“DIARY OF A WINNER”


 

 

On November 16, 1959, Boston business executive Billy Sullivan was awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing American Football League (AFL). One week later, Northwestern University running back Ron Burton was selected as the franchise's first draft choice and Syracuse running back Gerhardt Schwedes was selected as the team's first territorial choice.  Three key personnel decisions were made in the winter of 1960. First, former Boston College head coach Mike Holovak was named director of player personnel. Ed McKeever was hired as the team's first general manager and he selected Lou Saban as the team's first head coach.

One of the first orders of business of the management group was giving the franchise a name and that was accomplished through a public contest. Thousands of entries were submitted to name the team and 74 fans suggested the winning name, the Boston Patriots. Shortly after the franchise name was chosen, Boston Globe artist Phil Bissell drew a cartoon of a Minuteman preparing to snap a football and owner Sullivan liked the drawing so much that he selected "Pat Patriot" as the team logo. On April 1, 1960, Nickerson Field, the former home of the Boston Braves, was selected as the first home of the Boston Patriots.  he organization's first training camp opened on July 4, 1960 at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Approximately 350 players reported to the opening of camp, including a large contingent from Boston College. This group would be trimmed to 35 for the start of the regular season. The team's first preseason game was held on July 30 and the Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 28-7 at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo. Patriots defensive end Bob Dee recovered a fumble during the game and scored the AFL's first touchdown. The first "home" game was held two weeks later before 11,000 fans at Harvard Stadium and the Patriots lost 24-14 to the Dallas Texans. The team's regular season home opener came on Sept. 9 and 21,597 fans at Nickerson field watched the team lose to the Denver Broncos 13-10.

BILLY SULLIVAN

The 1963 season saw the Patriots move to Fenway Park for home games, where they claimed their first division crown with a 7-6-1 record. The team lost the AFL title game, 51-10, to the San Diego Chargers. They did play in the AFL championship game, following the 1963 season and lost to the San Diego Chargers 51–10.  In 1963, eleven Patriots made the AFL All-star team, including Gino Cappelletti, Nick Buoniconti, and Babe Parilli.  A number of other Patriots players emerged as stars in the AFL during the 1960s, including  defensive linemen Houston Antwine, Bob Dee, Larry Eisenhauer and Jim Lee Hunt and center Jon Morris  In the late 1960's, fullback Jim Nance became a powerful offensive weapon for the Patriots, gaining 1,458 yards in 1966 and 1,216 in 1967, when he was the American Football League's Most Valuable Player

When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the AFC East division, where they still play today. The Patriots' time in the AFL saw them struggle most years as they never had a regular home stadium. Nickerson Field (1960-1962), Harvard Stadium (1970), Fenway Park (1963-1968), and Boston College's Alumni Stadium (1969) all served as home fields during their time in the American Football League. In 1971, the Patriots moved to a new stadium in Foxborough, Mass, which would serve as their home for 30 years. As a result of the move, they announced they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots. The name was rejected by the NFL and on March 23, 1971, the team officially announced they would become the New England Patriots.   On Aug. 15, 1971, the Patriots played their first game at Schaefer Stadium in Foxborough, defeating the New York Giants 20-14 before a crowd of 60,423 in a preseason contest.

NICK BUONICONTI (1962-1968) ... Nick played linebacker for the Patriots from and was voted an American Football League All-Star five times, including 1966 when he was the top vote getter. The Springfield, MA native took night classes during the season at Suffolk University and received his law degree in 1968. In 1970, Buoniconti was named to the All-AFL team, commemorating the best players in that league’s history. Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson said of Buoniconti, "if you are lucky enough to knock him down, you have to lay on him or he'll get right back into the play." In 1992, Buoniconti was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame and in 2001 he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

JIM NANCE (1965-1971) ... Nance played for the Patriots for seven seasons, appearing in 94 games. His 45 rushing touchdowns are a franchise record, while his 5,323 rushing yards place second in team history. He was the American Football League's Most Valuable Player in 1966, leading the league with 1,458 rushing yards - the highest single-season total in the AFL's 10-year history and a mark that stood as a Patriots record for 20 years. Nance was the AFL's leading rusher again in 1967, totaling 1,216 yards. He was selected by the Patriots in the 19th round of the 1965 American Football League Draft out of Syracuse.

