Road to the Super Bowl: AFC EAST
It’s great to see you here Real Bookie, on this edition of the series “Road to the Superbowl” we’ll talk about the AFC East.
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We’ll start with the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have been part of the National Football League since 1970. Before that, the Bills were part of the American Football League, and were founded in 1960. In the last 53 years, the Bills have been part of some of the best and the worst history in the National Football League.
Highmark Stadium is the Home of the Bills
When the Bills first started playing, they used War Memorial Stadium. Then, in 1973 they moved to their current location – Highmark Stadium. It certainly was not Highmark Stadium the entire time. Here is a look at the progression of the venue in Orchard Park, New York. In 1973 – it was known as Rich Stadium. The venue opened in 1973 and had Astro Turf throughout it. The capacity was and has stayed at 71,608 most of the time it’s been in existence.
In 1998 – the stadium was then named after Bills owner and founder, and until 2015 was named Ralph Wilson Stadium. In 2016, New Era Cap Company reached a seven-year deal for $5M per season for the naming rights. It was then named New Era Field. That agreement lasted until the end of the 2019 season, and in July of 2020, the Bills started taking down signage for New Era Field. At that point, the stadium would be known as Bills Stadium, at least until a new name was unveiled. Finally, in March of 2021 – the team and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York came to an agreement, and the stadium is known as Highmark Stadium. This agreement was met for 10 seasons.
The first playoff game at this venue was held in 1988. During the stretch of 1989 through 1996 – the Bulls won every playoff game at home. The open-air venue has seen its fair share of concerts, along with Syracuse Football playing games there as well. In 2008, the Winter Classic was held there in front of nearly 72,000 fans.
Why the Bills? And Who are They
Many know what the Buffalo Bills are, but not many know why. The team was originally called the Bison when it was part of the All-American Football Conference. One year after its existence, the owner wanted to rename the team. The team held an essay contest, and the winner won $500. James F. Dyson won the contest, comparing the team to a band of “Buffalo Bills”. This was in reference to Buffalo Bill Cody, who was famous in the late 1880’s.
The original colors of the Bills were blue, silver, and white. The helmets had no striping, and there was no logo on the helmet. This has been changed several times throughout the years, with the most notable coming in 2011 when they returned to the royal blue instead of the navy and went with more of a “charging” Buffalo-type logo. The Bills have a very unique logo, and one that folks throughout sports typically do not get confused with other teams.
Final Buffalo Bills Tidbits
The Buffalo Bills have held their training camp at St. John Fisher University, which is in Pittsford, New York. Throughout the years, this is the fifth host to their camp, with the most recent being in Fredonia, back until 1999.
The Bills have a mascot named Billy Buffalo, who is known as being 8 feet tall, and wears the jersey number BB. The Bills are also one of the few franchises in the National Football League that do not have cheerleaders. The team used to have a cheer squad named the “Jills”, but that ended in 2013.
Despite not having cheerleaders, the Bills are one of six teams that have their own official marching band and or drumline. Fans in Buffalo are known for being very passionate about their team, and there are no bigger fans than the Bills Backers, or as many call them, the “Bills Mafia.” That name was trademarked back in 2020.
Finally, Buffalo Bills are the team that the famous Demar Hamlin played on January 2nd, 2023. Many consider this moment against the Cincinnati Bengals as the scariest moment in the history of the National Football League. Hamlin was carried off the field with cardiac arrest after making a tackle. Following 9 days in the hospital, he was able to recover after home rehabilitation.
Next up are the famous Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are an organization that has been around since 1965 and have the famous Joe Robbie as their original founder. The Dolphins are the oldest professional sports team in the state of Florida. Florida is known for their sports teams and the amount of them, so to be the longest-standing is quite the feat. The Dolphins are also known as the first professional football team to be formed in the Southeast, alongside Atlanta. The Dolphins are known to have plenty of success and a ton of history behind their franchise.
