Playoff season is upon us! On Saturday, the Tennessee Titans and the Kansas City Chiefs will kick off the 2017-2018 NFL postseason by playing in the first of four wild card round contests. Depending on the outcome of this and other games, the New England Patriots might face one of the two teams one week later during the divisional round of the tournament.
And when they do, they will already hold one advantage: No other team remaining in the tournament has as much playoff experience as the Patriots, according to NFL Research (via NFL Network's Marc Sessler) – both in terms of players who appeared in postseason games and in terms of actual games played by them:
As a look at the image above shows, the Patriots clearly lead the league in both players with playoff experience and actual playoff games they appeared in. Of the 53 men currently on New England's active roster, only 12 have not yet played in a postseason contest – among them core players like wide receiver Brandin Cooks or cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
And while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs have a similar number of players to appear in playoff games before, the games statistic has the Patriots clearly in front; no surprise given that the team has reached six straight AFC Championship Games and won two of the last three Super Bowls. Also, the team has Tom Brady on its roster.
The future Hall of Famer appeared in a total of 34 postseason contests during his 18-year career, which is more than the entire Los Angeles Rams roster combined and gives New England the most experienced postseason player of all time. And if all goes according to plan, Brady will add three more contests to his résumé this year – and another Super Bowl ring to his hands.