Presbyterianism

Presbyterianism is a form of church government, practiced by many (although not all) of those Protestant churches (known as Reformed churches), which historically subscribed to the teachings of John Calvin. Presbyterianism traces its institutional roots back to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. There are many separate Presbyterian Churches in different nations around the world. Besides national distinctions, Presbyterians also have divided from one another for doctrinal reasons, especially in the wake of the Enlightenment.

History of Presbyterianism

These denominations derive their name from the Greek word presbyteros, which means "elder." Presbyterian church governance is common to the Protestant churches that were most closely modelled after the Reformation in Switzerland. In England, Scotland and Ireland, the Reformed churches that adopted a presbyterian instead of episcopalian government, became known naturally enough, as the Presbyterian Church.

In Scotland, John Knox (1505-1572), who had studied under Calvin in Geneva, returned to Scotland and led the Parliament of Scotland to embrace the Reformation in 1560. The existing Church of Scotland was thus reformed along Presbyterian lines. In Ireland the Presbyterian Church was formed from the Church of Scotland and later became The Presbyterian Church In Ireland.In England, Presbyterianism was established in secret in 1572, toward the end of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. In 1647, by an act of the Long Parliament under the control of Puritans, the Church of England embraced Presbyterianism . The re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660 brought the re-establishment of episcopalian government in England (and in Scotland for a short time); but the Presbyterian church in England continued in non-conformity, outside of the established church. In Ireland, Presbyterianism was established by Scottish immigrants and missionaries to Ulster. The Presbytery of Ulster was formed separately from the established church, in 1642. Presbyterians, as well as Roman Catholics in Ulster and the rest of Ireland suffered under the discriminatory Penal Laws until they were revoked in the early 19th century. All three, very diverse branches of Presbyterianism, as well as independents, and some Dutch, German, and French Reformed denominations, combined in America to form what would eventually become the Presbyterian Church USA (1705). The Presbyterian church in England and Wales is the United Reformed Church, whilst the tradition also influenced the Methodist church, established in 1736.

Because of an emphasis on equal education for all people, Presbyterians have 'planted' and encouraged schools across the US as the country grew and the missionaries were sent out to the people.

Characteristics of Presbyterians

Main article: Presbyterian church governance

Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by both doctrine and institutional organization, or as they prefer to call it 'church order'. The origins of the Presbyterian churches were in Calvinism, which is no longer emphasized in some of the contemporary branches. Many of the branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups. These splits have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the Calvinist Westminster Confession of Faith, which historically serves as the main constitutional document of Presbyterian churches. Those groups that adhere to the document most strictly are typified by baptism of the infant children of believers, the exclusive use of Psalms (modified for metrical singing), singing unaccompanied by instruments, a common communion cup, only men are eligible for ordination to any church office, and a fully Calvinist doctrine of salvation. Because of this diversity of belief, more conservative Presbyterians are likely to attend the smaller denominations that have chosen to split from a larger body. While these conservative Presbyterians are not in the majority, their numbers are significant.

Presbyterian government is based on Elders. Teaching and ruling elders, sitting as a 'Kirk Session', (commonly refered to as simply 'session') are responsible for the discipline, the nurture and the mission of the local congregation. Sometimes the practicalities of buildings and finance in the congregation are delegated to a distinct group (known variosly as a 'Board' or 'Deacons' Court'. Teaching elders (ministers) have responsibility for teaching, worship and performing sacraments. Ministers are called by individual congregations. A congregation issues a call for the minister's service, but this call must be ratified by the Presbytery.

Above the Kirk Sessions exist Presbyteries, which have area responsibilities. These are composed of ministers and elders from each of the constituent congregations. The Presbytery sends representatives to a broader regional assembly, generally known as the General Assembly, although an intermediate level of a synod sometimes exists. This congregation / presbytery / synod / general assembly schema is based on the historical structure of the larger Presbyterian churches, like the Church of Scotland; some of the smaller bodies, like the Presbyterian Church in America or the Presbyterian Church in Ireland skip one of the steps between congregation and General Assembly, and usually the step skipped is the Synod. The Church of Scotland has now abolished the Synod.

