Though it has been nine years since the Patriots nearly achieved an undefeated season, the team just now has gotten around to trademarking "Perfect Season" and "19-0."
The Patriots have gone through the process with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and, in December, trademarked the two slogans through their parent company, The Kraft Group, online records show.
It was nine years ago this week that New England's bid for the first 19-0 season in NFL history ended with a loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
On Jan. 17, 2008, three days before the Patriots beat the Chargers to go to 18-0 and advance to the Super Bowl, The Kraft Group filed for trademarks in preparation for merchandising the Patriots' perfect season subject to winning the Super Bowl. The company filed to trademark "Road To Perfection," "19-0" and "Perfect Season."
Despite the team's loss to the Giants, The Kraft Group still went through and trademarked "Road To Perfection" in the "sports and entertainment information" category in November 2012.
More thought was apparently given to the other two trademarks -- "Perfect Season" and "19-0" -- as The Kraft Group filed for the maximum of five extensions to provide the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with the necessary documentation over the next eight years.
The one complication with those two filings is that, while thousands of T-shirts were printed commemorating a perfect Patriots season, none of them were ever sold. Emblazoned with an event that didn't occur, they instead were shipped to other countries.
Having to prove that they deserved the right to the phrase, the Patriots apparently licensed "Perfect Season" to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which produced a DVD of the 2015 state football championship game between Xaverian Brothers and Central Catholic high schools. Xaverian prevailed, winning its 24th straight game (spanning two seasons).
The championship games were hosted at Gillette Stadium, home of the Pats.
The Patriots have a deeper connection to Xaverian. Hall of Famer Andre Tippett's son Cody played on that 2015 team and was presented with the award for the best player in Massachusetts high school football by Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Former Patriots Vince Wilfork and Steve Grogan also sent their sons to Xaverian.
The Patriots informed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the DVD went on sale in October 2016. Requests made through a team spokesman for comment were not returned.
The Patriots were a few plays away from winning it all in 2008, but they still might benefit if they or another team -- in any sport -- has a perfect season and wants to use the phrase.
Their trademarks cover rights on everything from DVDs and clothing to toys and even pencils.
The Miami Dolphins, who completed a perfect season in 1972, filed to trademark "17-0" and "Perfectville" but eventually abandoned their pursuit.