playoffs four times before appearing in Super Bowl XX in January 1986, losing to the Chicago Bears. The team also appeared in Super Bowl XXXI in January 1997, losing to the Green Bay Packers.

Between 2001 and 2005, the Patriots became the second team in NFL history (after the Dallas Cowboys) to win three Super Bowls in four years (Super Bowl XXXVI, XXXVIII, and XXXIX), and the eighth to win consecutive Super Bowls. The Patriots, however, were defeated by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, after winning the first 18 games of their 2007 season. Under quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have also compiled the longest winning streak consisting of regular season and playoff games in NFL history, a 21-game streak from October 2003–October 2004.

The Patriots have maintained a rivalry with the New York Jets, who have also been members of the AFC East since its inception in 1970. Prior to that, both teams competed in the American Football League since both teams’ foundings in 1960. The rivalry between the Jets and Patriots has escalated since 1996, when Patriots head coach Bill Parcells left the Patriots under controversy to become the head coach of the Jets. Four years later, Parcells’ assistant, Bill Belichick, resigned the day he was named the Jets’ head coach to become the head coach of the Patriots. Six years after that, Eric Mangini, an assistant under Belichick, became the head coach of the Jets.

Meanwhile, the rise of quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the early 2000s led to an increased rivalry between Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and Brady’s Patriots. The teams met three times in four years (2003, 2004, 2006) in the playoffs, with the winner going on to win that season’s Super Bowl each time.

The Patriots’ mascot is Pat Patriot, a revolutionary minuteman wearing a Patriots home jersey.

During each game, about 10 men dressed as minutemen line the back of each end zone. When the Patriots score a touchdown, field goal or point-after-touchdown, the militia behind the opposite end zone fire a round of blanks from flintlock muskets. ESPN writer Josh Pahigian named this one of the top ten celebrations in the league in 2007.

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