Hard Rock Stadium is the Home of the Dolphins
Located in Miami Gardens, Florida, Hard Rock Stadium is the home of the Miami Dolphins. The facility opened back in the late 1980s, and it has seen a ton of name changes over the years. It started as Joe Robbie Stadium and has seen names such as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Dolphin Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, and Sun Life Stadium. It became Hard Rock Stadium in 2016, and the contract runs until the year 2034.
Hard Rock Stadium is actually one of the more popular places for a football game in the country. The Stadium has seen six Super Bowls played there, a Pro Bowl, a World Series, a BCS National Title, and the World Baseball Classic. The Orange Bowl and the Miami Open Tennis Tournament are part of the annual events held there each season as well. Hard Rock Stadium used to be the home for the Miami Marlins until they moved to their own park back in 2012.
While capacity was set at 75,000 – the 2013 BCS National Championship actually saw a record of over 80,000. With some construction, they list capacity now of just over 64,700. The last time the stadium held a Super Bowl was just before the start of COVID – and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the San Francisco 49ers in front of 62,417 fans in Super Bowl LIV on February 2nd, 2020.
Why the Dolphins? And Who are They?
The Dolphins were the first professional American Football team in Florida and originally called the Seahawks. This was before their time with the National Football League. Obviously, Miami is known for its warm climate and growing population, so, to no one’s surprise, the National Football League wanted to come there. In 1965 the team held a contest to name the franchise. Over 19,000 entries were submitted, with over 1,000 different team names suggested. The winning name – Dolphins, was submitted by 622 fans, so that’s how it came into existence.
The team stayed pretty in the colors aqua and coral through the 2012 season. Then for the 2013 season, the franchise chose to go with a new look of the logo and uniforms, went with a more stylized aqua dolphin, and brought navy into the mix for the first time. Even to this day, aqua, coral, and navy are the main colors of the Dolphins. You can sometimes find shares of orange with the color scheme – one of the more iconic logos of all time in professional sports.
Final Miami Dolphins Tidbits
The Miami Dolphins are one of the few teams in the National Football League with their own fight song. The team came up with the song before the famous 1972 season. The team then came up with a new modern version of the fight song during the 2009 season with local artists. The team as cheerleaders known as the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. They have been with the franchise since the 1978 season. The official mascot of the Miami Dolphins is called “The Dolphin” and has been around since 1997. He is 7 feet tall. Lastly, the Dolphins have their own television network, which they started in 2010. This serves fans in several counties throughout South Florida.
The next team is the New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are a team that competes in the National Football League as a member of the AFC East. The Patriots have been around since the 1960 season, in which they played in the American Football League until the merger in 1970. The Patriots are one of the most iconic teams in the league, due in large part to their success, but also their Boston area roots. The Patriots have a ton of history, and some many do not know about.
Gillette Stadium is the Home of the Patriots
Located in Foxborough Massachusetts, which is 22 miles from Boston – Gillette Stadium is the home of the New England Patriots. The stadium holds nearly 66,000 fans, with nearly 6,000 club seats. The stadium broke ground back in 2000, and it opened then in 2022. It took roughly $325M to complete the construction.
Not only do the Patriots play there, but so do the New England Revolution, out of the MLS. Gillette Stadium has provided plenty of great moments, including concerts of all the greatest musicians, along with Premier Lacross League, Major League Lacrosse, MLS Cup, International Soccer Friendlies, College Football and a ton of great postseason games in the National Football League. The stadium is set to host several matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Before the team moved to Gillette Stadium, the team was at Foxboro Stadium from 1971-2001. Before that, several places were the home of the Patriots. It started with Nickerson Field in 1960, and moved to Fenway Park for the 1963-1968 seasons. Alumni Stadium and Harvard Stadium had back to back seasons as the home of the Patriots before the move to Foxboro Stadium in 1971.
Why the Patriots? And Who are They?
Billy Sullivan was awarded the franchise for Boston in the late 1960’s. Sullivan allowed locals to submit ideas for the franchise team name. It was a very popular choice that the Boston Patriots would be the choice. Patriots refer to the 13 colonies back in the American Revolution of 1776. In March of 1971 the team would officially move to the New England Patriots, after asking the NFL if they could be called the “Bay State” Patriots. The league turned that name down.
