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Patriots earn 19th straight winning season with 17-10 victory over the Eagles

Related: Instant analysis from Patriots’ 17-10 win over Eagles

New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Winning a game in the National Football League is hard considering the quality of the opposition a team faces week-in and week-out. Winning at least nine games is a lot harder, despite teams having 16 attempts at a victory per season. And winning at least nine games in consecutive years is even more difficult in this day and age of pro football while playing under the salary cap and with a draft system in place designed to promote parity.

The New England Patriots, however, have made a habit out of defying the odds and today secured another winning season when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 17-10 on the road. The hard-fought victory was the reigning world champions’ ninth of the season — the 19th straight year that the club led by head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will finish with more wins than entries in the loss column.

Earning a winning season 19 years in a row is unheard of in the salary cap era, and it will take quite some time for another club to catch up: the Patriots are clearly leading the league when it comes to earning nine-plus wins in consecutive seasons, with the Seattle Seahawks’ seven such campaigns the next closest active streak:

New England, which has won six Super Bowl in between those 19 years, is now also coming close to the all-time record.

The Dallas Cowboys had 20 straight seasons with more wins than losses, a streak that started in 1966 and came to an end with a 7-9 campaign in 1986. Of course, the team of head coach Tom Landry did not have to play under free agency and a salary cap, all while winning “only” two Super Bowls — making the Patriots’ recent run of excellence even more impressive, and one the league might never see again.