The New England Patriots have been one the dominant teams in the NFL over the past couple of decades. The team dates back to 1959 when they entered the American Football League as a charter member and joined the AFC Conference after the 1970 NFL/AFL merger. For the first decade of their existence, the team went by the name ‘Boston Patriots’ but made a change to ‘New England Patriots’ in 1971. The team originally sought to change their name to ‘Bay State Patriots’, but that was rejected by the NFL, necessitating a ‘Plan B’. New England has played in the AFC East ever since the merger and still reside there today.
The Boston Patriots didn’t have much success before the AFL/NFL merger. They won their division in 1963, which was also their only playoff appearance before joining the NFL. They weren’t exactly an ‘overnight success’ in the new league and would only make the playoffs twice during the 1970’s with one divisional title. Things began to improve in the 1980’s, and the Patriots made the playoffs three times, reaching the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history in 1985. Unfortunately, their first trip to the NFL championship game didn’t go well at all. The Patriots were relegated to a trivia question answer as they lost badly in the Super Bowl to the Chicago Bears 46-10. New England managed to get the first lead of the game and briefly held a 3-0 lead over arguably the greatest team in NFL history. It was all downhill from there, however, and New England wouldn’t score again until a ‘garbage time’ touchdown in the fourth quarter with Chicago ahead 43-3.
New England would have some success in the 1990’s and the era certainly wasn’t dull, including the tenure of Bill Parcells as head coach. The Patriots’ greatest success would begin in 2000 when Bill Belichick came on board as head coach. Though you won’t find an NFL ‘expert’ that will admit it now, the hiring of Belichick didn’t generate much enthusiasm. He had been a disappointment in his only previous tenure as an NFL head coach, and many sports writers would argue at the time that he might be a better ‘fit’ as an assistant coach. Three Super Bowl championships during the past fourteen years strongly suggests that they were wrong.
Belichick’s tenure in New England didn’t start especially well. After a 5-11 finish in 2000, the Patriots would lose starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe to a serious injury in the second game of the 2001 NFL season. The #2 quarterback on the depth chart was a second-year player that had thrown only one completion in his career. The same sports writer types that dismissed Belichick couldn’t wait to write off the Patriots for dead with Bledsoe on the shelf. It didn’t exactly work out that way as the backup–Tom Brady–played like a seasoned veteran and took the Patriots to their first Super Bowl championship in what was thought to be a ‘lost season’. Brady would earn the Super Bowl MVP award and would win the same award again two years later.
By now the Patriots have a worldwide fan base, long ago outgrowing the Boston area. They play on television as much as any team in the league due not only to their success but also the popularity of Belichick and Brady. The NFL’s network partners love to feature New England so fans won’t have a problem finding them on television. Fans that want to watch Patriots game online don’t have it quite as easy. The NFL micromanages the broadcasting of their product meaning that their TV network partners offer little live game streaming. The NFL’s official website will let you watch Patriots video highlights but has minimal digital content otherwise. You can find a New England Patriots live stream as part of the NFL’s ‘Sunday Ticket’ premium cable package, but the subscription is expensive, and the digital application plagued by poor performance. A Patriot live radio stream is available on the website of network flagship 98.5 FM, but you’ll have to look elsewhere for a video feed.
The best option is to watch New England Patriots online free via live streaming. There are many live sports streams on the Internet featuring every imaginable league and team. A number of websites index these streams including Wiziwig, Stream2U, FrontRowSports and others. After you locate the stream, you’ll be watching the game in a matter of minutes. You have the option to watch on your computer, your smartphone or tablet or even your television set. With a Roku device or a Google Chromecast player, you can stream directly to your TV. You’re in complete control of the action and won’t miss a game all season long!