Presbyterians place great importance upon education and continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church. References to the adoption of Calvin's theology of predestination and the typical member's predisposition to conduct themselves "decently and in order" have earned them the moniker of the "frozen chosen". However, most Presbyterians generally exhibit their faith in action as well as words, including generosity, hospitality, and the constant pursuit of social justice and reform as well as proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

Varieties of Presbyterians in North America

Even before the Presbyterians left Scotland there were divisions in the larger Presbyterian family. In North America, because of past doctrinal differences, Presbyterian churches often overlap, with congregations of many different Presbyterian groups in any one city. The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States is the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA). Other Presbyterian bodies in the United States include the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC (http://www.epc.org)), the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP Synod), the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS). In Canada, the largest Presbyterian Church is the Presbyterian Church in Canada; in 1925, about seventy percent of which, merged with the Methodist Church, Canada, and the Congregational Union of Canada to form the United Church of Canada.

Famous American Presbyterians

  • Dick Armey, U.S. Representative; conservative Republican from Texas
  • John C. Breckinridge, U.S. Vice-President under Buchanan
  • William Jennings Bryan of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee 1925 and three times U.S. Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party
  • James Buchanan, 15th U.S. President
  • Frederick Buechner, author of fantasy novels and non-fiction religious books
  • Aaron Burr, U.S. Vice-President under Jefferson
  • The Rev. Aaron Burr, co-founder of Princeton University
  • John C. Calhoun, U.S. Vice-President under Adams and Jackson
  • Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th U.S. President
  • Brian DePalma, film director; raised as a Presbyterian
  • John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President
  • Bill Frist, current Senate Majority Leader
  • Lamar Alexander, junior United States Senator from Tennessee
  • Jay Rockefeller, junior United States Senator from West Virginia
  • Mel Watt, Congressman from North Carolina and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • John Glenn, Astronaut, United States Senator
  • Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 election crisis and current congresswoman (R)
  • Benjamin Harrison, 23rd U.S. President
  • A. A. Hodge, seminary professor
  • Charles Hodge, seminary professor
  • Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President
  • Stonewall Jackson, General in the Confederate Army
  • Norman Maclean, author and academic
  • James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. President (converted from Presbyterianism to Methodism)
  • Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. President
  • Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005- )
  • The Rev. Fred Rogers, also known as the famous Mister Rogers, was an ordained Presbyterian Minister up until his death.
  • Jimmy Stewart, actor
  • Norman Thomas runs for President as the Socialist Party candidate in 1928
  • Daniel D. Tompkins, U.S. Vice-President under Monroe
  • Mark Twain, American author
  • Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Vice-President under F.D. Roosevelt
  • Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Princeton Seminary professor
  • William A. Wheeler, U.S. Vice-President under Hayes
  • Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey
  • Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
  • The Rev. John Witherspoon, only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence

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In Canada, the largest Presbyterian Church is the Presbyterian Church in Canada; in 1925, about seventy percent of which, merged with the Methodist Church, Canada, and the Congregational Union of Canada to form the United Church of Canada. The Patriots re-signed Troy Brown, who they released earlier in the Offseason. Other Presbyterian bodies in the United States include the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC (http://www.epc.org)), the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC), the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP Synod), the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States (RPCUS). On April 29, the Patriots surprised many by bringing Doug Flutie, the former Boston College and Patriots quarterback most recently with the San Diego Chargers, back to the team as a veteran backup to Brady. The largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States is the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA). During the 2005 NFL Draft, the Patriots used their first round pick on Logan Mankins, an offensive guard out of Fresno State. In North America, because of past doctrinal differences, Presbyterian churches often overlap, with congregations of many different Presbyterian groups in any one city. The offseason turned around however, with Tom Brady signing a new contract that would keep him in New England through the 2010 season, and the addition of Seattle linebacker Chad Brown.

