New England Patriots: Top 10 Players in Franchise History
Since 2001, has there been a more dominant team in the NFL than the New England Patriots? Three Super Bowls and a winning record each season since the year after Bill Belichick took over the reins as head coach of the storied NFL franchise.
And for those of you keeping score at home, yes it was Pete Carroll whom Belichick replaced in New England. In some circles, both are breaking right about even about now.
As an original member of the American Football League (AFL), the Patriots joined the NFL in the 1970 merger of the two leagues. The team changed its name from the original Boston Patriots after relocating to Foxborough in 1971, although Foxborough is a suburb 22 miles (35 km) away from downtown Boston.
Since the arrival of Belichick in 2000, the Patriots have become one of the most successful teams in NFL history. They are tied in appearances in a Super Bowl with eight along with (the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys each have eight), and have the most appearances in the last 25 years.
The Steelers and the New York Giants have both won two Super Bowls in the same span as Belichick being in New England, but none have won three world title.
New England has twelve AFC East titles in fourteen seasons since 2001, and have not had a losing season since 2000. Before Belichick carved his own personal space in Canton, the Patriots had only notched consecutive playoff appearances twice in their history. Between 2001 and 2010, the Patriots set a record for most wins in a decade (121, different from conventionally bounded decades, 2000–2009, 1990–1999, etc.; this record references any ten-year stretch.
While there have been many players who have made their mark on the Patriots roster over the most recent stress of success, there are players from the past who helped to lay the groundwork for the success of the franchise today. Here is a look at the 10 greatest players to put on the Red, White and Blue. Information for this list was obtained from NFL.com and Elliott Harrison.