A little history on the line for New England Sunday
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 29, 2010
New England seems to have little to play for when Miami heads to Foxbor Sunday.
The 13-2 Patriots have already wrapped up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The 7-8 Dolphins are playing out the string. The only question remaining is how long New England's starters, and quarterback Tom Brady in particular, will play before donning a warm, puffy sideline coat.
Cold, Hard Football Facts TV host Gary Tanguay asked us about that very topic this week and even we were reduced to throwing out cliches about "keeping your foot on the gas" (the next version of CHFF TV will be out later today, by the way).
In any case, it turns out there is a wee bit of impressive history riding on the line Sunday: if the Patriots win and end the season with a 14-2 record, they'll join San Francisco as the only franchises in NFL history that have won 14 or more games in four different seasons.
- The Joe Montana/Steve Young 49ers won 15 games in 1984 and 14 games in 1989, 1990 and 1992.
- The Brady Patriots won 16 games in 2007 and 14 games in 2003 and 2004.
The streaks of success are remarkably similar: the Patriots, with a victory Sunday, will have won 14-plus four times in eight seasons. The 49ers won 14-plus four times in nine seasons.
New England will have done it with the same coach and quarterback. San Francisco accomplished its streak under two different coaches and two different quarterbacks. Not sure which is more impressive, quite frankly.
In any case, the streaks are pretty mindblowing. Consider that the Packers, Giants and Bears are three of the NFL's oldest, most successful and most glamorous franchises (No. 1, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in our epic, all-time franchise rankings that we compiled in 2008). These three high-profile franchises have played a combined 257 NFL seasons and have each enjoyed dynastic periods in their histories.
These three organizations have combined for just three seasons of 14 or more victories (granted, 14-win seasons were not much of a reality until the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978).
- The Bears boast two seasons of 14-plus wins (1985, 1986).
- The Giants enjoyed one 14-plus win season (also in 1986).
- The Packers, the NFL's most successful franchise over the long haul, have never won 14 games in a season.
The Patriots, with a win Sunday, will have won 14 or more games four times in the eight seasons since 2003 and in seven seasons with Brady at quarterback (he missed 2008 with an injury).
Seasons with Double-Digit Wins by Franchise (bold indicates season in progress)
|Houston||2002||Ha, ha, ha! That's funny.|
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