GINO CAPPELLETTI (1960-1970) ... "Cappy" is perhaps the most recognized figure in Patriots history. A versatile player, Cappelletti played wide receiver and kicker for the Patriots and was the Patriots' all-time leading scorer until 2005. He led the American Football League in scoring five times and holds two of the top five scoring seasons in league history – 147 points in 1961 and 155 points in 1964. The 1964 AFL Most Valuable Player, Cappelletti was voted an AFL All-Star five times. Cappelletti still holds the Patriots records for career field goals made and is still among the top ten receivers in Patriots history. After his playing career ended, Cappelletti moved into the broadcast booth with his longtime partner Gil Santos. For the better part of the past quarter century, Santos and Cappelletti have been the voices of the Patriots for millions of New England football fans before retiring in 2012. In 1992, Cappelletti was inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame.

1963 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/08/1963 1-0 New York Jets
(at B.C. Alumni Stadium)
W 38-14  
09/14/1963 1-1 at San Diego Chargers L 17-13  
09/22/1963 2-1 at Oakland Raiders W 20-14  
09/29/1963 2-2 at Denver Broncos L 14-10  
10/05/1963 2-3 at New York Jets L 31-21  
10/11/1963 3-3 Oakland Raiders W 20-14  
10/18/1963 4-3 Denver Broncos W 40-21  
10/26/1963 4-4 at Buffalo Bills L 28-21  
11/01/1963 5-4 Houston Oilers W 45-3  
11/10/1963 5-5 San Diego Chargers L 7-6  
11/17/1963 5-5-1 Kansas City Chiefs T 24-24  
12/01/1963 6-5-1 Buffalo Bills W 17-7  
12/08/1963 7-5-1 at Houston Oilers W 46-28  
12/14/1963 7-6-1 at Kansas City Chiefs L 35-3  
1963 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

BOSTON PATRIOTS

7

6 1 -  
  Buffalo Bills

7

6 1 -  
  Houston Oilers

6

8 0 1 1/2  
  New York Jets

5

8 1 2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

San Diego Chargers

11

3 0 -  
  Oakland Raiders

10

4 0 1  
  Kansas City Chiefs

5

7 2 5  
  Denver Broncos

2

11 1 8 1/2  

1964 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/13/1964 1-0 at Oakland Raiders W 17-14  
09/20/1964 2-0 at San Diego Chargers W 33-28  
09/27/1964 3-0 New York Jets
(at B.C. Alumni Stadium)
W 26-10  
10/04/1964 4-0 at Denver Broncos W 39-10  
10/09/1964 4-1 San Diego Chargers L 26-17  
10/16/1964 4-1-1 Oakland Raiders T 43-43  
10/23/1964 5-1-1 Kansas City Chiefs W 24-7  
10/31/1964 5-2-1 at New York Jets L 35-14  
11/06/1964 6-2-1 Houston Oilers W 25-24  
11/15/1964 7-2-1 at Buffalo Bills W 36-28  
11/20/1964 8-2-1 Denver Broncos W 12-7  
11/29/1964 9-2-1 at Houston Oilers W 34-17  
12/06/1964 10-2-1 at Kansas City Chiefs W 31-24  
12/20/1964 10-3-1 Buffalo Bills L 24-14  
1964 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

Buffalo Bills

12

2 0 -  
  BOSTON PATRIOTS

10

3 1 1 1/2  
  New York Jets

5

8 1 6 1/2  
  Houston Oilers

4

10 0 8  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

San Diego Chargers

8

5 1 -  
  Kansas City Chiefs

7

7 0 1 1/2  
  Oakland Raiders

5

7 2 2 1/2  
  Denver Broncos

2

11 1 6  

1965 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/11/1965 0-1 at Buffalo Bills L 24-7  
09/19/1965 0-2 at Houston Oilers L 31-10  
09/24/1965 0-3 Denver Broncos L 27-10  
10/03/1965 0-4 at Kansas City Chiefs L 27-17  
10/08/1965 0-5 Oakland Raiders L 24-10  
10/17/1965 0-5-1 San Diego Chargers T 13-13  
10/24/1965 0-6-1 at Oakland Raiders L 30-21  
10/31/1965 1-6-1 at San Diego Chargers W 22-6  
11/07/1965 1-7-1 Buffalo Bills L 23-7  
11/14/1965 1-8-1 New York Jets L 30-20  
11/21/1965 1-8-2 Kansas City Chiefs T 10-10  
11/28/1965 2-8-2 at New York Jets W 27-23  
12/12/1965 3-8-2 at Denver Broncos W 28-20  
12/18/1965 4-8-2 Houston Oilers W 42-14  
1965 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

