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Patriots close out 2011 preseason against Giants

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NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-1) vs. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-0)
Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. EDT
* Gillette Stadium (68,756)*


After routing Jacksonville and Tampa Bay in the first two preseason games, New England suffered a 34-10 loss at Detroit in front of a nationally-televised audience last Saturday.

The Patriots will close out the preseason against the New York Giants for the seventh straight season this Thursday at Gillette Stadium. Last season, the Patriots closed the preseason with a 20-17 loss to the Giants in their first visit to the New Meadowlands Stadium.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by the Patriots Preseason Television Network and can be seen throughout New England as well as Eastern Canada. The network's flagship station is WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Veteran CBS broadcaster Don Criqui provides play-by-play for his 17th year with the Patriots and is joined by three-time NFL Pro Bowler and CBS analyst Randy Cross, who joined the preseason broadcast team in 2003.

RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 37 stations can be found in this press release. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 35th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 28th season as a tandem.

SERIES HISTORY

The Patriots and Giants will meet for the 21st time in the preseason and for the sventh straight year in the preseason-finale.

In addition to this week's preseason meeting, the two teams will meet later in the season when the Giants travel to Gillette to face the Patriots on Nov. 6 in a regular season game.

Overall, the Giants hold a 12-8 advantage in the preseason series. The Patriots claim a 5-3 edge in the regular season play and have won four straight regular-season games against the Giants since 1996. The clubs have been frequent preseason opponents recently, squaring off in the preseason openers for three straight years from 2001-03 and resuming the series in 2005 when they started to meet in the preseason-finale.

NEW ENGLAND TIES
In the decades leading up to the founding of the American Football League in 1960, many football fans in New England followed the Giants, a franchise founded in 1925. New Englandbased NFL outfits such as the Providence Steam Roller (1925- 31), the Boston Redskins (1932-36) and the Boston Yanks (1944-48) folded or moved away, leaving the Giants as the closest NFL team to New England until the Patriots franchise inaugurated play in the 1960 season.

MEMORABLE PATRIOTS-GIANTS MATCHUPS
Aug. 15, 1971- The Patriots defeated the Giants 20-14 in the opening preseason game at the old Foxboro Stadium.

Dec. 21, 1996- The Patriots rallied from a 22-3 fourth-quarter deficit to clinch a first-round playoff bye with a 23-22 win at Giants Stadium.

Aug. 10, 2001- New England began its first Super Bowl championship season with a 14-0 preseason shutout of the defending NFC champion Giants.

Dec. 29, 2007- The Patriots defeat the Giants by a thrilling 38-35 score to cap off the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history.

February 3, 2008- The Patriots faced the Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. The Giants 17-14 win snapped the Patriots perfect season.

CONNECTIONS

  • Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent 12 seasons on the Giants' coaching staff, and was the team's defensive coordinator for their victories in Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Belichick joined the Giants as the special teams coach on Ray Perkins' staff in 1979, and during his tenure coached special teams (1979-82), linebackers (1980-84) and the secondary (1989-90), while also holding defensive coordinator responsibilities (1985-90).
  • Patriots Defensive Line Coach Pepper Johnson was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He won two Super Bowls and twice earned Pro Bowl honors during his career with New York.
  • Belichick and Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin coached together with the Giants from 1988-1990. Coughlin was the team's wide receivers coach during his tenure.
  • Giants Tight Ends Coach Michael Pope coached running backs and tight ends for the Patriots from 1994-96. Pope was an assistant coach for the Giants from 1983-1991, including eight years while Bill Belichick was on the staff (1983-90). MOST FREQUENT PRESEASON OPPONENTS
    The Patriots and Giants will meet for the 21st time this week and with the Giants becoming the Patriots' most common preseason opponent.

PRESEASON HISTORY
The Patriots are 41-32 (.562) in the preseason since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. Prior to 1994, the Patriots were 60- 96-1 (.385) in the preseason. New England enters this week's game with an all-time preseason mark of 101-128-1 (.441).

BILL BELICHICK IN THE PRESEASON
Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 38-30 (.559) in the preseason, including a 27-21 (.565) mark as Patriots head coach. Belichick's teams have been .500 or above in 14 of his 16 previous preseasons as a head coach in the NFL.

BY THE NUMBERS

2
The number of kickoff returns that WR Brandon Tate returned for a touchdown in 2010 after he returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown at Miami (10/4). Tate is the first Patriots' player to return two kicks for a touchdown in a season since Kevin Faulk returned two for a touchdown in 2002. The Patriots record for most returns in a single season is three by Raymond Clayborn in 1977.

