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These AFL Team pages were salvaged from the defunct site aflfootball.tripod.com, which inspired my AFL pages.
They are dedicated to that site's creator, Robert Phillips, who has re-created his site at afl-football.50.webs.com.

Patriots Facts

Bills Facts

Oilers Facts

Jets
Facts

Dolphins Facts

Broncos Facts

Chiefs Facts

Chargers Facts

Raiders Facts

Bengals Facts

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BOSTON PATRIOTS

Billy Sullivan Jr., a Boston businessman with a strong sports promotional background, secured an American Football League franchise on November 22, 1959. In keeping with the New England heritage, the nickname "Patriots" was selected by a panel of Boston sports writers in a contest to name the team. The Boston team was involved in two significance "firsts" in 1960. The Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills in the first AFL pre-season game on July 30. On September 9, the Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos 13-10 in the first-ever AFL regular-season game.

During the Patriots' first decade, finding a suitable playing home in the Boston area was almost as urgent as putting a competitive team on the field. The Patriots played at Boston University Field in the 1960 and 1961 and at Harvard in 1962 and again in 1970. From 1963 to 1969, the Patriots played at Fenway Park, the Red Sox baseball stadium.

In spite of their stadium problems, the Patriots were frequent contenders during their AFL days. Mike Holovak, who replaced Lou Saban midway into the 1961 season, ranks as the winningest coach in team history with a 53-47-9 record. His best season came in 1963, when the Patriots defeated Buffalo 26-8 in a playoff for the AFL Eastern crown. In the AFL championship game the next week, however, they lost to San Diego 51-10. Holovak had few stars to build a team around but Gino Cappelletti, the team's placekicker and ace wide receiver, became the AFL's all-time high scorer with 1,100 points, 252 coming on touchdown receptions and the remainder on kicking. Running Back Jim Nance won AFL rushing championships when he rushed for an AFL record 1,458 yards in 1966 and 1,216 yards in 1967.

Patriots Facts

  • Franchise Granted:
    November 22, 1959 as the Boston Patriots
  • First Season:
    1960
  • Stadiums:
    Boston University Field, Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium
  • Head Coach:
    Lou Saban, Mike Holovak, Clive Rush
  • AFL Championships:
    None
  • AFL Division Championship:
    1963
  • All-Time AFL Record:
    63- 69-9
  • Retired Uniform Numbers:
    #20 Gino Cappelletti, #57 Steve Nelson, #79 Jim Hunt #89 Bob Dee

Patriots' Historical Performance

REGULAR SEASON
YEAR GP W L T PF PA PCT. HEAD COACH
1960 14 5 9 0 286 349 0.357    Lou Saban
1961 14 9 4 1 413 313 0.679    Lou Saban, Mike Holovak
1962 14 9 4 1 327 295 0.679    Mike Holovak
1963 14 7 6 1 327 257 0.536    Mike Holovak
1964 14 10 3 1 365 297 0.750    Mike Holovak
1965 14 4 8 2 244 302 0.357    Mike Holovak
1966 14 8 4 2 315 283 0.643    Mike Holovak
1967 14 3 10 1 280 389 0.250    Mike Holovak
1968 14 4 10 0 229 406 0.286    Mike Holovak
1969 14 4 10 0 266 316 0.286    Clive Rush

Patriots Totals 140 63 68 9 3071 3207 0.482  

 
POSTSEASON
YEAR W L PCT. RESULT
1963 1 1 0.500 LOST AFL CHAMPIONSHIP

 

Firsts, Records, and Odds and Ends

  • First Regular-Season Game:
    A 13-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, 9/9/60.
  • First Regular-Season Win:
    A 28-24 victory over the New York Titans, 9/16/60.
  • First Regular-Season Points:
    A 35-yard field goal by Gino Cappelletti vs. the Denver Broncos, 9/9/60.
  • First Regular-Season Touchdown:
    A 10-yard pass from Butch Songin to Jim Colclough vs. the Denver Broncos, 9/9/60.
  • First Winning Season:
    1961 (9-4-1).
  • First Playoff Appearance:
    A 26-8 victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFL's Eastern Division Championship game, 12/28/63.
  • First All-League Selections:
    LB Tom Addison and DB Russ O'Hanley, 1960.
  • First to Rush 100 Yards in a Game:
    Ron Burton, 127 yards vs. the Denver Broncos, 10/23/60.
  • First 1,000-Yard Rusher:
    Jim Nance, 1,458 yards (1966).
  • First to Pass 400 Yards in a Game:
    Babe Parilli, 400 yards vs. the Oakland Raiders, 10/16/64.
  • All-Time Leading Scorer:
    Gino Cappelletti, 1,130 points (1960-70).
  • Fewest Yards Rushing Allowed in a Game:
    In a 41-0 win over the San Diego Chargers on 12/17/61, the Patriots allowed just two yards rushing.
Copyright 1997-2004 Robert Phillips. All rights reserved.

USA Today ~ June 21, 2009

How the Patriots morphed from a Cape house
into an
NFL titan
AP file photo
Gino Cappelletti, left, won the AFL's 1964 MVP award as a kicker and wide receiver for the Boston Patriots.
 
First in a series exploring the histories of all 10 AFL franchises as the NFL celebrates the league's 50th anniversary.

If Mary Sullivan had had her way, the New England Patriots might never have become a reality.

The wife of Patriots founder Billy Sullivan had a dream — and a savings account to match — for a summer home on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. But her husband persuaded Mary to wait on the Cape home as he and nine partners invested $25,000 to purchase the start-up American Football League's final franchise charter in 1959.

