|A little ways southwest of Boston is the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts, home to the NFL's New England Patriots. Throughout its history the Patriots organization has experienced varying levels of success, but in recent years it has become of the elite franchises in the league.
The Patriots were founded in 1959 as the eighth and final team of the fledgling AFL. The Patriots' fortunes in the AFL were not particularly noteworthy, although the team did play in one AFL Championship game, losing 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers. 13 years would pass before the Patriots appeared in the post season again.
During the 1980s the Patriots enjoyed a string of successful seasons including a trip to Super Bowl XX in 1986. Despite an unstable quarterback situation, the Patriots enjoyed the services of Pro Bowl running back Craig James and a very good offensive line, including future Hall of Famer John Hannah. On the defense the Patriots ha d a number of outstanding players including future Hall of Famer linebacker Andre Tippett. Nevertheless, the Patriots were soundly defeated by the Chicago Bears 46-10.
The Patriots returned to the Super Bowl in 1997 under the guidance of coach Bill Parcells and quarterback Drew Bledsoe. The game was competitive early, but in the end the Green Bay Packers won 35-21.
The Patriots have since returned to the Super Bowl four times. In 2002, the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17. In 2004 and 2005 the Patriots won consecutive Super Bowls, first by defeating the Carolina Panthers 32-29, then by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
In 2008 the Patriots played in Super Bowl XLII (42) against the New York Giants. After going through the regular season undefeated, the Patriots were widely expected to finish a perfect season with a win in the Super Bowl. The Giants, however, held the highest scoring offense in league history to a paltry 14 points in their 17-14 defeat of the Patriots.
AFL Championship Game and Super Bowl Appearances:
1963 (AFL Championship): Lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers
1986 (Super Bowl XX): Lost 46-10 to the Chicago Bears
1997 (Super Bowl XXXI): Lost 35-21 to the Green Bay Packers
2002 (Super Bowl XXXVI): Won 20-17 over the St. Louis Rams
2004 (Super Bowl XXXVIII): Won 32-29 over the Carolina Panthers
2005 (Super Bowl XXXIX): Won 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles
2008 (Super Bowl XLII): Lost 17-14 to the New York Giants
Hall of Famers:
Nick Buoniconti, Linebacker (1962-1968)
John Hannah, Guard (1973-1985)
Mike Haynes, Cornerback (1976-1982)
Andre Tippett, Linebacker (1982-1993)
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