FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Fifty-eight years ago, they officially became the Patriots.
Flipping through the historical timeline in the New England Patriots' media guide, one of the first entries looks like this: "Feb. 20, 1960: As a result of a public content, the team nickname of Patriots is chosen. The Patriots also announce that the team colors will be red, white and blue."
But how was the name chosen?
Bob Holbrook of the Boston Globe reported the details, writing back in 1960: "After weeks of consideration, contest-running and general inquires from the newspaper and radio men, William H. Sullivan Jr. and his associates decided upon the Patriots tag ... exploiting the region's vast colonial history. They are looking forward to the promotion angle, mainly television, where they can easily conjure thoughts of a gaily-garbed Colonial band fifing and drumming its up way up and down the field. Many names were suggested, including Colonials, Pilgrims, Puritans, Braves, Beantowners, Hubs and others. A total of 74 persons turned in the suggestion of the Patriots."
As part of Holbrook's report, each of the 74 people who suggested Patriots as the nickname were given a pair of tickets to a game and were eligible for the grand prize of a new television set.
It was a modest beginning. Of course, at that time, they were the Boston Patriots. When the team moved to Foxborough in 1971, they were renamed the New England Patriots.