Celebrating What Is

Ralphwiggum

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Brady going to his 13th Conference Championship Game, which is as many as 2nd place (Montana) and 3rd place (Elway) combined.
 

Seels

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Only In Boston‏ @OnlyInBOS 19m19 minutes ago
The Patriots now have...
the most wins (regular & postseason) in a decade (127)!
matched the NFL record for most postseason wins in a decade (13)!
reached their 8th straight conference title game, 15th in franchise history!
They have the most wins in a decade without a year even being played? Holy shit.

Brady going to his 13th Conference Championship Game, which is as many as 2nd place (Montana) and 3rd place (Elway) combined.
Brady now has as many playoff wins as Elway and Manning combined. Or twice as much as Manning (since they both have 14)
 

FredJones

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They have the most wins in a decade without a year even being played? Holy shit.


Brady now has as many playoff wins as Elway and Manning combined. Or twice as much as Manning (since they both have 14)
Tweeted by someone else: Brady has more playoff wins (28) than anyone else has total play off games (27, Manning).
 

mwonow

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One quick note beyond the stats - the Pats are supposed to be a dynasty at the end, and the Chargers were supposed to be a team to watch. And the game that ended a few hours ago was as complete a playoff shitkicking as I've seen since the 1986 SB, and WAY more enjoyable!
 

Deathofthebambino

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Tweeted by someone else: Brady has more playoff wins (28) than anyone else has total play off games (27, Manning).
Brady now has more home playoff wins than any other quarterback has wins.

Well, he already had that record, just extended it today. 20-3 at home in the playoffs.

Edit: As crazy as it sounds, the Patriots have not won a playoff game on the road in 12 years (excluding Super Bowls on neutral sites). Their last one, 2007 in San Diego. :)
 
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BaseballJones

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The last season the Patriots played a game that didn't matter, this was the Red Sox' starting rotation: Pedro Martinez, Jeff Fassero, Ramon Martinez, Rolando Arrojo, and Pete Schourek.

The last season the Patriots didn't play in an AFCCG, Daniel Nava was in left, Darnell McDonald was in center, and Marco Scutaro was at short.
 

patoaflac

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I was so happy in 74 when they had won 6 of the first 7 games, only to finish 7-7. I hated the Raiders, Pittsburgh and Miami because of their records and always hoped the Patriots could become a great team. Not even after a lot of martinis, I could envision what is now a reality.
Today, I saw them focused and determined, more than ever. Last year SB defeat stimulates them now. I believe they will win number 6.
 

dynomite

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Boston Sports Info‏ @bostonsportsinf 32m32 minutes ago
New England Patriots have 248 wins in the regular and post season since 2001 A gargantuan 45 wins more than the 2nd best team over that span (PIT) That is 2.5 wins more than the 2nd best team EVERY year
Wow. Look at how many more games the Patriots have played than anyone else in the League.

13 games more than the Steelers. Almost an entire season. And they’re good!

Edit: 28 more than the Cowboys!?!
 

FredJones

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On a more bittersweet note, in what may have been Gronk's last home game at Gillette the number of points scored was... 69 (h/t reddit).
 

sheamonu

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The last season the Patriots played a game that didn't matter, this was the Red Sox' starting rotation: Pedro Martinez, Jeff Fassero, Ramon Martinez, Rolando Arrojo, and Pete Schourek.

The last season the Patriots didn't play in an AFCCG, Daniel Nava was in left, Darnell McDonald was in center, and Marco Scutaro was at short.
I hope I'm phrasing this correctly, but I think you'll get the point...the last time the Patriots played a game that didn't matter (i.e. where they had already been eliminated from the playoffs) was closer to Carl Yastrzemski's last appearance in a Red Sox uniform than it is to today.
 

BaseballJones

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I hope I'm phrasing this correctly, but I think you'll get the point...the last time the Patriots played a game that didn't matter (i.e. where they had already been eliminated from the playoffs) was closer to Carl Yastrzemski's last appearance in a Red Sox uniform than it is to today.
Yeah.

