FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Imagine the great multitude of players who have proudly had their numbers sewn on the backs of Patriots jerseys since 1960.
Whether adorned with the "Pat Patriot" logo, or the newer "stylized minuteman" on their helmets, the scores of players who have called New England home are inextricably linked: They are Patriots.
On Monday, members of the Patriots Hall of Fame nomination committee were tasked with the weighty distinction of looking back in time and examining the very best of all who have been Patriots. In addition to their yearly nomination of three players, or coaches to be considered as the next member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, in this the 50th Anniversary of the franchise, the committee also deliberated the formation of four All-Decade Teams and the ultimate — the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team.
Starting with the 50th Anniversary, All-Decade Teams will be compiled in an effort to preserve the accomplishments and achievements of the best Patriots players in their respective eras. The committee first reviewed the Patriots 10th Anniversary Team, which was selected by fan vote in 1971, to create 1960s All-Decade Team before moving onward through the procession of time until they’d created teams for the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
In 2010, the committee will select the All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
The committee, which is comprised of longtime Patriots staffers, members of the media and former Patriots players, embodies a living, breathing history of the team. Nestled around tables in the meeting space inside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, the members voiced their support for various candidates at each position, respective to their contemporaries in their decade. The conversation was always spirited, more often light-hearted as stories from days gone by were exchanged.
Once the All-Decade Teams votes were tabulated, discussion then opened up to the 50th Anniversary Team with current players entering into the argument.
Both the 50th Anniversary Team list and three nominees eligible for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame will be announced at a later date, so be sure to browse to Patriots.com in the lead up to those announcements.
DE Bob Dee
K Gino Cappelletti
Coach Mike Holovak
DE Julius Adams
K John Smith
Coach Chuck Fairbanks
DE Julius Adams
K Tony Franklin
Coach Raymond Berry
DE Willie McGinest
K Adam Vinatieri
Coach Bill Parcells