Even before the Presbyterians left Scotland there were divisions in the larger Presbyterian family. Still, wanting to be a part of the team, Bruschi remarked that he would reevalute his condition for playing football at the end of the 2005 season. However, most Presbyterians generally exhibit their faith in action as well as words, including generosity, hospitality, and the constant pursuit of social justice and reform as well as proclaiming the gospel of Christ. Troy Brown, the long-time Patriots receiver, was released for salary cap reasons, surprising many after he had contributed on defense, offense, and special teams to help fill in for injured players (but understandable given that he was entering a "dummy year" with an inflated cap number, Troy Brown was re-signed on May 23). Other players who left include Joe Andruzzi, Keith Traylor, and Roman Phifer.
The most devastating aspect of the offseason came just days after the Pro Bowl, with linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffering a stroke. References to the adoption of Calvin's theology of predestination and the typical member's predisposition to conduct themselves "decently and in order" have earned them the moniker of the "frozen chosen". The Patriots, coming off two consecutive Super Bowl wins, started an offseason in which their team looked to be falling apart. Ty Law a longtime Patriot, who tied the Patriots all-time career interception record in the 2004 season, was released by New England after he took a hardline stance on renegotiating his contract or signing an extension. Presbyterians place great importance upon education and continuous study of the scriptures, theological writings, and understanding and interpretation of church doctrine embodied in several statements of faith and catechisms formally adopted by various branches of the church. The Patriots went on to defeat the Eagles 24-21 to become the first team in six years to repeat as World Champions, and only the second team ever to win three out of four consecutive Super Bowls (the first was the Dallas Cowboys, winning Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX.).

The Church of Scotland has now abolished the Synod. In the Conference Championship on January 23, they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-27, advancing to Super Bowl XXXIX to face the Philadelphia Eagles. This congregation / presbytery / synod / general assembly schema is based on the historical structure of the larger Presbyterian churches, like the Church of Scotland; some of the smaller bodies, like the Presbyterian Church in America or the Presbyterian Church in Ireland skip one of the steps between congregation and General Assembly, and usually the step skipped is the Synod. On January 16, 2005, the Patriots advanced to the AFC Conference Championship game by beating the Indianapolis Colts, 20-3. The Presbytery sends representatives to a broader regional assembly, generally known as the General Assembly, although an intermediate level of a synod sometimes exists. On December 12, the Patriots clinched the AFC East division championship for the third time in the past four years. These are composed of ministers and elders from each of the constituent congregations. The streak finally came to an end on October 31 when the Patriots were beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-20.

Above the Kirk Sessions exist Presbyteries, which have area responsibilities. They also extended their overall winning streak to 21. A congregation issues a call for the minister's service, but this call must be ratified by the Presbytery. On October 24 they broke the record for the most consecutive regular season victories at 18 after beating the New York Jets 13-7. Ministers are called by individual congregations. On October 10 they set the record for the number of consecutive wins (regular and post-season) in NFL history, at 19, after beating the 0-4 Miami Dolphins 24-10. Teaching elders (ministers) have responsibility for teaching, worship and performing sacraments. These moves paid off, as the Patriots finished the regular season at 14-2.

Sometimes the practicalities of buildings and finance in the congregation are delegated to a distinct group (known variosly as a 'Board' or 'Deacons' Court'. Their biggest move was obtaining superstar running back Corey Dillon from the Cincinnati Bengals. Teaching and ruling elders, sitting as a 'Kirk Session', (commonly refered to as simply 'session') are responsible for the discipline, the nurture and the mission of the local congregation. The Patriots made more big moves in the 2004 offseason to make sure a repeat of the disappointing 2002 season did not happen. Presbyterian government is based on Elders. The victory also made the 2003 Patriots the first team ever to win - or for that matter, even reach - the Super Bowl after having been shut out on opening day. While these conservative Presbyterians are not in the majority, their numbers are significant. The Patriots won their second Super Bowl in three years, 32-29; and Brady was named MVP again.

Because of this diversity of belief, more conservative Presbyterians are likely to attend the smaller denominations that have chosen to split from a larger body. A trick pass to linebacker Mike Vrabel in the end zone with just over 2:00 to play put the Patriots back in the lead, but Ricky Proehl tied it up with another touchdown to tie it 29-29. Brady then repeated his role from two years ago, moving the Patriots quickly downfield to force another Adam Vinatieri field goal with four seconds left. Those groups that adhere to the document most strictly are typified by baptism of the infant children of believers, the exclusive use of Psalms (modified for metrical singing), singing unaccompanied by instruments, a common communion cup, only men are eligible for ordination to any church office, and a fully Calvinist doctrine of salvation. The third quarter was scoreless, but Antowain Smith scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 21-10. Carolina scored two more touchdowns (neither of which were converted) to make it 22-21. These splits have been caused by disagreement concerning the degree to which those ordained to church office should be required to agree with the Calvinist Westminster Confession of Faith, which historically serves as the main constitutional document of Presbyterian churches. After a defensive battle for most of the first half, the teams traded touchdowns late in the second quarter, then more quick strikes by both teams made the score 14-10 Patriots at halftime. Many of the branches of Presbyterianism are remnants of previous splits from larger groups. Super Bowl XXXVIII was one of the closest championship games ever played.

