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In the early 1980s the Boston Celtics were still hanging championship banners from the rafters at the old Garden. The Red Sox were heading toward a season in which they would finish first in the '86 season. This was the first time since 1904 that the Yankees finished second to the Sox. The Bruins simply made the playoffs year after year after year. The Patriots? The Patriots were not showing up anywhere. But over the course of the 1985 season, they made it a “Fab Four” on the New England sports scene, becoming the first and only team in NFL history to emerge from a wild card berth and get to the Super Bowl by winning three games on the road. By doing so, the team claimed the first American Football Conference championship in franchise history, and finally were able put pro football on the map for New England!

They made the journey to the franchise's first ever Super Bowl appearance. Following their Super Bowl loss to the Chicago Bears, the Patriots returned to the playoffs in 1986, but ended up losing in the first round. The team did not make the playoffs again for eight more years.

 

SOURCE:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_england_pats