How the Patriots morphed from a Cape house into an NFL titan by Sean Leahy of USA Today I'm generally not a reader of USA Today, but in a perusal around the interweb for NFL, and specifically Pats-related news, I found this column about the beginning of the early days of the Patriots. Apparently it is the first in a series of the ten AFL franchises on the 50th anniversary of the AFL. If Mary Sullivan had had her way, the New England Patriots might never have become a reality. The wife of Patriots founder Billy Sullivan had a dream â and a savings account to match â for a summer home on Massachusetts' Cape Cod. But her husband persuaded Mary to wait on the Cape home as he and nine partners invested $25,000 to purchase the start-up American Football League's final franchise charter in 1959. It was a humble beginning to a team that would, more than four decades later, become one of the NFL's titans. But it made Sullivan, who died in 1998, the godfather of professional football in New England. continue reading . . .