1983 - Yaz. 2000 - Pats = 17 years

2000 - Pats. Present Pats = 18 years

Unbelievable.
 

sheamonu

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Which means that at the time of that last meaningless game you would have had a fresher memory of this being the standard Red Sox starting lineup:

Gary Allenson
Dave Stapleton
Jerry Remy
Glenn Hoffman
Wade Boggs
Jim Rice
Tony Armas
Dwight Evans
Carl Yastrzemski
Dennis Eckersley

Than we do now of this being the every day team:

Jason Varitek
Tony Clark
Rey Sanchez
Nomar Garciaparra
Shea Hillenbrand
Manny Ramirez
Johnny Damon
Trot Nixon
Carlos Baerga
Pedro Martinez

The football equivalent probably has something to do with comparing the "Ron Myer era" with the "Pete Carroll era". Two main takeaways, I suppose - first, this has been going on a long time now, and second, as always, ay caramba, it must suck being a Jets fan.
 

Koufax

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Looking at the list that Ifmanis5 posted, the most startling thing is that there are 12 teams whose long-term records are worse than that of the Jets. How bad is that? (I should thank the Lord that he / she did not give me the stubbornness necessary to remain a Bills fan for long after I moved here in 1981).
 

BaseballJones

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Regular season and postseason combined:

From 2001-2018 (which isn't yet finished), NE went 248-78 (.761).
From 1981-1998 (same number of years), SF went 227-83-1 (.732).

Over an 18 year period, the Patriots have at least 21 more wins than the all-time great 18-year run of the Montana-Young 49ers.
 

DJnVa

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I like this "last meaningful game" stuff

Patriots ended the 2000 season playing a meaningless game--12/24/00.

The day before the Celtics played and trotted out a starting lineup including Tony Battie and Milt Palacios, and Randy Brown and Adrian Griffin came off the bench.
 

moondog80

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Imagine the Terry Bradshaw Steelers being in this position all the way to 1992, the Joe Montana 49ers to 2000, or the Troy Aikman Cowboys to 2010. That's the Tom Brady Patriots.
 

BaseballJones

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I like this "last meaningful game" stuff

Patriots ended the 2000 season playing a meaningless game--12/24/00.

The day before the Celtics played and trotted out a starting lineup including Tony Battie and Milt Palacios, and Randy Brown and Adrian Griffin came off the bench.
The last time the Pats played a meaningless game, Bill Clinton was still President.
 

Saints Rest

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Some interesting bits of trivia that go to show how long this run has been:
— 2001 was the last year with only 6 divisions and thus the last year with 6 wild card teams.
— the Houston Texans didn’t exist yet.
— only one team (Rams) passed for more than 4,000 yards (this year, 14 teams did)
— only three teams passed for more than 30 TDS (this year, 10 teams did)
 

Van Everyman

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All this makes me think:

What makes Belichick “great”?

I know this has been the subject of a few books. We’ve long heard about his defensive brilliance starting with the Giants and love of film study and preparation. These topics have all been chronicled numerous times.

But none of those elements explains *this* degree of sustained success. Let’s break it down.

The “defensive genius” mantra was supplanted over a decade ago when the rules of the game were fundamentally changed to favor the offense (specifically, Peyton Manning and fantasy). Candidly I don’t even remember what it was like to have an elite defensive Patriots team it’s been so long.

Nor should we probably chalk it up to “cap mastery.” Sure teams like the Steelers remind you what happens when so much of your team’s success is tied up in three superstars making (or deserving) enormous contracts. But there are countless “cap geniuses” out there – none of which have managed to build and implement a system that can succeed for a sustained period of time. The closest may be Polian and Dungy’s Colts team which in hindsight somewhat legendarily underperformed once the regular season concluded.

And, it’s hard to argue that all Belichick’s success is due to having one amazing quarterback who makes everyone around him better. Were that the case, Mike McCarthy would be celebrating his 5th or 6th consecutive championship game appearance and not carrying his own garbage to the curb after having failed to convince Christopher Johnson to give him another chance.

Lastly, we’ve heard bloviating about The Patriot Way and, more seriously, about the culture of preparation that the team employs. But this is an imitation league. The second someone succeeds with something new or different, somebody else figures out how to do it or defeat it. Preparation and team culture is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect Belichick’s coordinators to bring to other teams when hired, but not a single branch of the Belichick tree has had so much as a whiff of the success he’s had as a member of the Patriots organization.

So, how has Belichick been able to get this team to do it year after year? As the league has changed and other “genius” coaches come and go, what it is that Belichick does so much better than anyone else?
 

InstaFace

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As to the Belichick question, I completely dispute that his ability to get the best out of a roster that includes zero early-first-rounder likely-stars (that he didn't trade for) is diminished or "supplanted" in any way. It's a lot easier to see with a Brad Stevens, in a league with many fewer players who have longer careers, but Belichick's ability to spot things that a player can do well, which make him undervalued in the Patriots' scheme, is something that can't be taught. Carroll approaches that skill, which we've seen most clearly this year after the Legion of Boom turnover, but nobody has made better roster chicken salad out of chicken shit than Bill Belichick.

