Total Patriots: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the World-Class Franchise by Bob Hyldburg
Triumph Books 2009
Being a rather comprehensive encyclopedia of the New England Patriots, this is clearly a must-have for any Patriots fan.
It has a synopsis of every single New England Patriots season in team history, a list of every single player who ever played a game for the Patriots, profiles of historical and current players, and game synopses of all the playoff and prime time games ever played. And of course, it has about every single record imaginable.
While this is a great resource for Patriots fans, I have many suggestions for any future editions, because I found it lacking in many areas.
First, the writing is rather pedestrian and dry. This was a ton of work for just one author so I can certainly understand that. But the prose is uneven and often inconsistent, which leads me to my next point.
In the season-by-season synopsis the author does a poor job of really providing a theme for the season. It’s just dry prose walking the reader through what happened that year.
Worse yet, the major title to each season doesn’t even always tell you what the ultimate result was. For example, under the 1978 season, it does tell you the last game was a 31-14 loss to the Houston Oilers in the playoffs. And in fact it barely even mentions the game at all.
Yet later, for example the 1998 recap, the header does tell you that the Patriots lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 25-10 in the Wild Card playoff. I would have found it extremely helpful for this information to be more prominent throughout.
Further, I really wish in this section the player statistics didn’t talk about touchdown’s thrown or interceptions made, but gave us the leading rusher, passer, receiver, kick returner, tackler, interceptions leaders, similar to what is done in the NFL Record and Fact Book.
I found the information on player statistics here to be interesting, but not greatly informative.
I did greatly enjoy the player profiles, which were mini-biographies of all the Patriots’ great players throughout team history, some with a list of their biggest highlights for moments as Patriots players.
I did wonder why safety Ron Hall didn’t merit a bio (1961-1967). He still holds the team record with the most interceptions in a season with 9 and was an important part of the defense in the Patriots’ early years, including some of the more successful seasons.
There are all kinds of records in this book, even very obscure ones. And the author does a nice of job of walking the reader through the progression of records being made and broken.
But I found this section somewhat disorganized and were you looking for one specific fact it would take a while to wade through all the information to get to what you are seeking.
There is a good, concise synopsis of the major records at the end of the book, but it would be nice to have one little area with all the major ones listed instead of having to wade through to find what you are looking for.
There is also a trivia section near the end which is sometimes pretty entertaining but like the rest of the book, I often found the way it was organized off-putting.
All this aside, this is truly a great resource for almost anything you’d want to know about the New England Patriots.