Get ready for this weekend’s AFC Championship game with some facts on one of the contenders. Here is some interesting New England Patriots trivia to prepare you.
- The team was a charter member of the American Football League (later merged into the NFL) in 1960 and was known as the Boston Patriots. When it joined the NFL a decade later, it began play in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which is 21 miles from Boston and 20 from Providence, Rhode Island. Now a regional team, the team became the Bay State Patriots for a month, and then the New England Patriots.
- The Patriots played in the first ever AFL preseason exhibition game, as well as the first AFL regular season game. On July 30, 1960, they defeated the Buffalo Bills in the former, and on Sept. 9, 1960, lost to the Denver Broncos in the latter.
- There have been lots of draft busts in NFL history—college standouts picked high that falter in the pros. Longtime Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is probably the biggest opposite-of-a-draft-bust. He was selected #199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft. He became the Patriots’ fourth-string quarterback, but in 2001, after injuries and a lackluster start by Bledsoe, Brady got his chance to shine. He became one of the most successful NFL stars ever, leading the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories. (He’s also one of only five QBs to ever…host Saturday Night Live.)
- Head coach Bill Belichick is so closely associated with the Patriots that it’s hard to imagine him coaching anywhere else. But he’s been coaching in the pros since the 1970s, as an assistant or special teams coach for the Colts, Lions, Broncos, Giants, Browns, and Jets. He was promoted from defensive backs coach to head coach of the New York Jets in 1999. Belichick was then offered the head coaching job in New England, which he accepted. Time Belichick was head coach of the Jets: one day. He’s currently the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.
- When veteran all-star safety Adrian Wilson joined the Patriots in 2013, he wanted to use #24 on his jersey, as he had done for all of his 12-year professional career. However, that number was already taken by cornerback Kyle Arrington. So Wilson made him a deal: If Arrington let him have #24, he’d buy Arrington, the father of a new baby, a year’s supply of diapers. Arrington agreed and sure enough, a few days later a truckload of diapers arrived at his home. (He took on the #25, by the way.)