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Bill Belichick has updated his boat name to ‘VIII Rings’

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Since Antwine played in the ‘60s, we don’t have a lot of stats to judge him by. All we know is that he made six Pro Bowls as a defensive lineman and was All-Pro once. Pro Football Reference put him on its All-1960s Team, which seems to be a sign that he was quite good in his heyday.

Jack Sheahan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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Yes, Vinatieri is a kicker, and some NFL fans scoff at kickers. They do not scoff at Vinatieri in New England. He was a great kicker for 10 years with the Patriots, no doubt. However, there are a couple of big kicks that you probably remember from the playoffs? You know, that kick against the Raiders in the postseason or the kicks that won Super Bowls? Those made him a New England legend, regardless of position.

Al Pereira/Getty Images

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We’re four players in, and we’ve already got two centers on this list. Koppen made only one Pro Bowl, but that undersells him. He was a great center for nine years for New England. His 82 points of Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value ranks 20th in Pats history. The Pro Bowl may have not acknowledged him, but he was reliable for New England for almost a decade.

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

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Buoniconti is a Hall of Famer, but you probably think of him as a Dolphin. After all, he was part of that Dolphins team that went undefeated in 1972. That being said, he was great in his seven seasons with the then-Boston Patriots. He was an All-Pro four times at middle linebacker. Need we say more?

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Moss played only three full seasons with the Patriots. That’s not a lot of time. Of course, how amazing were those three seasons? In his first one, he finished with an NFL record 23 receiving touchdowns. Overall, in 52 games with the Patriots, he had 259 catches for 3,904 yards and 50 touchdowns. Had he stuck around longer, he’d shoot up this list, but even three years got him in the top 20. Records will do that.

Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/MCT/Sipa USA

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It felt strange to see Law in a Jets jersey that first year after he left New England. After all, he spent 10 seasons with the Patriots and was a key cog in their defense. He was All-Pro twice and once led the league with nine interceptions. In his last season in New England he defensed an amazing 23 passes. Plus, of course, he has those two rings.


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It seemed like Seymour would be a Patriot for his entire career, but Bill Belichick isn’t one for nostalgia. So instead, he was shipped off to Oakland where he played four more seasons and made two more Pro Bowls before retiring. Seymour was a Pat for only eight seasons, but they were right in the beginning of the Pats dynasty. The defensive end was a big part of that, as he was a three-time All-Pro.

Harry How/Getty Images

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Diehard football fans felt that the Patriots were getting a steal when they traded for Welker. The wide receiver ended up exceeding all expectations, thanks to changes in the NFL. He was the prototype for the evolution of the slot receiver. On three occasions he led the league in catches, and he finished with 672 receptions in six seasons in New England.

Doug Kapustin/MCT/Sipa USA

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McGinest’s two Pro Bowls undersell his skills. The pass rusher had a knack for getting after the quarterback. He had 78 sacks in his time with the Patriots, including an 11-sack season in 1995. McGinest ended up sticking around long enough to win Super Bowls, but he wasn’t just a veteran hanging on. In 2004, as a 33-year-old, he had 9.5 sacks.


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On the one hand, Gronk is maybe the best tight end of all time. He’s a great receiver, a great blocker and has been an All-Pro four times. On the other hand, he’s had so much trouble staying healthy. He has almost retired due to back issues. With better luck, Gronkowski would be higher on this list. Alas, his issues with the injury bug drop him down a bit, despite his prodigious talents.

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

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Nelson spent his entire 14-year career playing inside linebacker for the Patriots. He made three Pro Bowls and once had five interceptions in a season. By the end of his career, sacks were a stat, but he only picked up a few of them. Still, his play was well thought of enough to get his number retired by the franchise.

George Gojkovich/Getty Images

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Clayborn was an excellent cornerback, as he had 36 interceptions in his career, all of them with the Patriots. He was a great kick returner for a few years as well. In 1977, he returned three kicks for touchdowns. Clayborn also once returned an interception for a touchdown, which is not surprising giving his return acumen.

