Fourth of July 2024: How did New England Patriots get their name? Other nicknames that were considered


There is one NFL team that stands above them all on Fourth of July: the New England Patriots. But was the franchise really named as a tribute to America? How, exactly, did the nickname come about? And which other monikers did the club consider before adopting its current identity back in 1959?

Here’s everything you need to know:

What are the Patriots named after?

The original American patriots, as you may have guessed. The franchise was originally founded in Boston back in 1959, and since Boston is considered the birthplace of the country, home to the American colonists’ rebellion of British rule in the 1770s, “Patriots” was the most popular choice for the city’s team.

How did the name actually get chosen?

Boston businessman Billy Sullivan Jr. was awarded the team as an American Football League (AFL) expansion franchise in 1959, and quickly solicited outside submissions for the club’s nickname, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame notes. Eventually, a panel of Boston sportswriters narrowed the field and landed on “Patriots.” The team began play under that name in 1960, officially merged with the NFL in 1970, then relocated to Foxborough the following year, exchanging the “Boston Patriots” ID for their current one.

What other names were considered?

Before the Patriots were the Patriots, the panel of selectors also considered a slew of other entries, some of which also paid tribute to Boston’s historic role in American history. Those alternatives included Beantowners, Braves, Colonials, Minutemen and Bulls, according to The Sports Chief. Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves were stationed in Boston on two occasions (1912-1935, 1941-1952) prior to the NFL Patriots’ emergence, so they would’ve already used the Boston Braves nickname. The Minutemen later landed in Boston as the name of a now-defunct North American Soccer League team from 1974-1976.

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