Buffalo Bills

10

3 1 -  
  New York Jets

5

8 1 5  
  BOSTON PATRIOTS

4

8 2 5 1/2  
  Houston Oilers

4

10 0 6 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

San Diego Chargers

9

2 3 -  
  Oakland Raiders

8

5 1 2  
  Kansas City Chiefs

7

5 2 2 1/2  
  Denver Broncos

4

10 0 6 1/2  

1966 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/10/1966 0-1 at San Diego Chargers L 24-0  
09/18/1966 1-1 at Denver Broncos W 24-10  
09/25/1966 1-2 Kansas City Chiefs L 43-24  
10/02/1966 1-2-1 New York Jets T 24-24  
10/08/1966 2-2-1 at Buffalo Bills W 20-10  
10/23/1966 3-2-1 San Diego Chargers W 35-17  
10/30/1966 4-2-1 Oakland Raiders W 24-21  
11/06/1966 4-3-1 Denver Broncos L 17-10  
11/13/1966 5-3-1 Houston Oilers W 27-21  
11/20/1966 5-3-2 at Kansas City Chiefs T 27-27  
11/27/1966 6-3-2 at Miami Dolphins W 20-14  
12/04/1966 7-3-2 Buffalo Bills W 14-3  
12/11/1966 8-3-2 at Houston Oilers W 38-14  
12/17/1966 8-4-2 at New York Jets L 38-28  
1966 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

Buffalo Bills

9

4 1 -  
  BOSTON PATRIOTS

8

4 2 1/2  
  New York Jets

6

6 2 2 1/2  
  Miami Dolphins

3

11 0 6 1/2  
  Houston Oilers

3

11 0 6 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Kansas City Chiefs

11

2 1 -  
  Oakland Raiders

8

5 1 3  
  San Diego Chargers

7

6 1 4  
  Denver Broncos

4

10 0 7 1/2  

1967 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/03/1967 0-1 at Denver Broncos L 26-21  
09/09/1967 0-2 at San Diego Chargers L 28-14  
09/17/1967 0-3 at Oakland Raiders L 35-7  
09/24/1967 1-3 at Buffalo Bills W 23-0  
10/08/1967 1-3-1 at San Diego Chargers T 31-31  
10/15/1967 2-3-1 Miami Dolphins
(at B.C. Alumni Stadium)
W 41-10  
10/22/1967 2-4-1 Oakland Raiders L 48-14  
10/29/1967 2-5-1 at New York Jets L 30-23  
11/05/1967 3-5-1 Houston Oilers W 18-7  
11/12/1967 3-6-1 Kansas City Chiefs L 33-10  
11/19/1967 3-7-1 New York Jets L 29-24  
11/26/1967 3-8-1 at Houston Oilers L 27-6  
12/09/1967 3-9-1 Buffalo Bills L 44-16  
12/17/1967 3-10-1 at Miami Dolphins L 31-32  
1967 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

Houston Oilers

9

4 1 -  
  New York Jets

8

5 1 1  
  Miami Dolphins

4

10 0 5 1/2  
  Buffalo Bills

4

10 0 5 1/2  
  BOSTON PATRIOTS

3

10 1 6  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Oakland Raiders

13

1 0 -  
  Kansas City Chiefs

9

5 0 4  
  San Diego Chargers

8

5 1 4 1/2  
  Denver Broncos

3

11 0 10  

1968 BOSTON PATRIOTS SCHEDULE

  RECORD OPPONENT SCORE  
09/08/1968 1-0 at Buffalo Bills W 16-7  
09/22/1968 1-1 New York Jets
(at Legion Field,
Birmingham AL)
L 47-31  
09/29/1968 2-1 at Denver Broncos W 20-17  
10/06/1968 2-2 at Oakland Raiders L 41-10  
10/13/1968 2-3 Houston Oilers L 16-0  
10/20/1968 3-3 Buffalo Bills W 23-6  
10/27/1968 3-4 at New York Jets L 48-14  
11/03/1968 3-5 Denver Broncos L 35-14  
11/10/1968 3-6 San Diego Chargers L 27-17  
11/17/1968 3-7 at Kansas City Chiefs L 31-17  
11/24/1968 3-8 Miami Dolphins L 34-10  
12/01/1968 4-8 Cincinnati Bengals W 33-14  
12/08/1968 4-9 at Miami Dolphins L 38-7  
12/15/1968 4-10 at Houston Oilers L 45-17  
1968 AFL FINAL STANDINGS
 
EASTERN DIVISION
 

New York Jets

11

3 0 -  
  Houston Oilers

7

7 0 4  
  Miami Dolphins

5

8 1 5 1/2  
  BOSTON PATRIOTS

4

10 0 7  
  Buffalo Bills

1

12 1 9 1/2  
 
WESTERN DIVISION
 

Oakland Raiders

12

2 0 -  
  Kansas City Chiefs

12

2 0 -  
  San Diego Chargers 9 5 0 3  
  Denver Broncos

5

9 0 7  
  Cincinnati Bengals

3

11 0 9