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New England Patriots
On November 16, 1959, Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing American Football League (AFL). One week later, Northwestern University running back Ron Burton was selected as the franchise's first draft choice and Syracuse running back Gerhardt Schwedes was selected as the team's first territorial choice. In early 1960, former Boston College head coach Mike Holovak was named director of player personnel. Ed McKeever was hired as the team's first general manager, and he selected Lou Saban as the team's first head coach.
While the new team was hiring managers and coaches, a public contest was held to give the franchise a name. Thousands of entries were submitted to name the team and 74 fans suggested the winning name, the Boston Patriots. Shortly after the franchise name was chosen, Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell drew a cartoon of a Minuteman preparing to snap a football and owner Sullivan liked the drawing so much that he selected "Pat Patriot" as the team logo. On April 1, 1960, Boston University Field -- the former home of the Boston Braves -- was selected as the first home of the Boston Patriots.
The Patriots' first training camp opened on July 4, 1960, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The team's first preseason game was held on July 30, and the Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 28-7 at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. Patriots defensive end Bob Dee recovered a fumble during the game and scored the AFL's first touchdown. The first "home" game was held two weeks later before 11,000 fans at Harvard Stadium and the Patriots lost 24-14 to the Dallas Texans. The team's regular season home opener came on September 9, and 21,597 fans at Boston University field watched the team lose to the Denver Broncos 13-10.
The Patriots spent their first ten years moving from stadium to stadium -- Nickerson Field (1960-62), Fenway Park (1963-68), Alumni Stadium (1969), and Harvard Stadium (1970). In 1971, the team moved into a new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, where they remained until moving to Gillette Stadium in 2003.
When the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the AFC East division, where they remain today. As a result of the move, the Patriots announced they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots. That name was rejected by the NFL, however, and on March 23, 1971, the team officially announced they would become the New England Patriots.
The Patriots were owned by the Sullivan family until 1988, when the team was sold to Victor Kiam (also known for being the owner of Remington Products, and for his advertising tagline "I liked it (the Remington Razor) so much, I bought the company"). In 1992, Kiam sold the team to advertising mogul James Orthwein, who sold it to businessman Robert Kraft in 1994; Kraft still owns the team today.
The official website of the New England Patriots is www.patriots.com.
Pro-Football Reference www.pro-football-reference.com
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This page was last updated on November 16, 2018.