Some Patriotic history for Fourth

July, 4, 2012
7/04/12
12:00
PM ET
NFL Kickoff weekend (hey, it's only nine weeks away!) and Super Bowl Sunday may be the highest of holidays for Patriots fans, but is there really any national holiday more appropriate for New England's football team than the Fourth of July?

On Tuesday, NFL Films explored some Patriots history (with an American Revolution twist) in their latest "Tales from the Vault" piece:
The Patriots’ beginnings were as humble as those of the Continental Army, an outfit whose ranks were comprised largely of farmers, boot makers, inn keepers, village smithees, and village idiots. The rewards for joining the Continental Army were meager — in some states, volunteers received 500 dollars for signing up. Their bonus: a tankard of ale. In most cases, it was a small tankard of ale.

In 1960, it was up to Head Coach Lou Saban – the George Washington of these Patriots – to whip beefy bricklayers, flabby bartenders and gimpy ex-college players into fighting trim. Although, the football Patriots were paid in the 5 figures, they received no ale bonus.

On a more serious note, the Boston Globe on Wednesday has the obituary for Mary Malone Sullivan, who died on Sunday at 92. She was the widow of Billy Sullivan, the owner of the Patriots from their inception in 1960 as the AFL's Boston Patriots until their sale in 1988.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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