2
The number of blocked kicks recorded by S Patrick Chung in 2010 after he blocked a punt and a field goal in the Patriots win at Miami (10/4). He is the first NFL player to block a field goal and a punt in the same game since CB Ramon Walker of Houston blocked a field goal and a punt vs. New England on Nov. 23, 2003.

4
The number of interceptions that the Patriots returned for a touchdown in 2010 after LB Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score vs. Cincinnati (9/12), S Patrick Chung returned an interception 51 yards for a score at Miami (10/4), S James Sanders returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown at Pittsburgh (11/14), and CB Kyle Arrington returned an interception 36 yards for score vs. Green Bay (12/19).

5.64
The average yards per carry by Danny Woodhead in 2010 after he finished with 97 rushes for 547 yards. His average set a Patriots team record, topping Don Clahoun's previous team record of 5.59 yards per carry in 1976.

7
The number of interceptions by CB Devin McCourty in 2010. It is the second most interceptions by a rookie in Patriots history to Mike Haynes (8) in 1976.

10
The number of touchdown receptions by rookie TE Rob Gronkowski in 2010, a record for most touchdown catches by a tight end in Patriots history. The only other rookie tight end in NFL history to have more touchdowns was Mike Ditka (12).

13
The number of rushing touchdowns in 2010 by BenJarvus Green- Ellis, establishing a career high. His previous best was the five he had as a rookie in 2008. He is the first Patriots player with 10-plus rushing touchdowns since Corey Dillon had 13 in 2006.

65
The number of touchdowns by the 2010 Patriots, a total that ranks as the eighth-highest total in NFL history. New England set the NFL record with 75 touchdowns in 2007.

71
The number of yards Dan Connolly gained on a second quarter kickoff return vs. Green Bay (12/19). It is the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history.

193
The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo in 2010. That number is the third-highest in team history and led the NFL in 2010.

1,008
The number of yards that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had rushing in 2010, becoming the first Patriots player to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark since Corey Dillon had a team-record 1,635 yards in 2004.

TOM BRADY BY THE NUMBERS

6
The number of times that Brady has finished a season with 25 or more touchdowns. He is the sixth QB in NFL history to have 25 or more touchdown passes in at least six different seasons.

8
The number of times Tom Brady has passed for 3,000 or more yards in a season, a franchise record for most 3,000-yard seasons. He finished the season with 3,900 yards.

17
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in back-to-back weeks in 2010: at Detroit (11/25) and vs. NY Jets (12/6).

28
The number of consecutive regular-season starts that Tom Brady has won at Gillette Stadium, setting an NFL record for most consecutive home wins by a starting quarterback in the regular season.

36
The number of touchdown passes thrown by Brady in 2010 to lead the NFL. He is one of just 13 players since the 1970 merger to have at least two 30 touchdown seasons. He set an NFL record with 50 in 2007.

34
The number of regular-season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record.

82
The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 70-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.

111
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.

THE KRAFT ERA

3
The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.

5
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.

10
The number of division championships won by the Patriots since Kraft purchased the team in 1994.

12
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.

17
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.

26
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is tied with Pittsburgh for the most playoff games during that time period.

THE BELICHICK ERA

4
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.

177
Bill Belichick has 177 career victories as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick is in sole possession of 10th place in alltime coaching victories.

PATRIOTS DEDICATE 2011 SEASON TO MYRA KRAFT
The New England Patriots announced that they will dedicate the 2011 season to the loving memory of Myra Kraft, who passed away on July 20 after a courageous battle with cancer. Every Patriots player and coach will honor Myra's memory by wearing a patch with her initials on it in recognition of her lifelong contributions to the local and global community and her influence on the charitable mission of the entire Patriots organization. The patch will be worn on the left chest of every player throughout the season.

DREW BLEDSOE AND JON MORRIS INTO PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
Drew Bledsoe and Jon Morris are the 2011 honorees that will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Bledsoe and Morris will be inducted in a public ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. The event is free to the public and Patriots fans are encouraged to attend. Bledsoe was voted by the fans as the 17th player and 18th member to enter the Patriots Hall of Fame. Since the new process for induction was instituted in 2007, Bledsoe earned the highest percentage of votes for any candidate and becomes the first player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Morris was selected by a 10-person senior selection committee. The selection was made on Friday, March 25 and affirmed with a phone call from Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who notified Morris of his induction later that afternoon.

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