Herb Snitzer/Getty Images

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Even Belichick wouldn’t dare to move on from Bruschi, who was seen as the heart of the Patriots defense in the 2000s. He didn’t put up huge numbers. The inside linebacker had a handful of sacks, a few interceptions, some forced fumbles and a lot of tackles. However, his tenacious play set the tone for New England. Let’s not forget the fact that he helped lead the Pats to three Super Bowls in his time.


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The ‘60s were a weird time for football, even if it wasn’t that long ago. Cappelletti was New England’s kicker, and he was a good one. He led the league in made field goals three times. Oh, and he was also a receiver. He had 4,589 yards and 42 touchdowns receiving in 10 years as a Boston Patriot. And then he played some defensive back as well? Hey, it all helped him be named the AFL’s Player of the Year in 1964. That’s not bad for a “kicker.”

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Bledsoe is destined to be remembered by future generations as the guy who got hurt and made way for Tom Brady. That’s not fair to his legacy, though. Bledsoe was a fine quarterback in his own right. After being drafted first overall he helped right the ship for a listless franchise. He threw for 4,555 yards in 1994, way before the passing explosion. He quarterbacked the Pats to a Super Bowl. Is he Tom Brady? No, but that’s an unfair comparison. Plus, let’s not forget he made a Pro Bowl in Buffalo after leaving New England.

David Madison/Getty Images

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Tippett’s prowess as a pass rusher in the ‘80s seems to have been forgotten. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, a two-time All-Pro and he racked up sacks like crazy. This is a guy who had seasons of 18.5, 16.5 and 12.5 sacks. In fact, he led the NFL in Approximate Value TWICE. He’s a Hall of Famer, and he spent his entire career with the Patriots.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Wilfork was the immovable object at the center of New England’s defensive line. Moving him was not easy. He didn’t get many sacks, but he did pick up a bunch of tackles for loss and some passes defensed. Wilfork made five Pro Bowls and still lives in the nightmares of some running backs.

Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/MCT/Sipa USA

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Morgan was a big-play receiver. He averaged 19.4 yards per reception in his time with the Patriots and three times led the NFL in that stat. Morgan also once led the league with 12 receiving touchdowns. He’s still in the top 40 in career receiving yards, even though passing has exploded since he retired in 1990.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Poor Bruce Armstrong retired in 2000, right before the Patriots took off. Still, he got to spend 14 seasons as a starting offensive tackle for New England, making six Pro Bowls in that time. He may not have a Super Bowl ring, but a few different Patriots quarterbacks would have hit the turf a lot more often without Armstrong.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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Bruce Armstrong retired, and then Light basically stepped in at left tackle. It was a seamless transition. Light didn’t make quite as many Pro Bowls, though he did make three. However, he made an All-Pro team, and Armstrong did not. Light dealt with injuries and missed significant time in a few seasons, but he was also the starting left tackle on three Super Bowl-winning teams.

Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT/Sipa USA

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Mankins was an ornery guy, and when he was drafted he had played tackle in college. The Patriots moved him to guard, and the rest was history. He played nine seasons on New England’s offensive line and made six Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team. When the NFL players started putting together their top 100 lists, he made it three times, even though those lists were always skewed toward skill position players. His fellow players respected him, and so do Pats fans.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

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Surprised? Don’t be. After all, Grogan started 135 games for the Patriots. Sure, he finished with more interceptions than touchdowns, but the NFL of the ‘70s was a different era. Joe Namath has more interceptions than touchdowns, and he’s a Hall of Famer. Grogan once led the league in passing touchdowns, and he’s third in career Approximate Value with the Patriots.

Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

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For many years, Hannah was the one Patriot who fans could point to as an all-time great at his position. Unfortunately for them he was a guard, and that’s not exactly fun. That being said, Hannah was a great guard. The Hall of Famer was All-Pro seven times, which is the most of any Patriot. In fact, nobody else has more than four. Hannah’s number is rightfully retired, and he can take pride in being the second-best Pat ever.

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

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Who else was it going to be? Do you need to hear about Tom Brady’s litany of accolades? The three MVPs? The four Super Bowl MVPs? The gaudy career numbers? Brady is arguably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. He’s a living legend. He’s on football’s Mount Rushmore. This was the easiest choice imaginable.

Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports

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Top 25 New England Patriots of all time

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