The origins of the Presbyterian churches were in Calvinism, which is no longer emphasized in some of the contemporary branches. The Patriots were back in the Super Bowl, this time to face the Carolina Panthers. Presbyterians distinguish themselves from other denominations by both doctrine and institutional organization, or as they prefer to call it 'church order'. Despite only one offensive touchdown by the Patriots, they held on to win 24-14. Main article: Presbyterian church governance. The New England defense frustrated Colts quarterback Peyton Manning all day, forcing him to throw four interceptions (three to Ty Law) and sacking him three times. Because of an emphasis on equal education for all people, Presbyterians have 'planted' and encouraged schools across the US as the country grew and the missionaries were sent out to the people. The Patriots then faced the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC Championship.

The Presbyterian church in England and Wales is the United Reformed Church, whilst the tradition also influenced the Methodist church, established in 1736. An incomplete Steve McNair pass on 4th down with 1:40 left won the game 17-14 for New England. All three, very diverse branches of Presbyterianism, as well as independents, and some Dutch, German, and French Reformed denominations, combined in America to form what would eventually become the Presbyterian Church USA (1705). Played in a temperature of 5 degrees F, (making it the second-coldest game in NFL history) the Patriots and Titans kept it close until Vinatieri kicked the go-ahead field goal with 4 minutes left. Presbyterians, as well as Roman Catholics in Ulster and the rest of Ireland suffered under the discriminatory Penal Laws until they were revoked in the early 19th century. The first opponent was the Tennessee Titans. The Presbytery of Ulster was formed separately from the established church, in 1642. The Patriots had the NFL's best record at 14-2 and had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

In Ireland, Presbyterianism was established by Scottish immigrants and missionaries to Ulster. The Patriots also shut out 3 opponents: the Dallas Cowboys (led by Bill Parcells), the Dolphins (in a snowy Gillette Stadium), and a revenge 31-0 win over Buffalo in the final game of the regular season. The re-establishment of the monarchy in 1660 brought the re-establishment of episcopalian government in England (and in Scotland for a short time); but the Presbyterian church in England continued in non-conformity, outside of the established church. Several big plays marked the team's season: an 82-yard touchdown from Brady to Troy Brown in overtime in Miami, a 4th-quarter comeback in Denver known for an intentional safety, and a goal-line stand in Indianapolis where Edgerrin James was stopped by Willie McGinest on 4th and goal by from the 2 yard line in the dying seconds. In 1647, by an act of the Long Parliament under the control of Puritans, the Church of England embraced Presbyterianism . The Patriots only lost one game the rest of the season, despite several injuries. In Ireland the Presbyterian Church was formed from the Church of Scotland and later became The Presbyterian Church In Ireland.In England, Presbyterianism was established in secret in 1572, toward the end of the reign of Elizabeth I of England. The following week the Patriots traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles, who had also been shut out in their opener (17-0 at home by Tampa Bay), thus setting up the first NFL game matching two teams that had been shut out the week before since 1991, and the first game in the second week of a season between two teams that had been shut out in the first week since 1932 (the Patriots won this game 31-10).

The existing Church of Scotland was thus reformed along Presbyterian lines. But the surprise release of Lawyer Milloy days before the season opener (immediately dubbed "Lawyergate" by the press) shocked observers, and he ended up with the Buffalo Bills, who beat the Patriots 31-0 in Week 1. In Scotland, John Knox (1505-1572), who had studied under Calvin in Geneva, returned to Scotland and led the Parliament of Scotland to embrace the Reformation in 1560. In the 2003 offseason the Patriots picked up several big-name players in free agency such as linebacker Roosevelt Colvin (Colvin was placed on the injured reserve due to an injury early on in the season), safety Rodney Harrison and defensive lineman Ted Washington. In England, Scotland and Ireland, the Reformed churches that adopted a presbyterian instead of episcopalian government, became known naturally enough, as the Presbyterian Church. The Patriots started the 2002 season on a high note too, winning their first 3 games. However, injuries and problems with the offensive and defensive lines cost the team down the stretch, and the team finished 9-7. They missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker. These denominations derive their name from the Greek word presbyteros, which means "elder." Presbyterian church governance is common to the Protestant churches that were most closely modelled after the Reformation in Switzerland. Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills in the 2002 off-season.

