By James Galvin
The New England Patriots are recently on the heels of winning their fourth Super Bowl Championship in the past 14 years. These past 14 years of success the Patriots have had can only be rivaled by past iconic legacies, like the 1990s Dallas Cowboys or the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers. The constant success the Patriots have had over such a long stretch of time is truly historic in terms of a major sports franchise. Perhaps more impressive is how the image of the Patriots has changed over that time.
Bill Belichick became the head coach of the New England Patriots in the year 2000. Since then, Belichick has led the Patriots to 12 AFC East Division Championships, six AFC Championships, and four Super Bowl Championships. Belichick also has a ridiculously high winning percentage (.724), meaning he has won about 72% of the games he has coached for the Patriots overall in the last 14 years.
Not to be outdone, quarterback Tom Brady became the full time starter for the Patriots in 2001, and has put up historic numbers himself. With his latest championship win, Brady now stands tied with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with 4 Super Bowl victories.. Brady also holds virtually every playoff passing record after his performance in this year’s playoffs. Brady has thrown the most passes completed (164), most passes attempted (247), and touchdown passes (13) in Super Bowl history.
Not only have Brady and Belichick etched theirs names as two of the greatest of all time at their respective positions, but they have perhaps secured the title of being the greatest Quarterback and Head Coach combination in NFL history.
Despite all of that, perhaps the most impressive accomplishment achieved over the past 14 years is how the New England Patriots have reshaped their franchise image. Going into 2001, the Patriots were (for lack of a better term) a ‘losing’ franchise. They joined the league in 1960 as the Boston Patriots, and up until the year 2001, the Patriots only had 15 winning seasons. They had been to only two Super Bowls (1985, 1996) in 40 years, losing in both.
However, since 2001, the Patriots have had 14 straight winning seasons and have won 4 Super Bowl Championships. They have nearly equaled, if not doubled, their previous franchise winning totals in just over a decade. Because of the success of Belichick and Brady, when people look at the Patriots organization, they think of a dominant, successful, franchise.
To put that in a more current perspective, that would be the equivalent of a present-day Tennessee Titans team (a team with little overall franchise success) becoming the dominant franchise in the NFL for the next 15 years. It’s just not likely to be done again.
Of course, everyone will argue that the numerous ‘cheating’ controversies the Patriots have been involved in during their success have tainted their Super Bowl victories, but that is a conversation for another day. The important fact is that the New England Patriots are on a historic winning streak that is unmatched by any professional sporting team. During this time, the Patriots have redefined their organization and left an unparalleled legacy.
James Galvin is a Comment Staff writer.