New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are a National Football League franchise. The Patriots, also known as the "Pats", are based in Foxboro, Massachusetts, and play in the Eastern Division of American Football Conference (AFC). Originally known as the Boston Patriots, in 1971 the franchise changed its name to the New England Patriots to better reflect its representation of the entire New England region.
The term perpetrated one of the longest and most elaborate frauds in sports history, by deflating footballs at the apparent request of its quarterback so that his relatively weak arm could handle and throw them with better control. The team was fined $1M and deprived of two draft picks for its scam and its quarterback, Tom Brady, was suspended for four games.
In 2013, Tim Tebow, one of the greatest conservative sports stars, was victimized by the team with a phony tryout probably to deflect attention from how one of its players had just been arrested (and later convicted) of committing murder.
The Patriots have gone to 11 Super Bowls and have won six (tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most by any team). Their first Super Bowl trip was in 1985 against the Chicago Bears, which they lost 42–10. In 1995 the Patriots made their second Super Bowl trip but fell short against the Green Bay Packers in a 35–21 loss. The Patriots' 2001 season ended in the team's first Super Bowl triumph when they defeated the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in a dramatic 21–17 victory. In 2003 and 2004, the Patriots once again were NFL Champions with Super Bowl victories over the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles.
In 2008 the Patriots had the chance to become the first team to go 19–0 and the second team to go undefeated in a regular and postseason. However, their run came to an end at 18-0 when they lost 17–14 to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
In the Patriots history as a team, they have experienced both sides of being an National Football League team – the losing – and the winning. In their early history as a team, the Patriots struggled just to get a winning record. Between the years 1960 and 1984 the team only made the playoffs four times, and only won one playoff game. The winds of fortunes seemed to be turning for the Patriots in 1985 though when for the first time in the teams history the Patriots won an AFC Championship Game and played in Super Bowl XX vs the Chicago Bears. The Patriots lost the game though and for the next eight years, without a solid, reliable quarterback, the team regressed into their pre-1985 form.
In 1993, the Patriots drafted with the first pick of the 1993 NFL Draft, University of Washington star quarterback, Drew Bledsoe. With Bledsoe now leading the team, the Patriots improved significantly and in 1996 the Patriots returned to the Super Bowl (Super Bowl XXXI vs the Green Bay Packers). Once again the Patriots lost but they didn't fall apart as a team and they continued to be a playoff contender throughout the late 1990s.
Plagued by inconsistent ownership, the team's fortunes changed when Robert Kraft, a long time season ticket owner, was able to buy the team. Kraft was able to do so by a series of events ultimately leading to his ownership:
- First, Kraft purchased an option on Foxboro Raceway, a horse-racing track; his ownership prevented the Patriots from operating non-team events when races where being held.
- Second, Kraft purchased Schaefer Stadium for $22 million out of bankruptcy court when the Patriots owner experienced financial trouble (notable sponsorship of the Jackson Five 1984 Victory tour, a financial disaster which also led to the Jacksons having family quarrels which were never resolved).
- Though Kraft attempted to purchase the Patriots at the same time he bought the stadium, by holding the lease he held leverage, preventing two attempted franchise relocations; after the second one he offered a then-record $172 million for outright ownership of the team which was accepted.
In 2000, the history of the Patriots quietly changed forever when Bill Belichick was appointed as the head coach and the Patriots drafted University of Michigan quarterback Tom Brady in the 6th round of the NFL Draft. The following year, 2001, Tom Brady became the Patriots starting quarterback and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory. Since 2001, the Patriots have been in the playoffs all but one year (2002, 9-7 record) and have won two more Super Bowls. The 2004-2005 Patriots teams also set a NFL record for most consecutive game won with 26 in a row.
In 2007, the Patriots became only the second team in NFL history to win all sixteen of their regular-season games (the first being the 1972 Miami Dolphins).
In the Patriots 2007 regular season opener vs the New York Jets, a Patriots employee, video assistant Matt Estrella, was caught video taping New York Jets defensive signals during the first quarter of the game. NFL security officials at the game confiscated Estrella's video camera and the video tape and sent it to the leagues headquarters to determine whether the Patriots were violating the NFL's videotaping policy. Days after the incident, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick apologized for the episode stating "I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players."
After a review of the video tape by the NFL's competition committee and commissioner Roger Goodell, Bill Belichick was fined 500,000 dollars and the Patriots organization 250,000 dollars. The leagues verdict also stated the Patriots would forfeit their 2008 NFL Draft first round pick if they made the playoffs in 2007, and if they failed to make the playoffs, their 2008 second and third round choices.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in his ruling, "This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field. I specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick. I have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension."
Belichick responded to the leagues verdict in a written statement that he accepted full responsibility for the incident and that he had been incorrect in his interpretation of the NFL's rules regarding sideline video taping.