Besides national distinctions, Presbyterians also have divided from one another for doctrinal reasons, especially in the wake of the Enlightenment. Brady was selected Super Bowl MVP. There are many separate Presbyterian Churches in different nations around the world. After 42 years, the Patriots were Super Bowl champions. Presbyterianism traces its institutional roots back to the Scottish Reformation, especially as led by John Knox. Brady calmly led New England's offense downfield, missing only one pass, when Adam Vinatieri won it with a 48-yard field goal as time expired. Presbyterianism is a form of church government, practiced by many (although not all) of those Protestant churches (known as Reformed churches), which historically subscribed to the teachings of John Calvin. Louis scored two touchdowns to tie it at 17-17 with 1:30 to go.

John Witherspoon, only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence. After trailing 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, St. The Rev. Belichick's defense held the Rams high-powered offense in check until the fourth quarter, forcing three turnovers (one returned by Ty Law for a touchdown and the other two leading to scores as well). Woodrow Wilson, 28th President. Louis Rams, who had beaten the Patriots in the regular season. Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey. Brady was back to face the heavily-favored St.

Vice-President under Hayes. With two special teams touchdowns and two Kordell Stewart interceptions in the fourth quarter, the Patriots stunned Pittsburgh 24-17 to advance to Super Bowl XXXVI. Wheeler, U.S. After Brady was injured in the second quarter, Bledsoe (in his last appearance as a Patriot) came off the sideline and immediately threw a touchdown. William A. The team then went to Pittsburgh to face the favored Steelers in the AFC Championship. Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield, Princeton Seminary professor. Kicker Adam Vinatieri tied the game with a 45-yard field goal in the final 30 seconds, and then won it 16-13 in overtime.

Roosevelt. In what Patriots fans saw as justice for Ben Dreith's controversial call in 1976, a Brady fumble was ruled an incomplete pass using the little-known "tuck rule". Vice-President under F.D. The Patriots opened the playoffs in a snowstorm against the Oakland Raiders in the last game ever played at Foxboro Stadium. Wallace, U.S. Even after Bledsoe was healthy again, Brady continued as the starting quarterback. Henry A. The Patriots continued to pick up momentum through the season, and won 6 games in a row to capture the AFC East with an 11-5 record.

Mark Twain, American author. But the big story was quarterback Tom Brady, who went his first four games (three of them wins) without throwing an interception. Vice-President under Monroe. Receivers Troy Brown and David Patten had career seasons, first-round draft pick Richard Seymour revitalized the defensive line, and Antowain Smith (a free agent signed from Buffalo) ran for 1000 yards. Tompkins, U.S. Few could have predicted what happened during the rest of the season. Daniel D. Chris Slade had left for the Carolina Panthers, and Coates was long gone as well.

Norman Thomas runs for President as the Socialist Party candidate in 1928. It looked like a similar result was in the cards for the 2001 season, with Bledsoe injured in Week 2 and Glenn with a drug suspension and contract holdout. Jimmy Stewart, actor. After a tough season with lots of close losses, the Patriots finished 5-11. Fred Rogers, also known as the famous Mister Rogers, was an ordained Presbyterian Minister up until his death. Luckily for the Patriots, Bill Belichick, hand-picked to be Parcells' successor with the Jets, quit after one day to join New England. The Rev. The team started 6-2 but finished 8-8, and Carroll was fired.

Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005- ). With no running game and tough competition in the division the 1999 season was tough for the Patriots. President. It opened in 2002. Ronald Reagan, 40th U.S. After the Hartford plan was scuttled by delays, he eventually built Gillette Stadium next to the old stadium in Foxboro. President (converted from Presbyterianism to Methodism). After not getting a deal from the city of Boston to replace the aging and inadequate Foxboro Stadium, Kraft announced in 1999 he was moving the team to Hartford, Connecticut.

