The New England Patriots spent four decades on the outside, looking in. An up and down history, the team saw three AFL/Super Bowl Championship Appearances in 1963, 1985, and 1996, but could never reach the crown as Champions.
For twenty-one seasons between 1964 and 1984, they made three playoff appearances, losing all three. They lost far more games than they won, and when they did win, they either missed the playoffs or were one and done.
Nothing seemed to work, regardless of their talented teams in the 1990s.
After a 5-11 season in 2000, no one gave the Patriots hope when some kid, a sixth-round draft pick named Tom Brady whose NFL Combine videos were the butt of jokes at the time, entered the field for an injured franchise quarterback named Drew Bledsoe.
No one gave Bill Belichick a chance, a coach who flamed out in Cleveland and later rekindled with his master named Bill Parcells, who retired from the New York Jets in 1998 and handed the job to Belichick.
Belichick would resign just a day after his introduction as head coach of the Jets.
Then came three Super Bowls in four seasons in 2001, 2003, and 2004.
Then came the 16-0 season in 2007, with a narrow loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl LII.
Then came another Super Bowl in 2011, and another loss to the Giants.
Then came the second round of Super Bowl victories in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
Then came the winningest NFL franchise of the 2000s and 2010s, a coach and quarterback often regarded as the greatest duo of all time, along with the greatest of all time in their respective categories.
Then came the 13 AFC Championship appearances.
Then came 16 AFC East Championships.
Then came the legends that will be remembered in 2119, when the NFL celebrates its 200th anniversary.
Six Super Bowls in 18 seasons, since Tom Brady became the starting quarterback in 2001 is an NFL record itself, while tying the record number of Super Bowl victories with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now that Tom Brady is 42 and returning once again, as is the 67-year-old Belichick, as they attempt to do what no other NFL franchise has done: Win a 7th Super Bowl.
New England Patriots Quick Hits
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Navy blue, red, silver
Tom Brady, Andre Tippett, Bruce Armstrong, Drew Bledsoe
Almost relocated in 1992 before Bob Kraft bought the franchise.
Main Article: Evolution of the New England Patriots Helmet
1961 – 1981
1982 – 1990
1991 – 1992
Main Article: History of the New England Patriots Jerseys
Prior to 1993
1994 – 1999