"Pat Patriot" logo, used through 1992
On November 16, 1959, Boston business executive was awarded the eighth and final franchise of the developing (AFL). The following winter, locals were allowed to submit ideas for the Boston football team's official name. The most popular choice – and the one that Sullivan selected – was the "Boston Patriots," with "Patriots" referring to those colonists of the Thirteen Colonies who rebelled against British control during the American Revolution and in July 1776 declared the United States of America an independent nation. Immediately thereafter, artist Phil Bissell of The Boston Globe developed the "Pat Patriot" logo.
The Patriots struggled for most of their years in the AFL, and they never had a regular home stadium. Nickerson Field, Harvard Stadium, Fenway Park, and Alumni Stadium all served as home fields during their time in the American Football League. They played in only one , following the 1963 season, in which they lost to the San Diego Chargers . They did not appear again in an AFL or NFL post-season game for another 13 years.
When the NFL and AFL merged in 1970, the Patriots were placed in the (AFC) East division, where they still play today. The following year, the Patriots moved to a new stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, which would serve as their home for the next 30 years. As a result of the move, they announced they would change their name from the Boston Patriots to the Bay State Patriots, after the state of Massachusetts. The name was rejected by the NFL and on March 22, 1971, the team officially announced they would change its geographic name to New England.
During the 1970s, the Patriots had some success, earning a berth to the playoffs in 1976—as a wild card team—and in 1978—as AFC East champions. They lost in the first round both times. In 1985, they returned to the playoffs, and made it all the way to Super Bowl XX, which they lost to the Chicago Bears 46–10. Following their Super Bowl loss, they returned to the playoffs in 1986, but lost in the first round. The team would not make the playoffs again for eight more years. During the 1990 season, the Patriots went 1–15. They changed ownership three times in the ensuing 14 years, being purchased from the Sullivan family first by Victor Kiam in 1988, who sold the team to James Orthwein in 1992. Though Orthwein's period as owner was short and controversial, he did oversee major changes to the team, first with the hiring of former New York Giants coach Bill Parcells in 1993. Orthwein and his marketing team also commissioned the NFL to develop a new visual identity and logo, and changed their primary colors from the traditional red, white and blue to blue and silver for the team uniforms. Orthwein intended to move the team to his native St. Louis, Missouri (where it would have been renamed as the St. Louis Stallions), but instead sold the team in 1994 for $175 million to Robert Kraft.
Since then, the Patriots have sold out every home game in both Foxboro Stadium and Gillette Stadium. By 2009, the value of the franchise had increased by over $1 billion, to a Forbes magazine estimated value of $1.361 billion, third highest in the NFL only behind the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. As of July 2018 , the Patriots are the sixth most valuable sports franchise in the world according to Forbes magazine with a value of $3.7 billion.
Continuing on as head coach under Kraft's ownership, Parcells would bring the Patriots to two playoff appearances, including Super Bowl XXXI, which they lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 35–21. Pete Carroll, Parcells's successor, would also take the team to the playoffs twice in 1997 and 1998 before being dismissed as head coach after the 1999 season.
The Patriots hired head coach Bill Belichick, who had served as defensive coordinator under Parcells including during Super Bowl XXXI, in 2000. Their new home field, Gillette Stadium, opened in 2002 to replace the aging Foxboro Stadium. Under Belichick, the team won three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003, and 2004), over the St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively. The Patriots finished the 2007 regular season with a perfect 16–0 record, becoming only the fourth team in league history to go undefeated in the regular season, and the only one since the league expanded its regular season schedule to 16 games. After advancing to Super Bowl XLII, the team's fourth Super Bowl in seven years, the Patriots were defeated by the Giants to end their bid for a 19–0 season. With the loss, the Patriots ended the year at 18–1, becoming only one of three teams to go 18–1 along with the 1984 San Francisco 49ers and the 1985 Chicago Bears.
The Patriots' returned to the Super Bowl in 2012 but lost again to the Giants, 21–17. In 2015, the Patriots reached a record-tying eighth Super Bowl, where they defeated the defending champions Seattle Seahawks by a score of 28–24 to win Super Bowl XLIX for their fourth league title. The Patriots became the first team to reach nine Super Bowls in the 2016–17 playoffs and faced the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, which ended up paving the way for their fifth Super Bowl victory, tying them with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for the second-most in NFL history, 1 behind the Pittsburgh Steelers with 6; the game was also the first Super Bowl to go into overtime. The Patriots extended their record to ten Super Bowl appearances in the 2017–18 playoffs but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII, on February 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Patriots extended their record to eleven Super Bowls reached with Super Bowl LIII, following their victory of the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2019 AFC Championship game. They defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 to win their sixth Super Bowl, tying them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories in NFL history.