James Knox Polk, 11th U.S. Backup quarterback Scott Zolak proved to be no match for the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first playoff game. Norman Maclean, author and academic. Bledsoe and Glenn were later both knocked out for the season, and the Patriots backed into the last playoff seed with a 9-7 record. Stonewall Jackson, General in the Confederate Army. After stumbling through the first half of the season (5-6 after the first 11 games), Bledsoe, playing with a broken finger, engineered late 4th-quarter comebacks against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills to save the season. President. The game was an officially-sponsored activity that took place during Pro Bowl weekend.

Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. Robert Edwards, a rookie draft pick, was his replacement but his career was over after a breakout rookie season by an injury he suffered in Hawaii while playing a game of flag football on the beach. Charles Hodge, seminary professor. Parcells convinced several players, including Curtis Martin, to join the Jets in time for the 1998 season. Hodge, seminary professor. A late fumble (recovered by future Patriot Mike Vrabel) won the game for Pittsburgh, 7-6. A. After having an easy time with the Miami Dolphins in Foxboro, the injury-plagued Patriots met the Steelers in Pittsburgh for a rematch in the divisional playoff.

A. In 1997 the Patriots still won the AFC East with a 10-6 record, but some key losses (including a loss to Parcells' Jets and a 4th-quarter collapse against the Pittsburgh Steelers) meant the team had to play in the wild card round. President. The new regime was immediately derided for botching draft picks, and the Patriots slipped back further in the standings during each of Carroll's years. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd U.S. Parcells did take the Jets job in the offseason, and Pete Carroll was named the new coach. Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State during the 2000 election crisis and current congresswoman (R). The Packers won 35-21.

John Glenn, Astronaut, United States Senator. In the days leading up to the game, rumors that Parcells was going to take the vacant head coaching job with the New York Jets were running rampant. The Patriots played the Packers close in the first half, but two long Brett Favre touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown by Desmond Howard sealed New England's fate. Mel Watt, Congressman from North Carolina and Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. But relations between Kraft and Parcells were strained, and may have cost the team a championship. Jay Rockefeller, junior United States Senator from West Virginia. The Patriots blew out the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-3 in the divisional playoff, and held off the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-6 in the AFC Championship. The team advanced to Super Bowl XXXI against the Green Bay Packers. Lamar Alexander, junior United States Senator from Tennessee. The Patriots finished 11-5, first in the AFC East, and gained a first-round bye.

Bill Frist, current Senate Majority Leader. Linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Ted Johnson arrived on the scene to help McGinest and Slade. Eisenhower, 34th President. On defense, rookie safety Lawyer Milloy made an impact, as did Willie Clay (signed from the Detroit Lions) and second-year cornerback Ty Law. Dwight D. In 1996 the team added wide receiver Terry Glenn, who did the same work to the passing game that Martin did to the running game. Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration. Bledsoe went down with injuries though, and the Patriots finished a lackluster 6-10.

John Foster Dulles, U.S. Curtis Martin joined the team for the 1995 season, giving the team a much-needed boost to the running game. Brian DePalma, film director; raised as a Presbyterian. The team finished 10-6 and won a wild card playoff spot. The Patriots were quickly turned away in the first round by the Cleveland Browns - the last team to beat New England in the regular season, and coached by future Pats hero Bill Belichick. President. The Patriots won the game 26-20 in overtime, and did not lose a game for the rest of the regular season. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th U.S. Bledsoe set single-game records for pass attempts and completions.

Vice-President under Adams and Jackson. The Patriots looked flat in the 1994 season until Drew Bledsoe sparked a second-half comeback against the Minnesota Vikings by switching to the no-huddle offense. Calhoun, U.S. Louis after the season looked imminent, but Orthwein ended up selling the team to Boston businessman Robert Kraft instead. John C. A move to St. Aaron Burr, co-founder of Princeton University. Bledsoe came back later in the season and won four in a row to end the season at 5-11, including a dramatic overtime win in the final week to knock the Dolphins out of the playoffs.

The Rev. After losing the first four games, Bledsoe was injured and replaced with former Dolphins backup Scott Secules, who won one of his two games. Vice-President under Jefferson. Other draft picks such as tight end Ben Coates and linebackers Willie McGinest and Chris Slade, helped the team immediately. Aaron Burr, U.S. This was only part of a major season of change in New England. Bill Parcells was hired as head coach, and even the logo and uniforms changed. Frederick Buechner, author of fantasy novels and non-fiction religious books. With the first pick in the 1993 draft, the Patriots selected quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

President. Louis were circulating and the team finished 2-14. James Buchanan, 15th U.S. Optimism was high entering the 1992 season, but rumors of a move to St. Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. Hugh Millen took over at quarterback partway through the season, and the Patriots improved to 6-10 with several upsets over playoff teams. William Jennings Bryan of the famous Scopes "Monkey Trial" in Tennessee 1925 and three times U.S. Louis businessman James Orthwein, who had thoughts of moving the team to his hometown.

