The New England Patriots have had a resurgence since the early 2000s, winning three Super Bowls and making the playoff in nine out of the past twelve seasons.
The Patriots were first founded all the way back in 1959 and played in the American Football League until 1970 when they joined the National Football League and have remained there ever since. In 2007 the team nearly completed a perfect season, going 18-0 before losing to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII. Bill Belichick has been one of the most successful coaches in NFL history to date with a postseason record of 17-7 going into the 2012 season. With that said, who are some of the top players in franchise history? What follows are the top five players in New England Patriots history, in no particular order.
Tom Brady has played a major part in New England’s success starting in the early 2000s, and was surprisingly selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2000 by the Patriots. Since that time Brady has remained as one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, with three Super Bowl victories to go with two Super Bowl MVP awards, seven selections to the Pro Bowl, and has nearly 40,000 passing yards in his career to go along with 300 touchdowns and a quarterback rating of nearly 100, all incredible feats.
Sam Cunningham was first drafted by the Patriots as a running back in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft, and played in nine productive seasons with the team. Cunningham totaled nearly 50 touchdowns over his career, and his best season came in 1977 when he rushed for over 1,000 yards and another 370 in the air to go with five total touchdowns on the year.
Morgan was one of the best wide receivers in New England Patriots’ history. He was selected in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft and played a total of 12 seasons with the team. Stanley’s best season came in 1986 with the Patriots, when he had 1,491 total yards to go with 10 touchdowns for the year. He was selected to four Pro Bowls over his career, with all of them coming as a member of the Patriots.
John Hannah was drafted in the first round of the 1973 draft as an offensive lineman for New England, and went on to have a stellar career with the team until his retirement in 1985. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls over the course of his career along with ten All-Pro selections. His number 73 is retired by the team, and Hannah was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
Along with Tom Brady, Troy Brown played an integral role for the Patriots during their dominance of the 2000s, and was first drafted by the team in 1993 as an eighth round picked. Brown played with the Patriots for his entire career, lasting until 2007, and played numerous positions including wide receiver, punt returner, cornerback, and many more. His best season came in 2001 when he had 1,199 yards as a receiver and five touchdowns as well.
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