Similarly, team culture is set by the person at the top, and reflects their personality, their level of focus, their authenticity in whatever goals or priorities they claim to have. Everything from Belichick's favored conversation topics to sartorial style screams that he really does care about one thing only. His assistants leaving for head coaching jobs may bring with them the memory of how things worked, but it's quite another to make their organizations reflect that culture when they themselves lack the same credibility Belichick does. It would be inauthentic for them to replicate everything about that style, so what they're able to do usually ends up falling short of that level of focus (or, it must be said, organizational control over personnel).

Likewise, don't underrate his ability to (for example) get Dante Scarnecchia tempted out of retirement, keep Josh McDaniels in the fold (and welcome him back to it after Denver / St Louis), etc. Or his enthusiasm to get in and coach technique fundamentals with every position group (nevermind having the right knowledge to do so), for like 40 weeks of the year, year after year. Or to keep Brady motivated but also convinced that Foxboro is where he needs to be, this year and every year (and to take less - and to get all his other stars to take less than they deserve). You think, say, Jeff Fisher gave that many fucks, or inspired that loyalty, by the time he lost his edge? I'd argue they're correlated.

There's so much that that post just yadda-yaddas over, too many assertions to take issue with for one post. Suffice to say, that's 500 words of trying to sell Belichick short in a dozen different ways and your essay (it's not really a "question") is unpersuasive to me.
 

Super Nomario

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All this makes me think:

What makes Belichick “great”?

I know this has been the subject of a few books. We’ve long heard about his defensive brilliance starting with the Giants and love of film study and preparation. These topics have all been chronicled numerous times.

But none of those elements explains *this* degree of sustained success. Let’s break it down.

The “defensive genius” mantra was supplanted over a decade ago when the rules of the game were fundamentally changed to favor the offense (specifically, Peyton Manning and fantasy). Candidly I don’t even remember what it was like to have an elite defensive Patriots team it’s been so long.

Nor should we probably chalk it up to “cap mastery.” Sure teams like the Steelers remind you what happens when so much of your team’s success is tied up in three superstars making (or deserving) enormous contracts. But there are countless “cap geniuses” out there – none of which have managed to build and implement a system that can succeed for a sustained period of time. The closest may be Polian and Dungy’s Colts team which in hindsight somewhat legendarily underperformed once the regular season concluded.

And, it’s hard to argue that all Belichick’s success is due to having one amazing quarterback who makes everyone around him better. Were that the case, Mike McCarthy would be celebrating his 5th or 6th consecutive championship game appearance and not carrying his own garbage to the curb after having failed to convince Christopher Johnson to give him another chance.

Lastly, we’ve heard bloviating about The Patriot Way and, more seriously, about the culture of preparation that the team employs. But this is an imitation league. The second someone succeeds with something new or different, somebody else figures out how to do it or defeat it. Preparation and team culture is exactly the sort of thing you’d expect Belichick’s coordinators to bring to other teams when hired, but not a single branch of the Belichick tree has had so much as a whiff of the success he’s had as a member of the Patriots organization.

So, how has Belichick been able to get this team to do it year after year? As the league has changed and other “genius” coaches come and go, what it is that Belichick does so much better than anyone else?
I'm reminded of (I think) Bill James pontificating about what made Pedro great, thinking that he had a great fastball, a great change, a great curve, great control, great intelligence and attack plan, but lots of guys have one or more of those elements without ever approaching Pedro's mastery. He concluded it was the combination of all those elements was almost a force multiplier. How much greater was his change because he could also throw 95 on the black?