Vice-President under Buchanan. The new owner was St. Breckinridge, U.S. First-year coach Rod Rust was fired and replaced by Dick MacPherson. John C. The Colts win was the only one of the season, with the team finishing 1-15. Representative; conservative Republican from Texas. Kiam's handling of the situation was called into question, and he ended up selling the team.

Dick Armey, U.S. Newspaper reporter Lisa Olson was sexually harassed by players Zeke Mowatt, Michael Timpson and Robert Perryman following a win over the Indianapolis Colts. 1990 became the most tumultuous season in Patriots history. Eason, Flutie and Grogan rotated the starting quarterback job as the Patriots finished 5-11. The season was over before it began - three of the team's biggest stars on defense (Andre Tippett, Garin Veris and Ronnie Lippett) were injured in one preseason game.

In 1989 founder Billy Sullivan sold the team to Remington shaver magnate Victor Kiam. Neither quarterback could get New England to take the final step to the playoffs, and the Patriots finished 9-7. In 1988 Flutie played five games again before he was replaced by Eason. Late-season injuries put the Patriots out of playoff contention at 8-7.

Many defensive stars for New England crossed the picket line. Doug Flutie, the future Canadian Football League and Buffalo Bills star, played one game for the Patriots during a players' strike in 1987. The team did not return to the playoffs for eight years. A late fourth-quarter touchdown pass from John Elway to Vance Johnson won it for Denver, and the Patriots' fate was sealed.

Eason stepped up the passing game (with Stanley Morgan getting nearly 1500 yards receiving) as New England won the AFC East with an 11-5 record, and traveled to Denver to take on the Broncos in the first round playoff game. Indeed, the team had the worst rushing offense in the league that season. When John Hannah, still widely considered to be the greatest offensive lineman of all-time, retired before the 1986 season, a lot of people thought the Patriots' offense would collapse. The final score was 46-10 Chicago.

But the Bears scored the next 46, including one touchdown by William "Refrigerator" Perry. The Bears had not allowed a point in the playoffs, but the Patriots took an early 3-0 lead after a Walter Payton fumble in the first quarter. Unfortunately for New England, the Bears had one of the greatest defenses of all time according to most experts. The Patriots made an improbable run to Super Bowl XX, where they faced the Chicago Bears.

The Patriots had lost 20 straight games in Miami at the time, but won this one, dominating the Dolphins defensively again en route to a 30-14 win. In the divisional playoff against the Los Angeles Raiders the Patriots forced six turnovers and won 27-20, to set up an AFC Championship showdown against the rival Miami Dolphins. In the first round the Patriots beat the New York Jets to win their first playoff game since 1963. New England won six straight games and finished 11-5, with a wild card playoff berth.

But Grogan broke his leg late in the season, and Eason got the starting job again. After struggling to start the 1985 season, new coach Raymond Berry replaced Eason with Grogan. In 1984 the Patriots lost three straight games in December, and again missed the playoffs at 9-7. The team again lost some key games, and finished out of the playoffs at 8-8.

Rookie Tony Eason became the new quarterback for the 1983 season, but split duties for much of the mid-1980s with Grogan. In 1982, a snowplow-aided 3-0 late-season win over the Miami Dolphins put the Patriots in the playoffs, but the first-round rematch in Miami was easily won by the Dolphins. Coach Erhardt was fired and replaced by Ron Meyer. With these performances in mind, a local sportswriter intimated that the team suffered from the "Bozo Syndrome," meaning that they played "like clowns in the clutch." The Patriots completely collapsed in 1981, finishing 2-14, including two losses to the Baltimore Colts which were the only two games the Colts won that year.

In 1980, with star running back Sam Cunningham holding out all season, the Patriots started 6-1 but finished 10-6, again out of the playoffs. In 1979 the team lost three games in December to finish 9-7 and out of the playoffs. The Patriots became poster children for late-season failure through the late 1970s. The stunned team lost its first round playoff game to the Houston Oilers.

