NFL - AFC EAST
2021-2022 TEAM LEADERS
New England Patriots
Founded in 1959 as an original member of the AFL, the then Boston Patriots played its first season in 1960. By the 1963 season the Patriots were playing for their first league championship, ultimately losing to the San Diego Chargers.
There wouldn’t be anymore playoffs appearances as a member of the AFL, but the Patriots joined the NFL as part of the merger after the 1970 season, and by 1976 they were back in the postseason. Between the 1976 season and 1988, the Patriots had just one losing season, while making the playoffs five times, including the franchises first ever trip to the Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for Patriots fans, the team they faced in Super Bowl XX was one of the best teams in NFL history, the 1985 Chicago Bears, and they lost badly, 46-10. But with Bill Parcells and Pete Carroll as head coaches in the 1990s, they continued to be a playoff team, and even appeared in another Super Bowl – a loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXI.
It was following the 1999 season, however, that the team made its biggest acquisition. That is when the team hired Bill Belichick to be the head coach. His first year at the helm, 2000, was a disappointing 5-11. But starting the next season, no one felt bad for Patriots fans ever again.
Championship by the New England Patriots
Super Bowl XXXVI
Third time was the charm, as the underdog Patriots beat the “Greatest Show on Turf”, the St. Louis Rams, 20-17. The explosive Rams offense that was just two years removed from beating the Titans in the Super Bowl, didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
Super Bowl XXXVIII
Two years later the Patriots lifted another Lombardi Trophy after what is considered one of the best Super Bowl’s in history. A total of 61 points were scored (37 in the fourth quarter), there were 868 total yards, and the game was won on a last-second Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Super Bowl XXXIX
The Patriots made it back-to-back Super Bowl wins and three in four years with a 24-21 win over Philadelphia. New England’s defense forced four turnovers in the game and wide receiver Deion Branch was named the game’s MVP.
Super Bowl XLIX
A ten-year Super Bowl winning drought came to end when the Patriots beat the Seahawks, 28-24. Tom Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP award, but the game is best known for Seattle opting to throw from the 1-yard line with 26 seconds left, and Malcolm Butler making the game-clinching interception.
Super Bowl LI
All of New England’s previous Super Bowl wins were close, but none should have been a loss more than the win over Atlanta. The Falcons led 28-3 midway through the third quarter, but a furious fourth quarter comeback tied the game, and the Patriots scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime.
Super Bowl LIII
The last of New England’s six Super Bowl titles came against the Los Angeles Rams, the same team as their first win, but with a city change. It ended up being the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history, with New England winning, 13-3.
Key Stats by the New England Patriots
No team has played in more Super Bowls (11) or won more Lombardi Trophies (6) than the New England Patriots. They’ve also won a total of 22 division championships in their history, including 21 in the AFC East. That is the most of any team in the division’s history.
The 11 consecutive playoff appearances by the Patriots from 2009 to 2019 is the longest streak in NFL history. Prior to that streak, they missed the playoffs in 2008 (but still won 11 games without Tom Brady), and made the playoffs in each of the five years between 2003 and 2007.
From 2003 through 2019 the Patriots won at least 10 games in every season. The 17 consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more is also an NFL record.
Top Players in New England Patriots History
When talking about the greatest players in Patriots history there is one name, above all others, that gets mentioned. It is of course quarterback Tom Brady – a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan, thrown into the lineup because of injury, who became the leader of the greatest dynasty in sports history.
There will be debates about whether Brady is the most talented quarterback to ever play the sport, but there is no debate that he is the most decorated player in NFL history.
Before Brady, however, the Patriots fielded a number of great players.
The first Patriot to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame was guard John Hannah, who played in the 70s and 80s. Mike Haynes is one of the best cornerbacks in the history of the NFL, and he was the fifth overall pick of New England in 1976. He was inducted into Canton in 1997.
There are a total of eight former Patriots players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Hannah and Haynes, along with Nick Buoniconti, Andre Tippett, Curtis Martin, Junior Seau, Randy Moss, and Ty Law.
Top Coaches in New England Patriots History
The Patriots have had three different head coaches take them to the Super Bowl, and all three are either in the Hall of Fame or will be eventually. Although Raymond Berry, who coached New England to the Super Bowl following the 1985 season and won NFL Coach of the Year, is only in the HOF as a player.
Bill Parcells, better known for his two Super Bowl wins as the head coach of the Giants, led New England to Super Bowl XXXI. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
The top of the coaching mountain, however, belongs to Bill Belichick. His six Super Bowl rings is an NFL record, and he has three times been named the NFL Coach of the Year. Only legends George Halas and Don Shula have more career regular season wins. But when it comes to postseason wins, Belichick is easily the best in NFL history.