Some of the nicknames the Patriots have include the Pats, the Evil Empire, and the tight end corp from 2010 was known as the Boston TEA Party. Finally, the defensive linebacker corp during the 2019 season were known as the Boogeymen.
Historical Records for the New England Patriots
The New England Patriots are chalk full of records within their franchise. Tom Brady being the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player four times comes to mind. Also, Brady being a three-time Most Valuable Player is another that comes to mind. Brady remains the single-season record for passing yards in a 17-game season with over 5,200 in a season. He also threw for 50 touchdowns in a whole separate season. Brady also has records too, like most passing yards, competitions and touchdowns with a single team.
Randy Moss, back in 2007, set the NFL record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season, with 23. Stephen Gostkowski is in the record book for kickers. The stud kicker recorded over 1,770 total points from 2006-2019 as a kicker.
Those are just a few. The Patriots have a good chunk of records, with their success on the field. We haven’t even gotten to their head coach Bill Belichick and the records he holds.
Final New England Patriots Tidbits
The Patriots official mascot is known as Pat Patriot, who is a revolutionary minuteman that has been with the team since 1995. The team employs a group known as the End Zone Militia, which is shown as the 9th Massachusetts Regiment. Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” is the unofficial theme song for the Patriots at home games. New England has been involved with several “conspiracies” in the NFL including the Snowplow game of 1982, Spygate during the 2007 season, and also deflate gate of 2015.
The last team for this video is the New York Jets
Around since 1959, the New York Jets have been a member of the National Football League since the league started in 1970. Before their arrival into the National Football League, they were members of the American Football League.
MetLife Stadium is the Home of the Jets
Located in East Rutherford, New Jersey, MetLife Stadium is the home of the New York Jets. Despite the drama around it for years, MetLife Stadium is also the home of the New York Giants, also out of the National Football League. This is one of just two stadiums in the NFL that shares its team. The Rams and Chargers also share SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
MetLife Stadium broke ground in 2007, and was then opened in 2010. The $1.6B project included an open-air multi-purpose stadium just a few miles west of New York City. This replaced Giants Stadium.
Super Bowl XLVIII was held at MetLife Stadium, and would be the first Super Bowl held in the New York City area. On February 2nd, 2014, the game actually happened, and it was the third coldest Super Bowl of all time. The weather must have affected Denver, and not Seattle, as the Seahawks smashed the Broncos 43-8.
Many other big events have gone on at MetLife Stadium. Wrestlemania has twice been there, along with Major League Soccer, international soccer, NHL Stadium Series, College Football, and a huge Lacross Tournament.
The stadium holds 33,346 in the lower bowl. The middle bowl sees more than 21,000, and the upper bowl houses nearly 28,000.
Before playing at MetLife, the Jets started at Polo Grounds from 1960-1963. In 1964, the team moved to Shea Stadium, all the way until the 1983 season. Giants Stadium then was their home until MetLife opened up.
Why the Jets? And Who are They?
The franchise was founded in 1959 and first started as the Titans of New York. In 1963, the team was then bought for $1, and the team was renamed the Jets due to playing nearly to LaGuardia Airport, and it rhymed with the Jets, who would also play at Shea Stadium. At that point, the name was supposed to remind people of the approach of the team. Sonny Werblin, a graduate of Rutgers, was the originator of the name Jets for the franchise.
Final New York Jets Tidbits
The New York Jets won their first game in 1960, and held the Buffalo Bills to just 3 points in that game. The Jets signed their first player in 1960, and that was Don Maynard. The first winning season for the Jets came in 1967, as they went 8-5-1.
The Jets do all their preseason training at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New York. Popular head coach Pete Carroll spent a season as the head coach of the New York Jets, as did Bill Belichick. The problem with Belichick is he resigned a day into his tenure, and took the job with the New England Patriots.
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