Official website of the New England Patriots

Drawing of the Original Logo with Letter to and from Billy Sullivan

After his request for an NFL franchise in Boston was rejected, William H. Sullivan, the Chief Executive of Metropolitan Coal & Oil Co., turned to the new American Football League in 1959. For $25,000, Sullivan was awarded the Boston Patriots, the league's eighth and final team for the inaugural 1960 season.

Walter J. Pingree, a railroad conductor and former semipro player, was thrilled to hear that Sullivan had secured an AFL franchise for Boston. He wrote a letter to Sullivan in which he drew a design for the team's new logo and uniform.

"Red, white, and blue colors as a symbol for patriotism," Pingree wrote. "I believe the uniform to be unique and colorful, and indeed worthy of the fine team I know we will have here in Boston."

Pingree offered free use of his uniform design, with a depiction of the Revolutionary War tricorne hat as the logo, and concluded his letter, "you can count on me to root the team on, win, lose, or draw."

Sullivan accepted Pingree's design in a return letter in which he wrote, "I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate your thoughtfulness in reference to the uniform. I am sure it will please you to learn that we are planning to adopt it, and as a first step, we are having a uniform designed along the lines which you suggested."

Soon after accepting Pingree's design, Sullivan adopted Phil Bissel's Pat Patriot, but honored his commitment to Pingree by keeping Pingree's logo on the helmet for the franchise's first year. Upon completion of the year, Sullivan had the team remove the sticker with the team logo and replace it with the Pat Patriot logo. As a result, no original helmet or sticker exists.

The original drawing is displayed at The Hall along with the letter from Pingree to Sullivan, and Sullivan's response to Pingree. While no original helmet exists, The Hall presents the letters and drawing with a replicated sticker on an original helmet.

"I doubt many Patriots fans even know that there was a logo before 'Pat Patriot,'" said Bryan Morry, Executive Director of The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon. "You can learn all about that first Patriots season at The Hall."

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