Let's recap briefly. In the TB/BB era (2001-present), - The Pats have gone 220-68 (.764) in the regular season. - They've won 16 division titles in 18 seasons. - They've gone 30-10 in the playoffs. - They've played in 13 AFC Championship games, winning 9. - They've played in 9 Super Bowls, winning 6. - They've won 10+ games in 17 of the 18 seasons. - They've won 12+ games in 12 of the 18 seasons. - They've not made the playoffs only twice, and in those two seasons they missed out on tiebreakers. Now, that is, by any measure, unparalleled success in the annals of the NFL. They've done all this in the era of free agency and the salary cap, meaning they couldn't keep their championship teams together (unlike past dynasties). The question is: Why are they so good? I've watched pundits and media types offer their takes. Some of them are woefully inconsistent - take Rob Parker (thought I'd mention him before his name gets banned). He argued this week that Tom Brady is fortunate to be so lucky, and then when they were asking about what makes the Patriots so good, he dismissed the "Patriot Way" and said it's all simply because of Belichick and Brady. The thing is, he's an Ivy League grad, and though we know he can't stand the Patriots, it's clear that he is simply befuddled at how they can be so good for so long. Have they had some lucky plays along the way? Absolutely. But you cannot have that level of success because of luck. They've also had - these people conveniently forget - some of the worst luck imaginable. But you can't get this far without SOME good fortune falling your way, though, as I just said, you cannot attribute all this success to luck. Other Patriots ex-coaches have tried to instill the Patriot Way (TM) elsewhere and haven't been as successful. Is it as simple as Tom Brady? That he's just been so insanely good and has been such a good leader that he has elevated this entire franchise to such heights and such consistency, that it's been unmatched in NFL history? Everything from his on-field ability, to willingness to take less money, to his leadership. to his selflessness, to whatever else he has that he brings to the table.....is THAT the key? I'm not making this about BB vs. TB. I'm wondering what is the secret to their success. What makes the Patriots so insanely good year in and year out, for 18 years now? For me, I think there's so much that goes into it, but I'd boil it down to the confluence of three factors creating a perfect storm: - Incredible ownership that handles seemingly everything the right way. - The greatest football coach in the history of the sport. - The greatest quarterback (not just on-field, but his contracts have mattered) in the history of the sport. Put all that together, and keeping them together for this entire time, seems to be something the league has never seen before and likely will never see again. But even then...what about THEM makes THIS so unbelievably great? I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this, SoSH.