Patriots set NFL record with 17 straight 10-win seasons, passing Joe Montana-Steve Young 49ers

Jack Baer

No, it’s not recency bias. The New England Patriots really are the NFL’s most unkillable dynasty.

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We’ve received evidence of that fact before — Tom Brady’s record six Super Bowl rings are probably enough — but this latest stat from the Patriots’ 13-9 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday really drives home just what level of sustained success we’re dealing with.

Those San Francisco 49ers would be the Joe Montana and Steve Young 49ers, who combined for four Super Bowls in that span (plus another in 1981) while moving from Montana and Bill Walsh to Young and George Seifert.

This Patriots run, from 2003 to present, was accomplished with just one head coach, Bill Belichick, and one quarterback, Brady (plus that year of Matt Cassel). Just like the Niners, the run was preceded by a Super Bowl followed by a down year, at which point the Patriots buckled down and truly became the multi-Super Bowl behemoth we all know and jeer against.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady left and head coach Bill Belichick speak on the sideline during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
There are upperclassmen in high school who have never seen the Patriots lose more than six games. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

It might be worth pointing out the Patriots accomplished this in part because of the hapless rest of the AFC East. The division’s three other teams have finished above .500 only 13 times in 17 years, and the Patriots have gone 101-20 in the division since 2003.

However, there’s no denying the Patriots’ capacity for dominance at this point. Any team in the league can attest to how hard it is to reach 10 wins in only back-to-back years.

Meanwhile, the Patriots basically sleep-walked to a 10-1 record to open this season and add another year to their run. At this point, Belichick’s retirement might be the only thing that ends it.

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