I think it's the same with the Patriots. It's all these things, and how they fit together. They eschew short-term fixes that screw them with the cap or deprive them of draft picks. They pursue players with versatility and coachability that lets them game plan even if many don't think they're all that "talented." They adjust strategy so they're always looking for undervalued assets even as what assets are undervalued changes. They develop their own coaches and scouts. They align scouting and coaching so that when they bring on players, they know what to do with them. They cut bait when things don't work out. They always look to improve the back end of the roster. And they have #12, who has accomplished more than any quarterback in history but is still the sixth-round pick with the chip on his shoulder. Plus the stuff @InstaFace said. It's no one thing, it's all of it, and all of it working in harmony. They would be less without any component, which is why it's so hard to recreate elsewhere, even though like 1/4 of the teams are using the same scouting scale and a bunch of teams have ex-Pats coaches.
 

jmcc5400

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Here's a favorite of mine:

Take away Brady's five Super Bowl winning seasons - erase the 15-0 playoff record in those seasons. He still would be 13-10 in the playoffs, tied in wins with Favre and Roethlisberger and just one behind Elway, Manning and Bradshaw in a tie for second place behind Montana (16-7)
 

RoyHobbs

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They eschew short-term fixes that screw them with the cap or deprive them of draft picks. They pursue players with versatility and coachability that lets them game plan even if many don't think they're all that "talented." They adjust strategy so they're always looking for undervalued assets even as what assets are undervalued changes.
I agree with your sense they go for coachable guys. For example, I remember seeing a video where one of the ADs at Michigan talked about how Brady was always in his office, picking his brain for insights on how to be a better player and person. Maybe the questions they ask potential draftees (e.g. at combines) weed out those who are less into the idea of being coached and improved upon.

I also always figured the Pats are a dynasty because they identify and pick up smart players. I think the organization values intelligence, however it measures it, over "raw talent" or "freakishness" or whatever term one wants to use. Maybe it explains all the "head scratcher" picks over the years -- the dude the NEP picked over the consensus pick "gets it," rather than flashes amazing athletic measurables.
 

BaseballJones

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How about this one? The last time the Patriots played a meaningless game, Pat Mahomes, as a 29-year old, had just put up this season with the NY Mets: 5-3, 5.46 era, 1.72 whip, 7.3 k/9, and was still 3+ years from retirement.
 

Rook05

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Per The Athletic, yesterday was the first time in Pats postseason history to have a 100 rusher and receiver in the same game. That’s bonkers.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Per The Athletic, yesterday was the first time in Pats postseason history to have a 100 rusher and receiver in the same game. That’s bonkers.
That's funny, and it's not an uncommon feat. Since 2012 (the 2011 playoffs), 17 teams have pulled that off. BAL/DAL/GB/HOU*2/KC/LAR/NE/PIT*2/SEA*4/SF*2. Unsurprisingly, 100 yard receivers have been more common than 100 yard rushers.

Patriots 100 yard receivers:
  1. Cooks vJAX
  2. Hogan vPHI & vPIT
  3. Amendola vPHI & vTEN
  4. White vATL
  5. Edelman vPIT, vHOU, vLAC, vKC & vSEA
  6. Gronk vPHI, @DEN, vBAL & vDEN
  7. Welker vBAL & vHOU
Patriots 100 yard rushers:
  1. Blount vIND & vIND
  2. Michel vLAC
 
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Van Everyman

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As to the Belichick question, I completely dispute that his ability to get the best out of a roster that includes zero early-first-rounder likely-stars (that he didn't trade for) is diminished or "supplanted" in any way. It's a lot easier to see with a Brad Stevens, in a league with many fewer players who have longer careers, but Belichick's ability to spot things that a player can do well, which make him undervalued in the Patriots' scheme, is something that can't be taught. Carroll approaches that skill, which we've seen most clearly this year after the Legion of Boom turnover, but nobody has made better roster chicken salad out of chicken shit than Bill Belichick.

Similarly, team culture is set by the person at the top, and reflects their personality, their level of focus, their authenticity in whatever goals or priorities they claim to have. Everything from Belichick's favored conversation topics to sartorial style screams that he really does care about one thing only. His assistants leaving for head coaching jobs may bring with them the memory of how things worked, but it's quite another to make their organizations reflect that culture when they themselves lack the same credibility Belichick does. It would be inauthentic for them to replicate everything about that style, so what they're able to do usually ends up falling short of that level of focus (or, it must be said, organizational control over personnel).

Likewise, don't underrate his ability to (for example) get Dante Scarnecchia tempted out of retirement, keep Josh McDaniels in the fold (and welcome him back to it after Denver / St Louis), etc. Or his enthusiasm to get in and coach technique fundamentals with every position group (nevermind having the right knowledge to do so), for like 40 weeks of the year, year after year. Or to keep Brady motivated but also convinced that Foxboro is where he needs to be, this year and every year (and to take less - and to get all his other stars to take less than they deserve). You think, say, Jeff Fisher gave that many fucks, or inspired that loyalty, by the time he lost his edge? I'd argue they're correlated.

