** NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS vs. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
Gillette Stadium (68,756) *
The Patriots open the preseason at home against the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. The Patriots will conduct joint practice sessions with New Orleans on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will mark the first time the Patriots will conduct a joint practice session since working with the New York Giants in 2001.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by the Patriots Preseason Television Network and can be seen in every New England state as well as Eastern Canada, Alaska and Hawaii. The network's flagship station is WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Veteran CBS broadcaster Don Criqui provides play-by-play and is joined by three-time NFL Pro Bowler and CBS analyst Randy Cross.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th 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 27th season as a tandem.
SAM CUNNINGHAM INDUCTED INTO PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
A public ceremony will be held outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon on Thursday, Aug. 12, prior to the team's 2010 preseason debut against the New Orleans Saints, to induct Sam "Bam" Cunningham into the team's hall of fame. The event is free and Patriots fans are encouraged to attend. Cunningham is the 15th player to be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
The Patriots will square off with the New Orleans Saints in a preseason game for the first time since 2005 when the Saints took a 37-27 win in their first visit ever to Gillette Stadium.
The teams have met in the preseason eight times and are tied at four wins each. The Patriots are 2-2 at home against the Saints.
This week's preseason meeting marks the fourth time that the Patriots will open the preseason against the Saints, having done so in 1968, 1985 and 1994. The 1994 game marked Robert Kraft's first game as owner of the team.
The team's met last season on Monday Night Football with New Orleans capturing a 38-17 victory at the Superdome on Nov. 30. That win snapped a three-game winning streak by the Patriots over the Saints and also ended a streak of 17 straight wins against NFC opponents.
The Patriots lead the all-time regular-season series with an 8-4 record against New Orleans, including a 4-3 record in home games.
The Patriots are 37-29 (.561) 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 97-125-1 (.437).
BILL BELICHICK IN THE PRESEASON
Bill Belichick has compiled an overall record of 34-27 (.557) in the preseason, including a 23-18 (.561) mark as Patriots head coach. Belichick's teams have been .500 or above in 13 of his 15 previous preseasons as a head coach in the NFL.
PATRIOTS IN NEW ORLEANS
The Patriots have played in three Super Bowls in New Orleans at the Louisiana Superdome, the home of the Saints. The 1985 Patriots qualified for the first Super Bowl in team history, but lost to the Chicago Bears, 46-10. In 1996, the Patriots reached their second Super Bowl in the Crescent City and fell to the Green Bay Packers, 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI. New England returned to the Big Easy for Super Bowl XXXVI and defeated the St. Louis Rams, 20-17, to claim the first NFL title in team history.
- Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich was a member of the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and 2008.
- Saints QB Drew Brees was a teammate of Patriots G Matt Light at Purdue from 1997-2000.
- Saints FB Heath Evans played four seasons with the Patriots from 2005-2008.
- Saints CB Randall Gay was a New England Patriot from 2004-07.
- Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints C Jonathan Goodwin were teammates at Michigan in 1999.
- Saints CB Jabari Greer and Patriots WR Sam Aiken played together for the Buffalo Bills from 2004-08. Aiken was also teammates on the Bills with Saints DL Anthony Hargrove from 2006-07. Saints S Pierson Prioleau was also teammates with Aiken on the Bills from 2003-04 and Patriots RB Fred Taylor on the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2008.
- Patriots LB Jerod Mayo, Saints WR Robert Meachem and Saints LB Marvin Mitchell were teammates at Tennessee from 2004-06.
- Patriots T Nick Kaczur and Saints WR Lance Moore were teammates at Toledo from 2001-04.
- Patriots LB Gary Guyton and Saints S Chris Reis played together at Georgia Tech from 2004-05.
- Patriots QB Tom Brady and Saints Head Coach Sean Payton hail from San Mateo, Calif.
- Saints TE David Thomas was originally drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2006 draft and played for the Patriots until being traded to New Orleans at the end of the 2009 Training Camp.
- Patriots LB Thomas Williams and Saints RB Reggie Bush and DT Sedrick Ellis were teammates at the University of Southern California from 2003-05.
- Saints LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar and C Matt Tennant were teammates of Patriots DL Ron Brace at Boston College from 2006-07.
- Patriots CB Kyle Arrington and Saints WR Marques Colston were teammates at Hofstra during the 2004 season.
- Saints TE Tyler Lorenzen and Patriots CB Darius Butler played together at Connecticut during the 2008 season.
- Patriots S Patrick Chung and Saints QB Sean Canfield were teammates at Oregon for the 2006-08 seasons.
