In November of 1959, Billy Sullivan Jr secured the eighth and final initial franchise awarded by the American Football League for his native city of Boston. Local fans suggested the Patriots name more than any other and so it was the nickname ultimately chosen. In 1971, the full name was changed to the New England Patriots. The Sullivan family would own the team until 1988, when it was purchased by Victor Kiam, the owner of Remington Products. Four years later, he sold the team to James Orthwein, who then resold it to the current owner Robert Kraft in 1994. During the AFL years, they struggled to find a permanent place for their home games, temporarily playing in Fenway Park before finally settling into Foxboro Stadium in 1971. Gillette Stadium was constructed in 2002 and is now their current home.
On the field, the Boston Patriots would reach only one AFL Championship Game, in 1963, but were thrashed by the San Diego Chargers, 51-10. After the AFL-NFL merger, they were placed in the AFC East division, where they still remain. They finally made it to another championship game, earning a spot in Super Bowl 20 under head coach Raymond Berry, but were blown out by the Chicago Bears, 46-10. Bill Parcells, who had gained success with the New York Giants, was hired as the head coach in 1993, and eventually led the team to a birth in Super Bowl 31, where they were knocked off by the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. It wasn’t until 2000, when Bill Belichick was brought in as head coach, that the Patriots were able to win a championship, claiming victories in Super Bowls 36, 37, & 39, guided by quarterback Tom Brady. Unfortunately, their undefeated season in 2007 culminated with a 17-14 loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42. They suffered the same outcome when they faced the Giants in Super Bowl 46, falling 21-17. Under the leadership of Kraft, Belichick, & Brady, the team still remains a perennial contender.
Along with Sullivan, longtime Patriots John Hannah (guard) and Andre Tippett (linebacker) are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Sources: nfl.com, profootballhof.com, and wikipedia.org