There's so much that that post just yadda-yaddas over, too many assertions to take issue with for one post. Suffice to say, that's 500 words of trying to sell Belichick short in a dozen different ways and your essay (it's not really a "question") is unpersuasive to me.
Wait, are you really reading my post as me saying "So what's so great about Belichick anyway?" That is precisely not what I meant. I was just saying that a lot of the typical reasons we hear why he's great seem ... well, wrong, outdated or simplistic. I agree with almost all of the points you raise -- and the Bill James/force multiplier point @Super Nomario makes as well.

But even if you agree w all the stuff ... tempting Scharnecchia out of retirement, keeping Brady comfortable taking less ... it still seems hard to believe that he's been able to do this for 18 years. Nobody is able to succeed in business or sports for this kind of time -- and those who have (such as maybe a Warren Buffett) almost seem to benefit mightily from market share and aggregate wealth. Which is to say, they are wealthy and successful enough to make mistakes that others follow and then don't really seem like mistakes or at least not big mistakes. Sports are not so forgiving.
 

Super Nomario

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Wait, are you really reading my post as me saying "So what's so great about Belichick anyway?" That is precisely not what I meant. I was just saying that a lot of the typical reasons we hear why he's great seem ... well, wrong, outdated or simplistic. I agree with almost all of the points you raise -- and the Bill James/force multiplier point @Super Nomario makes as well.

But even if you agree w all the stuff ... tempting Scharnecchia out of retirement, keeping Brady comfortable taking less ... it still seems hard to believe that he's been able to do this for 18 years. Nobody is able to succeed in business or sports for this kind of time -- and those who have (such as maybe a Warren Buffett) almost seem to benefit mightily from market share and aggregate wealth. Which is to say, they are wealthy and successful enough to make mistakes that others follow and then don't really seem like mistakes or at least not big mistakes. Sports are not so forgiving.
It's a closed environment, though - no one can have a "start up" football team that disrupts from out of nowhere with a fundamentally different approach like a Facebook, Amazon, or Google. There are also a bunch of artificial constraints (number of roster spots, salary cap, number of draft picks, etc.) that you don't run into in the business world.

I do think the Patriots have a perfect storm with a coach who never got bored or burnt out and a QB who was fanatical about maintaining his success into an advanced age. And both started pretty young so they got a lot of time together (as opposed to, say, Mike Shanahan, who just got Elway's tail end, or Don Shula, who was past his prime when he linked up with Marino). Bill Walsh got bored and went back to college. Dick Vermeil got burnt out, twice. Bill Parcells got bored or pissed off everywhere he went after five years. Meanwhile Brady is doing things no one has ever done before on the wrong side of 40.

We can't forget Bob Kraft, either. Whatever ego issues Brady and Belichick have had, they've been able to move past it. When's the last contract squabble with either of them? Does anyone know what Belichick's contract status even is? Kraft just takes care of it. For all his remarkable qualities, it's easy to imagine Belichick rubbing a lot of owners the wrong way, but Kraft gives him the control he needs. At the same time, he steps in where he can help, like his bold, expensive move to keep McDaniels last year. How many of the 32 owners wouldn't have screwed things up sometime in the last 18 years? I don't think you'd need two hands to count them.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Considering they have 15-17 games left in the decade, that’s insane.

If they get 12 more through next year, they’ll finish the decade with an average of almost 14 wins per year.

That’s not getting broken under the current 16 game schedule and playoff format.
 

Euclis20

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That might be my favorite stat yet. I don't know what I like more, that they broke their own record or the that there is still another year left in the decade.
 

pappymojo

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Considering they have 15-17 games left in the decade, that’s insane.

If they get 12 more through next year, they’ll finish the decade with an average of almost 14 wins per year.

That’s not getting broken under the current 16 game schedule and playoff format.
21 more games left in the decade. :wooper:
 

Blue Monkey

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That might be my favorite stat yet. I don't know what I like more, that they broke their own record or the that there is still another year left in the decade.
This must be post season and regular season? Colts actually had more wins 00-09 than the pats did if you remove the playoffs.
 

Euclis20

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Here's hoping!!!

Though I always thought decades should start with the xxx1 year and end on the xxX0 year...

Prosit!
Yeah, me too. If that's the case the 2001-2010 Pats get 135 wins, and the 2011-2018 Pats would be at 113 with 2+ seasons to go. Unless Brady falls off the cliff next year, we likely end up in the same place.