"Belichick and Brady, once the Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of the modern game, are today more on par with Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb, a duo that could rarely get over the hump." - Eric Wilbur
"In NFL history, no team has ever had such a run of success (nine straight seasons with 10 or more wins) with zero championships to show for it." - Sean Leahy
Hard to believe? Maybe. But my goodness if it isn't true in the worst of ways.
Bill Belichick's Patriots have not won a Super Bowl since 2004 and are nine consecutive seasons deep in Title-less Town. We can all point to "not every team can win the Super Bowl" and "it's hard to win it every year," but we're in uncharted territory.
It's true that the Patriots are contenders every single season. But no team in history can come close to their current streak of nine straight seasons of 10+ wins without a Super Bowl.
First, let's look at teams that are fortunate enough to enjoy nine or more consecutive 10+ win seasons:
The San Francisco 49ers set the benchmark with 16 straight 10+ victory seasons from 1983-1998.
The Patriots are in the midst of the second longest streak in league history with 11 consecutive 10+ win seasons, starting in 2003 and lasting between Tom Brady and Matt Cassel.
The only other team with 9 consecutive 10+ win seasons were the Peyton Manning-led Colts from 2002-2010.
That's it. Never in Packers history (best run was eight of ten from 1995-2004). Never in Steelers history (best run was seven of eight from 1972-1979). Not the Cowboys (an 8-6 season sandwiched by a run of 6 [68-73] and a run of 7 [75-81]), Redskins (eight of nine from 1983-1991), Giants, or Eagles.
Three reigns of complete dominance; two just happened to coincide.
The 49ers were lucky to pass the baton from Joe Montana to Steve Young and won the Super Bowl in years 2, 6, 7, and 12. They had two stretches of four seasons without a championship, but they've never faced the drought that the Patriots are currently going through.
Manning's Colts even managed to win a Super Bowl in the exact middle of their streak, meaning that they (like the 49ers) only went four seasons without a Super Bowl victory.
The Patriots drought over 9 seasons of 10+ victories is unprecedented.
The Los Angeles Rams from 1973-1978 held the crown with six seasons of 10+ wins and no Super Bowl victories. To add insult to injury, they went 9-7 in 1979 and lost in the Super Bowl- and followed with an 11 win season in 1980 accompanied by a first round exit.
The Eagles from 1988-1992 and 2000-2004 won 10+ games in five consecutive seasons and left empty handed with only one combined Super Bowl appearance to show for it.
No other franchises have gone five or more 10+ victory seasons without a Super Bowl victory.
According to research by Joe Benigno at Football Perspective, the odds that the Patriots would have not won a Super Bowl in the 2010s is a mere 27%. In fact, the odds for the Patriots to have already won multiple Super Bowls (28.5%) is greater than the odds they would have no wins.
Would we view this differently had the Belichick-led Patriots spread out their Super Bowl victories over the seasons, instead of claiming them all at the beginning? Probably. But it doesn't make it any easier to digest.
We are spoiled as fans as we're witnessing the second greatest run an NFL franchise has ever had- and we still want more. We need another victory and, until then, we aren't satisfied.
I can guarantee that neither are Tom and Bill.