FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In a reminder of how things have changed, 24 years ago Friday the New England Patriots garnered headlines by unveiling their new logo and uniforms at a news conference held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.
The primary color of the uniforms changed from red to blue, which remains the case today, although the actual jerseys have undergone multiple tweaks since. This was also the time in which the team added silver to its colors (pants and helmets), which has stood the test of time. Meanwhile, the new logo of a streamlined head of a Minuteman also remains the same.
Then-owner James Orthwein was quoted in the Boston Globe saying, "This is evolution, not revolution. The Minuteman is still the central focus. I like to think of memories as the rearview mirror we monitor as we drive into the future."
Linebacker Andre Tippett was present at the news conference to model the road jersey, while offensive tackle Pat Harlow did the same with the home jersey. First-year head coach Bill Parcells was also on hand, but predictably had little to say about the changes.
"I don't have any expertise in fashion design," he told reporters. "I think all uniforms look nice when you've got good players playing in them."
The changes, which weren't well received by a faction of fans who preferred the traditional "Pat Patriot" logo, serve as a reminder of how far the Patriots have come from a merchandise and revenue standpoint.
In a Globe story from the March 31, 1993, news conference, reporter Peter May wrote, "The Patriots, who are in the sixth largest TV market and the AFC's top sole market team (the Jets share theirs), still ranked 26th among the 28 teams in merchandising sales, ahead of only Tampa Bay and Phoenix. So the NFL Properties people didn't object to waiving the one-year rule regarding uniform changes."
This was also a time in which Parcells' arrival brought new hope to the franchise, which was a doormat coming off seasons with records of 1-15, 6-10 and 2-14. Parcells' arrival, and then the selection of quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, began the process of sparking a dramatic turnaround.
Eleven months later, Robert Kraft purchased the team from Orthwein -- ensuring the franchise would be staying in New England -- and the two shook hands in front of a backdrop that featured the new logo. A silver Patriots helmet rested on the table in front of them.
First came the new look, then a new beginning in leadership.
Merchandise sales have never seemed to lag since.