Owner Billy Sullivan suspended Fairbanks and hired Ron Erhardt on the spot to coach the final game. Coach Chuck Fairbanks announced he would be leaving the team to take a job at the University of Colorado. In a preseason game against the Raiders, wide receiver Darryl Stingley was paralyzed by Oakland's Jack Tatum, who has never apologized for the incident. The Patriots rebounded and finished 11-5, tops in the AFC East, but a bizarre incident hours before the last game of the season shocked the team. 1978 almost became an even bigger disappointment.

The Patriots finished 9-5, one game out of first place, and out of the playoffs. 1977 was a disappointing season, aided by contract holdouts by offensive linemen John Hannah and Leon Gray. The referee, Ben Dreith, was not allowed to officiate Patriots games again. Many Patriots fans to this day think that touchdown should never have happened, blaming a roughing-the-passer penalty earlier in the drive that should not have been called.

The game was close and was settled in the final seconds with a touchdown run by Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler. The opponent was the Oakland Raiders, whose only regular season loss had come at the hands of New England. The Patriots finished 11-3 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1963. Steve Grogan became New England's quarterback for the 1976 season.

The draft picks acquired in the Plunkett trade, used to select defensive backs Mike Haynes and Tim Fox set the stage for the team's first winning season in the NFL. Plunkett was traded to the San Francisco 49ers after the season, and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders. The Patriots finished 7-7 in 1974, but with injuries to Plunkett in 1975, slumped to 3-11 that season. Through the mid-1970s, the team showed signs of life, if only briefly.

In 1973 the team hired Chuck Fairbanks to lead it. During this time the Patriots consistently had losing records, and went through three coaches in four seasons. Also new in 1971 was a new quarterback, first-round pick Jim Plunkett, taken with the draft's first overall selection, which the Patriots received for having finished worst overall in 1970. Since it was located several miles outside Boston, the team was renamed the New England Patriots.

The following season, after bouncing around between four different stadiums in their first 11 years, Foxboro Stadium (originally called Schaefer Stadium) opened. In 1970 the Patriots became a member of the NFL pursuant to the merger of the AFL and NFL that had been agreed to three years earlier, but their first experience therein was anything but pleasant as they finished 2-12 and in sole possession of the newly-merged league's worst record. In the late 1960's, fullback Jim Nance became a powerful offensive weapon for the Patriots, gaining 1,458 yards in 1966 and 1,216 in 1967, when he was the American Football League's MVP. In 1963, eleven Patriots made the AFL All-star team, including Gino Cappelletti, Nick Buoniconti, and Babe Parilli.

Although the team made only two AFL playoff appearances, it had numerous stars. The Boston Patriots played in the first-ever game in the American Football League, against the Denver Broncos on September 9, 1960. The New England Patriots are a National Football League team based in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Ted Washington.

Mosi Tatupu. Andre Tippett. Irving Fryar. Jim Plunkett.

Babe Parilli (born 1930). Ross O'Hanley. Jim Nance. Jon Morris (born 1942).

Lawyer Milloy. Pete Carroll. Harry Jacobs. Jim Lee Hunt.

Steve Grogan. Larry Eisenhauer. Bob Dee. Jim Colclough (1936 - 2004).

Gino Cappelletti (born 1934). Ron Burton (1936-2003). Drew Bledsoe. Houston Antwine (born 1939).

Julius Adams. 89 Bob Dee. 79 Jim Lee Hunt. 78 Bruce Armstrong.

73 John Hannah. 57 Steve Nelson. 56 Andre Tippett. 40 Mike Haynes.

20 Gino Cappelletti. Lonie Paxton. Adam Vinatieri. Richard Seymour.

Rodney Harrison. David Givens. Corey Dillon. Tedy Bruschi.

Tim Dwight. Deion Branch. Josh Miller. Bethel Johnson.

Asante Samuel. Randall Gay. Eugene Wilson. Ted Johnson.

Mike Vrabel. Willie McGinest. Vince Wilfork. Chad Brown.

Ty Warren. Kevin Faulk. Daniel Graham. Christian Fauria.

Matt Light. Brandon Gorin. Stephen Neal. Russ Hochstein.

Dan Koppen. Patrick Pass. Doug Flutie. Tom Brady.

Mike Haynes. John Hannah. Nick Buoniconti.

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