UPSTART TO BIG-TIME: How the AFL changed the NFL

It was a humble beginning to a team that would, more than four decades later, become one of the NFL's titans. But it made Sullivan, who died in 1998, the godfather of professional football in New England.

"I can't help but think if he just drove around Boston to see how many cars have Patriots stickers on the back," says Sullivan's son, Patrick, the team's general manager from 1983 to 1991.

"He knew there was an interest in football in the region. It just needed a little nurturing, cultivation and excitement."

The Boston Patriots were competitive in their formative years. They won 35 games from 1961 to 1964 and reached the 1963 AFL title game. Still, the team's logistics were very challenging, and the Patriots started off homeless.

The team used four sites — Fenway Park, Harvard Stadium and fields at Boston College and Boston University — for home games during the AFL's 10-year run. Gino Cappelletti, the star wideout and kicker who won the 1964 league MVP, said being nomads didn't faze the players. "It was all part of the adversity that the league and players were going through," he says. "No one really gave a damn. Let's buckle up those helmets and go out and play."

Many of the players wouldn't have been playing professionally if not for the upstart league. So Cappelletti said it was easy for the Patriots, who also didn't have a permanent practice field, to accept watching game film while sitting on milk crates in the bowels of a high school stadium.

"We hung bed sheets over water pipes," Cappelletti says, "and we'd show the film against those sheets."

Initially, drawing fans was a struggle. When the Patriots launched, the Boston Celtics were two years into a string of eight consecutive NBA titles, and the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox were well established.

"The (NFL's New York) Giants were the big favorites" former Patriots quarterback Babe Parilli says, "and we were infringing on them."

Adds Cappelletti, "The Giants players were household names all around New England. … We had to just hold our own."

The AFL's pass-happy style helped the Patriots make inroads. In 1960, they averaged 16,894 fans a game. By 1964, their average attendance rose to 28,522. The Patriots boasted stars in Cappelletti, 1966 AFL MVP Jim Nance, who led the league in rushing in 1966 and 1967, and Parilli, whose 31 touchdown passes in 1964 set a team record that stood until Tom Brady's 50 surpassed it in 2007.

In 1964, Cappelletti kicked off a five-game winning streak by drilling a game-winning field goal to beat the Houston Oilers 25-24 at home, and Parilli said that made fans take notice. "They called us the cardiac kids," Parilli says, "and we started to draw after that."

Offense — and lots of it — was the game plan for the league. Teams recruited innovative coaches who would make AFL action distinct from the NFL's methodical, in-the-trenches style. "The way we were going to survive was by playing a brand of football that was exciting," Cappelletti recalls.

It was more fun playing in the wide-open AFL, says Parilli, who spent five years in the NFL. Back-and-forth AFL contests that ended 40-38 enthralled fans, who suddenly saw that not every game needed to end in a 7-3 defensive battle. "I think that's what the NFL finally realized, that they needed to get more scoring," Parilli says. "The fans wanted to see some offense."

Cappelletti's celebrity was enhanced by his job as a sports anchor on a local TV station — while he was a player. For a league and a team trying to emerge from the NFL's shadow, getting free advertising every night was enough to allow Cappelletti to break curfew at training camp.

The AFL was not a rich man's game in its infancy. Many Patriots players worked second jobs. "The football pay was really not going to do it for you," says Cappelletti, who earned $7,500 in his first season.

In the league's early days, some players worried that their clubs couldn't afford to pay them.

But by the mid-1960s, lucrative television deals and rising acceptance from fans helped to pump money and confidence into the start-up league. "I never really got the sense that this was some sort of second-rate, novelty thing," Patrick Sullivan says. "Once we developed our own stars and they became fixtures in the community, then people said we'd stand up against any teams in the NFL."

But for the Patriots, less well-heeled than their AFL competitors, administrative challenges remained.

"We really didn't know whether we'd play at Fenway, BC or Harvard," Sullivan says. "So we printed tickets for all three venues to send to season ticketholders."

But the struggles of the AFL founders paid off. The fans won, with pro football entrenched in cities that the NFL had been underserving. The players won, with new life for those who would otherwise have seen their football dreams die. And the "Foolish Club" — the moniker given to the AFL owners — won by disproving doubters when the once-fledgling league won acceptance from the NFL.

"We were all struggling and trying to buck the establishment and trying to survive another day and another season," Cappelletti says. "It's something that we probably look back on and realize the difficulties we had that we just didn't know about at the time. When you're pioneering, you don't really know it because everything is exploring."

And Mary Sullivan won when she finally got the summer house on Cape Cod. She still lives there, with a keepsake of the AFL's rise cherished by her late husband: A photo of Billy Sullivan and his fellow owners taken 45 years ago as the league began to turn the corner. The inscription on the frame around the AFL logo reads: "The Foolish Club, Age 5."

Mary Sullivan can relish that this year as the NFL again toasts the Foolish Club, age 50.

 
          The article doesn't note that five times in their first seven years, the Patriots went into the last weekend of the American Football League season with a chance to win their division.  They never won it outright, and appeared in only one AFL championship game, but the Boston Patriots were a team to be reckoned with in the American Football League. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
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USA TODAY Series on the AFL:  

  How the AFL changed the NFL
   Miami Dolphins
     CincinNati Bengals
    Denver Broncos
     Los Angeles/San Diego CHARGERS
    OAKLAND RAIDERS
     Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs
    New York TITANS/JETS
    BUFFALO BILLS
    HOUSTON OILERS

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Last revision: 20 July 2012 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, nospam.RemembertheAFL@aol.com