Founded in 1959 as the Boston Patriots, the team was a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) before joining the NFL in 1970 through the AFL–NFL merger. The Patriots played their home games at various stadiums throughout Boston until the franchise moved to Foxborough in 1971. As part of the move, the team changed its name to the New England Patriots. Home games in Foxboro were played at Foxboro Stadium from 1971 through 2002 when the stadium was demolished in conjunction with the opening of Gillette Stadium. The team began utilizing Gillette Stadium for home games the same year.
The Patriots hold the records for most Super Bowl wins (6, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers), appearances (11), and losses (5, tied with the Denver Broncos). Generally unsuccessful prior to the 21st century, the team enjoyed a period of dominance under head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady from 2001 to 2019. The Brady–Belichick era, regarded as one of sports' greatest dynasties, would see the Patriots claim nearly every major Super Bowl record. Other NFL records held by the franchise include the most wins in a ten-year period (126 from 2003 to 2012), the most playoff wins (37), the longest winning streak of regular-season and playoff games (21 from October 2003 to October 2004), the most consecutive winning seasons (19 from 2001 to 2019), the most consecutive division titles (11 from 2009 to 2019), the only undefeated 16-game regular season (2007), and the highest postseason winning percentage (.638).