10 Things to Know About the 2016 New England Patriots

As one of the most successful, and controversial teams in the NFL, the New England Patriots don’t have many secrets. Even so, there are some facts about the team that are a bit more obscure than others, and since there is never enough content about the Patriots, here are 10 more things to know about the star attraction of the NFL.

10. Most Fit NFL Team

According to Sports Illustrated the Patriots’ All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, and new free agent wide receiver Chris Hogan are two of the 50 most fit male athletes in the world. Gronk ranked 46th on the list while Hogan actually came in even higher at 38th overall. To any Patriots fan who has seen Gronk’s hulking godlike physique play football, his place on this list should come as no surprise. Hogan’s honor on the other hand, might seem a little less obvious, though his rigorous workouts certainly caught the attention of Sport Illustrated. Together these players tie the Patriots with the Seahawks as one of only two NFL teams to place two players on the list.

9. More Youth Than Meets The Eye

Despite the constant discussion of how much longer the Patriots’ window of dominance will be as Tom Brady’s retirement inches closer every year, the Patriots actually have a very young team. Based on the average age of every player on the roster, the Patriots have the 12th youngest team in the NFL. Even with 38 year old Brady bringing the average up, the team still has the 5th youngest team in the AFC, and the youngest playoff team in the conference.

8. Due for More Dominance

Based on the last fact, it probably shouldn’t be as shocking that NFL players expect the Patriots’ success to continue over the next 10 years, According to an ESPN Magazine poll of 304 NFL players, the Patriots are the most likely to make the most Super Bowl appearances in the next 10 years. The franchise received 27 percent of the vote, and that rank came despite the reasonable knowledge that Brady isn’t expected to be there for all 10 of those years. Not a bad sign for league wide respect for the Patriots.

7. They’re Hot

It’s no secret that Tom Brady is one of the most perfectly formed humans who has ever walked planet Earth, but the rest of the team isn’t too shabby either. An article for AOL.com recently named the Patriots the most attractive team in the NFL as a result of their collective good looks. Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and even Brady’s backup Jimmy Garoppolo have all been recognized by fans as irresistible dream boats, and for good reason. I mean really, just look at them:

6. They’re Masters of Social Media

Tom Brady has received a lot of well deserved attention for his fantastic Facebook posts over the last two years, but he’s not the only Patriot social media attraction. Both Gronk and Edelman have a powerful presence on social media, and even the team’s own social media pages are trafficked more than any other team in the NFL. Edelman in particular is actually one of the most successfully marketed players in the NFL. Many other NFL players including Brady and Gronk may be more famous, but get the same engagement on social media that Edelman does. Through the hilarious genuine content he produces with the help of his Boston based digital marketing team Superdigital, Edelman’s Facebook posts are shared at an average rate of 10 percent. The league average for a player is barely 3 percent. Just look at any of the hilarious content produced by the Patriots and Edelman over the last few years, and it’s not hard to understand why the team is as successful on social media as it is on the field.

5. New England Nepotism

It’s pretty clear that Bill Belichick has the whole coaching thing down for the Patriots, but can you ever really have enough Belichick? For the Patriots that answer is obviously, no. This policy has been the case ever since Bill’s son, Steve Belichick was hired as an assistant coach in 2012, but the team really doubled down on the family this offseason when they promoted Steve to the Patriots’ safeties coach. If the rest of the NFL thought they’d be free from the dreaded Belichick reign once the Evil Genius retires, they might have to think twice. Steve has some pretty good football genes on his side… and connections.

4. Rutgers Pipeline

In case you haven’t noticed: Belichick and the Patriots really like Rutgers. Since 2010 the Patriots have acquired 13 NFL players who played college football for Rutgers. Many players have come and gone, but there still remain four Rutgers alumni on the team’s current roster, including team captain Devin McCourty. Many attribute this phenomenon to Belichick’s close relationship with former Rutgers head football coach Greg Schiano, including Belichick himself. Then again, it might also have something to do with Steve Belichick playing college football, and coaching at Rutgers as well, who knows?  

3. Boston Sports Fans

New England’s passionate sports fans aren’t alone in their fanaticism. It turns out some Patriot players root just as hard for the local teams, if not more so than the average fan. Boston sports team have always supported each other, and Patriots have been seen attending plenty of local games, but new Patriot Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton has taken the team support to another level this offseason. As someone who grew up in Connecticut, Pot Roast is naturally a big Celtics fan, and he hasn’t been shy about trying to help the team in any way he can. With Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant fast approaching free agency this NBA offseason, Knighton has been using whatever medium he can to try and convince Durant to sign with Boston. Though it remains to be seen whether or not his recruitment campaign will be successful, his dedication is certainly to be admired.

2. Hilarious New Additions

As entertaining as longtime Patriots Gronk and Edelman are, two new free agent acquisitions are bound to be their own attractions this year. Both Chris Long, and Martellus Bennett have a history of comedy that fans will no doubt come to appreciate. Long in particular once was interviewed in a disguise while buying a powerball ticket. If that’s not enough to endear him to fans, he’s also been outspoken about being in favor of the Patriots since the very beginning of deflategate. Bennett on the other hand is great on social media, but more importantly has a hysterical press conference, which although may not be intentionally funny, all Patriot fans simply must see.

1.  Deflated Interest

Yes, deflategate has finally reared its ugly head on this list. We almost made it all the way through without its mention, but alas here it is. Fear not though, Patriot fans, there’s some good news this time. According to an ESPN poll of over 100 NFL players, only 84 percent are upset with the Patriots for their alleged crimes. In summation few NFL players care about the mess anymore or ever did, which seems like an attitude that isn’t necessarily exclusive to the players.
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