Boston Patriots

ron burton


We all know how the Super Bowl turned out, and what a wild game the Patriots and Seahawks played. Waiting for the kickoff (six hours of pre-game chatter on TV), I could not help thinking about the history of the Patriots and what a journey the team has been on. Their story is one that has unreeled in my lifetime, the whole thing. It’s not like hearing about the 1941 Red Sox or Dit Clapper from the Bruins of the 1930s. I’ve got the whole movie in my head, figuratively. Belichick wears that gray sweatshirt that reads: Established in 1960. I was six years old in the fall of 1960. But I have a sharp memory of the Patriots coming onto the scene. Before the Patriots, the home team in my family was the New York Giants, whom we would see every Sunday or so it seems when I think back. I can still name a lot of those Giants’ players, and we still followed them as the NFL home team even as the Patriots gained ground. I collected the AFL football cards as soon as they were issued. The Ron Burton card above is a 1963 (Fleer brand) card from a set that featured Vito “Babe” Parilli, Gino Cappelletti, Bill Neighbors, Nick Buoniconti, Jim Colclough, Larry Eisenhauer, Larry Gannon, Dick Felt, Charles Long, and others. With all those guys whose last name ends in “i,” you’d think the training table was in the North End. I wasn’t aware at the time, but there’s also the Sullivan family connection that links to Lowell, which made the Patriots a little bit more like family in the Merrimack Valley. The early years were losing years. Like the Red Sox, except for 1967, the ’60s were not kind to the Pats. We had the Celtics for champions. Then there was a long wandering in the wilderness through the ’70s and ’80s, with the likes of Joe Kapp, Randy Vataha, Jim Plunkett, Charlie Gogolak, and Jim Nance. Finally, a Super Bowl appearance against the Chicago Bears in 1986, only to be crushed by The Fridge. Then another run at the championship in 1997, losing to Green Bay. And everything changed in 2002 with the emergence of Tom Brady and the now-phenomenal pattern of wins, including four Super Bowl victories.




One Response to Boston Patriots

  1. Dave Greenwood says:

    The Sullivan family link to Lowell was strong. For several years in the mid sixties The Patriots used to play their initial preseason game against the Jets at Cauley Stadium for Sun Charities. This was my first experience with pro sports. In fact Joe Namath’s first professional game was in Lowell.