The New England Patriots are one of the most storied franchises in all American football. Initially founded as the AFL’s Boston Patriots, the organization has morphed into the model of NFL success.
While there are many important days in Patriots history, all pale in comparison to April 16th. Today marks TWO of the most significant moments in the history of the franchise: the birthday of legendary head coach Bill Belichick, AND the selection of superstar quarterback Tom Brady.
Belichick was born on this day in 1952 in Nashville, Tennessee. The son of NFL veteran Steve Belichick, Bill was surrounded by football from a young age. He entered the world of professional football with the Baltimore Colts but became a household name thanks to his time with the New York Giants, leading some of the best defences around to help New York win two championships.
After a short spell with the Cleveland Browns, Belichick joined as New England’s defensive coordinator. He helped bring New England to a Super Bowl, although the Patriots lost that one to the Green Bay Packers.
After that Super Bowl, Belichick joined defensive coordinator Bill Parcells in New York as his heir apparent. However, Belichick turned the Jets down at the last second, opting to take his talents to New England.
Belichick then decided to give himself the best birthday gift possible in his first season as New England’s head coach. On April 16th, 2000, the coach selected a lean quarterback from Michigan with the 199th overall pick.
After riding the bench in 2000, Tom Brady took the QB job from an injured Drew Bledsoe two weeks into the 2001 season. The Patriots went 11-3 in his starts and Brady led the franchise to their first Super Bowl victory, famously erasing a 10-point deficit in the AFC Divisional Round en route to the grand showpiece, where he picked up Super Bowl MVP.
That was hardly a one-time fluke. Brady is a now a six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time league MVP, three-time First-Team All-Pro, 14-time Pro Bowler, and is accepted as the greatest quarterback in the history of the game.
Brady is no longer with the Patriots, after sealing a move to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the close season. But, today’s date marks one of celebration for Pats fans across the globe. April 16th – a day where the two biggest pieces of the puzzle were delivered right to New England’s front door. The birth of the coach, and lucky pick number 199.