Soon I’ll do a true breakdown with numbers that will blow your mind. But for now, let’s consider…
One week ago today, New England Patriots fans were waking up to continue celebrating their team’s sixth Super Bowl title in the past 17 years.
Think about that for a second. Six Super Bowl Championships in 17 years. The only other team in the NFL with Lombardi trophies is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it took them 34 years to accomplish that feat.
Let’s even take a step back. This year the Patriots beat the record for best winning percentage in a decade-long span. The record they beat belonged to the 2000-2009 Patriots. New England averages over 12 wins in the regular season. For comparison, the Cleveland Browns have had a 12-win season just once in their 50+ year history.
They are currently tied for second in total playoff wins by a franchise. Tom Brady himself has more playoff wins than the majority of NFL franchise.
Then comes the Super Bowl success. The Patriots have been to nine championships over the past 18 seasons. If you do the math, it means that New England has been in a Super Bowl basically every other year for the past two decades.
All of that is before you even take their Super Bowl record into account. In the Brady-Belichick era, the Patriots are 6-3 in Super Bowl appearances. Many like to harp on the three losses by arguing about Montana’s undefeated record and such, but stop and think for a second. Playing in the Super Bowl is not supposed to be a cakewalk. You are theoretically playing the best team in the opposing conference when you make the big game. So nine times, New England has faced the best that the NFC has to offer. In those games, the Patriots have a .667 winning percentage. They are beating the best team in the National Football Conference two out of every three games.
The numbers themselves are absurd enough. What makes this run even more ridiculous is when you take into account the era that it has occurred in. The modern NFL is built on parity. Very few teams have been able to have sustained success, and even when they do it only lasts for a handful of seasons. The salary cap has hamstrung teams at points, and forced dynasties to crumble as teams try to balance youth, experience, and finances.
Yet, the Patriots are still here. Despite all of the outside factors, despite every trend in the league saying otherwise, despite logic dictating otherwise, the Patriots are still here.
They began this millennium winning three Super Bowls in a four-year span. After a decade-long title drought that saw the Patriots reach two Super Bowls, New England restarted their dynasty. They reached four Super Bowls in five years, winning three of those games. Those numbers are absurd, and cannot be replicated.
People want to say that they are cheaters. Disregard the lengthy logical argument against the major instance of “cheating”. In the end, even cheating wouldn’t explain what the Patriots have been able to do. People want to say that the Patriots play in an easy division. First off that’s false because the AFC East has not been the worst division over the past two decades. Secondly, that’s an invalid argument because the Patriots have played the top teams in the AFC every year because of their success in the season prior.
People will say a million other things to try to discredit the Patriots. It doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing anyone says to detract from the Patriots matters anymore. It’s all just noise. New England owns all arguments against them. There is nothing that anyone can say. The Patriots have won six Super Bowl titles in the hardest era of football in history. They have done so despite rapid roster changeover, the salary cap, and a league that has evolved drastically since the turn of the century. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have done what no one could have ever dreamed possible.
That’s just the Patriots Way.