- Patriots DL Gerard Warren and Saints DE Alex Brown played together on the defensive line at Florida from 1998- 2000.
- Patriots DL Damione Lewis, Saints TE Jeremy Shockey and LB Jonathan Vilma were teammates at Miami (Fl.) during the 2000 season. Vilma was also teammates with Patriots NT Vince Wilfork, S Brandon Meriweather and WR Darnell Jenkins at Miami (Fl.) in 2003.
- Patriots RB's Chris Taylor, BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Saints WR Courtney Roby and CB Tracy Porter were teammates at Indiana University in 2004.
- Patriots CB Jonathan Wilhite and Saints G Tim Duckworth and WR Montez Billings were teammates at Auburn during the 2005-06 seasons.
Highlights of the Patriots' 2010 schedule
- The Patriots' 2010 opponents had an aggregate record of 136-120 (.531) in 2009.
- Nine of the Patriots' 16 games will be against teams that finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better in 2009.
- The Patriots will play five games against opponents that won 10 or more games in 2009.
- Six of the Patriots eight home games in 2010 will be against teams that made the playoffs in 2009.
- The Patriots will play two of the six NFC playoff teams.
- The Patriots will play all of the teams from the AFC playoff field, including two games against AFC East rival New York Jets.
- The Patriots will host Indianapolis after traveling to face the Colts in Indianapolis four straight times.
- The Patriots will face the Jets at their new stadium.
- The Patriots will attempt to avenge the 2009 Wild Card loss to Baltimore when they host the Ravens in a rematch at Gillette Stadium. It will be Baltimore's third trip to New England in the last two seasons.
The Patriots won more than half of their games in 2009 for the ninth straight year after finishing with a 10-6 record. They are the first team to win more than half of their games in nine straight seasons since free agency began in 1993. The Patriots are the fifth team to win more than half of their games in nine straight seasons since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, joining the 49ers (16 straight from 1983-1998), the Cowboys (16 straight from 1970-85), the Raiders (11 straight from 1970-80) and the Steelers (9 straight from 1972-80). The Patriots have now won nine or more games in 13 of the 16 seasons Robert Kraft has owned the team.
PATRIOTS HAVE MOST 9-PLUS WIN SEASONS SINCE 2001
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last nine seasons.
MOST SEASONS OF 9 WINS SINCE 2001
New England: 9
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The number of consecutive seasons Randy Moss has recorded 10 or more touchdown catches to become the first Patriots player with three seasons of 10-plus TD catches. He had 23 in 2007, 11 in 2008 and an NFL-leading 13 in 2009. His nine seasons of 10 or more touchdowns tie Jerry Rice for the NFL record.
Wes Welker and Randy Moss became the first Patriots to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2008 and stretched that to three straight 1,000-yard seasons after both went over 1,000 yards in 2009.
The number of seasons that Wes Welker has reached 100 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards to join Marvin Harrison (4), Jerry Rice (3), Herman Moore (3) and Brandon Marshall (3) as the only players to catch 100 passes and have 1,000 receiving yards in three consecutive seasons.
The number of times in NFL history that a team has had two players go three straight seasons with 1,000 yards receiving after Randy Moss and Wes Welker completed their third straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving in 2009.
The number of NFL receivers who have reached 14,000 receiving yards. Randy Moss became the seventh player to reach the milestone in 2009 and now has 14,465 receiving yards.
The number of seasons that Tom Brady has passed for more than 3,000 yards to tie the team record with Drew Bledsoe.
The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have won nine or more regular-season games. They are the only team in the NFL to have won at least nine games in each of the last nine seasons entering 2010.
The number of consecutive games that Torry Holt has caught at least one reception, the second-longest streak among active players and the 9th-longest streak in NFL history.
The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out. The streak includes every preseason, regular-season and playoff game since the 1994 regular-season opener.
THE KRAFT ERA
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.
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.
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.
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is the highest in the NFL, ahead of the 23 games played by Pittsburgh.
THE BELICHICK ERA
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 Knoll 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.
The Patriots' regular-season record since 2001 under Head Coach Bill Belichick. Under Belichick, the Patriots have won 74.3 percent of their regular-season games, recording the highest winning percentage of any major American professional sports team over that span.
PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
The number of Patriots Hall of Famers that are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame (John Hannah, Andre Tippett, Mike Haynes and Nick Buoniconti).
The number of players in the Patriots Hall of Fame following the induction of former RB Sam "Bam" Cunningham.
The number of rushing yards Cunningham accumulated during his career to become the Patriots' all-time leading rusher.