John Hannah, an offensive lineman drafted in 1973, would become one of the most decorated Patriots players in history. Playing all 13 of his pro seasons in New England, Hannah was a nine-time Pro Bowler, 10-time All-Pro, four-time NFLPA Offensive Lineman of Year and was later named to both the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade teams, as well as the NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, becoming the first Patriots player to earn that honor.
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The Patriots made it to the playoffs in 1976 and 1978, losing in the first round both times. Their first shot at the title came at Super Bowl XX, when they faced the powerhouse 1985 Chicago Bears. A stout Bears defense led by Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent, number 95 above, crushed the Patriots, 46-10, setting in motion nearly a decade of tumult and uncertainty for the franchise.
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The Sullivan Family, which founded the team, sold it in 1988 to Victor Kiam, president and CEO of Remington Products. It reached its lowest point two years later with a 1-15 record. In 1992, James Orthwein, a great-grandson of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch, bought the team hoping to move them to his native St. Louis. Paper magnate Robert Kraft, left, who owned Foxboro Stadium, refused to allow Orthwein to buy out the team's lease and instead bought the franchise for $175 million in 1994
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During Orthwein's ownership, the Patriots hired former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells, who set the franchise in a new direction. Parcells took the Patriots to the playoffs twice in four years, including a trip to Super Bowl XXXI, which they lost to the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. Despite the relative success, Parcells left after four seasons amid disagreement with Kraft over his input in personnel decisions.
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The 2000 season wasn't a total loss, but no one would know why until the following year. Quarterback Tom Brady was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 draft but spent that entire season on the bench. In 2001, though, after starter Drew Bledsoe suffered an injury in the second game of the season, Brady finished the game. Though the team lost that one, Brady remained the starter and led the team to an 11-5 record and its first Super Bowl title, a 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams.
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The Patriots missed the playoffs in 2002, but a dynasty was nonetheless taking shape. Brady led the team to a 14-2 record in 2003 and another Super Bowl title, this time a 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers, above. The following season, the Patriots became the eighth team to win back-to-back Super Bowls, outlasting the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-21.
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The Patriots' rampant success reached its peak — or so it seemed — in 2007, when the team became the second ever to go undefeated in the regular season — and the first to do it over a 16-game season. The 1972 Miami Dolphins completed the only perfect season in NFL history, going 14-0 when teams played just 14 regular season games, and capping it with a perfect playoff run and a Super Bowl title. The Patriots entered Super Bowl XLII as 12-point favorites, but fell to the New York Giants, 17-14.
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Over 14 seasons with Brady, left, at quarterback and Belichick, right, on the sidelines, the Patriots have won the AFC East 12 times, won 20 playoff games, including wins in three of the five Super Bowls in which they've appeared. And Bellichick has not had a losing record since his first season at the helm.
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