Past Alleged Patriots Spying Incidents
After the incident became public, some NFL players and coaches stated that they believed that the Patriots may have used the same type of taping methods vs their teams. The only confirmed time that it actually happened however was on November 19, 2006, in a game between the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. The Packers claimed that during the game they had caught the same Patriots video assistant as in the Jets game, Matt Estrella, video taping the Packers coaches making defensive signals from the Patriots sideline. Packers security staff removed Estrella and his camera from the sideline but did not did not file a complaint over the taping because according to a Green Bay official, "everyone does it".
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Hines Ward, stated that he believed that the Patriots may have used the NFL violating taping methods against the Steelers in the 2002 and 2004 AFC Championship games. Ward said regarding the 2002 Championship game, "They knew a lot of our calls. There’s no question some of their players were calling out some of our stuff."
New York Giants defensive end, Michael Strahan said that the incident had tainted the Patriots three Super Bowl victory's while Indianapolis Colts head coach, Tony Dungy compared the Patriots spying to Barry Bonds alleged use of steroids.
New England Patriots seasons record
|1960||5||9||The Boston Patriots become one of eight teams to join the American Football League (AFL).|
|1963||7||6||1||1-1||Patriots lost in the AFL Championship game to the San Diego Chargers 51-10.|
|1966||8||4||2||Patriots running back Jim Nance rushes for 1,458 yards.|
|1970||2||12||0||Team moves from playing at Fenway Park to Boston College's Alumni Stadium.|
|1971||6||8||0||Team moves to Foxboro and changes its name from Boston Patriots to the New England Patriots.|
|1975||3||11||0||Steve Grogan becomes the starting quarterback for the Patriots.|
|1976||11||3||0||Patriots cornerback Mike Haynes wins the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.|
|1978||11||5||0||0-1||Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed in a preseason game vs the Oakland Raiders.|
|1982||5||4||0||Season was cut short by players strike|
|1984||9||7||0||Raymond Berry named as the Patriots coach.|
|1985||11||5||0||3-1||Lost in Super Bowl XX vs the Chicago Bears.|
|1986||11||5||0||0-1||Patriots Hall of Fame guard John Hannah retires.|
|1987||8||7||0||Victor Kiam buys the team from original owner Billy Sullivan.|
|1989||5||11||0||Head coach Raymond Berry fired.|
|1990||1||15||0||Worst season in Patriots history.|
|1991||6||10||0||60 year old Dick MacPherson becomes head coach.|
|1992||2||14||0||Businessman James Orthwein become the sole owner of the Patriots.|
|1993||5||11||0||Quarterback Drew Bledsoe is drafted by the Patriots|
|1994||10||6||0||0-1||Robert Kraft buys the Patriots|
|1995||6||10||0||Patriots third round pick Curtis Martin wins Offensive Rookie of the Year.|
|1996||11||5||0||2-1||Lost Super Bowl XXXI vs the Green Bay Packers|
|1997||10||6||0||1-1||Patriots lose 7-6 in the Division Round of the playoffs vs the Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1998||9||7||0||0-1||Patriots draft University of Georgia running back Robert Edwards.|
|1999||8||8||0||Pete Carroll's last year as Patriots head coach|
|2000||5||11||First season with Bill Belichick as head coach|
|2001||11||5||0||3-0||Defeated the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI|
|2002||9||7||0||Could have made the playoffs with a New York Jets loss, First season in Gillette Stadium|
|2003||14||2||0||3-0||Won Super Bowl XXXVIII vs the Carolina Panthers|
|2004||14||2||0||3-0||Defeated Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX|
|2005||11||5||0||1-1|| Backup quarterback Doug Flutie dropped kicks an
extra point in the last game season of the regular season
|2006||12||4||0||2-1||First 12-4 record in Patriots history|
|2007||16||0||0||2-1||First 16-0 team in NFL history; lost Super Bowl to the New York Giants|
|2008||11||5||0||QB Brady injured in season opener|
|2009||10||6||0||0-1||Team's 50th season|
|2011||13||3||0||2-1||Lost Super Bowl to the New York Giants|
- ESPN, Chris Mortensen, September 11, 2007, "Sources: Camera confiscated after claims of Pats spying on Jets"
- Boston Globe, Mike Reiss, September 11, 2007, "Rules in focus"
- Boston Globe, Mike Reiss, September 13, 2007, "A Sorry State, Belichick apologizes as probe continues"
- NFL.com, September 13, 2007, "NFL fines Belichick, strips Patriots of draft pick"
- Boston Globe, Mike Reiss, September 13, 2007, "Final Ruling"
- Boston Globe, Mike Reiss, September 13, 2007, "Belichick statement"
- ESPN, Chris Mortensen, September 10, 2007, "Sources: Camera confiscated after claims of Pats spying on Jets"
- Boston Herald, John Tomase, September 13, 2007, "Foes questioning Pats’ past"
- Associated Press, September 12, 2007, "Steelers' Ward suspected Patriots spying"
- Boston Herald, John Tomase, September 13, 2007, "Foes questioning Pats’ past"
- Boston Globe, Cliff Brunt, Associated Press Sports Writer, September 14, 2007, "Dungy compares Belichick spy scandal to Bonds steroid accusations"
Patriots News Websites