The 2020s are already more than three months old, but the NFL took a look back at the previous decade earlier today when it unveiled its official Team of the 2010s. The most successful organization of the past ten years (and more) is naturally well-represented: nine current or former members of the New England Patriots, who won a league-high three Super Bowls between the 2010 and 2019 seasons, have made the cut.
The list looks as follows:
QB Tom Brady*
TE Rob Gronkowski
OG Logan Mankins
LB Chandler Jones
CB Darrelle Revis
K Stephen Gostkowski
KR Cordarrelle Patterson
Coach Bill Belichick
*unanimous player selection
Seeing Tom Brady be unanimously picked to make the Team of the Decade does not come as a surprise. Once again, he was the best and most successful quarterback in football over the last 10 years and led the Patriots to three championships as well as 10 straight (11 if you count the 2009 season as well) division titles. As unsurprising as his selection is, it means that he has now earned the honor for both the 2010s and the 2000s — an unreal accomplishment.
The other players on this list are also no surprise.
Rob Gronkowski will enter the Hall of Fame one day after redefining the tight end position between the 2010 and 2018 seasons, while Antonio Brown was a productive player back in the day — one that spent only one game with the Patriots but still needs to be mentioned for the sake of completeness. Logan Mankins, meanwhile, was one of the best interior linemen in football during his own heyday and spent four of his six seasons in the 2010s in New England.
On the defensive side of the ball, both Chandler Jones and Darrelle Revis helped the Patriots win their first title of the decade to cap the 2014 season. While both have risen to prominence outside of New England — Jones in Arizona, Revis in New York — they have earned their spot on the Team of the Decade in part due to their play while with the Patriots. The same can also be said for one-year Patriot Cordarrelle Patterson, who was part of the 2018 championship team.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, meanwhile, spent the entire decade in New England and only recently saw his tenure with the club come to an end after a total of 14 seasons. He joins Brady as the only two players to make the team who were with the Patriots during the entire decade. A third member of the organization, of course, also spent the whole decade with the club: head coach Bill Belichick, under whom the team won 125 regular season and 16 playoff games in the 2010s.
The full Team of the Decade looks as follows:
Quarterback: Tom Brady*, Aaron Rodgers
Running backs: Frank Gore, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson*
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones
Tight end: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce
Flex: Darren Sproles
Offensive tackles: Jason Peters, Tyron Smith, Joe Staley, Joe Thomas*
Guards: Jahri Evans, Logan Mankins, Zack Martin, Marshal Yanda*
Centers: Alex Mack, Maurkice Pouncey
Defensive tackle: Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox, Aaron Donald*, Ndamukong Suh
Defensive ends: Calais Campbell, Cameron Jordan, Julius Peppers, J.J. Watt*
Outside linebacker: Chandler Jones, Khalil Mack, Von Miller*
Inside linebacker: Luke Kuechly, Bobby Wagner, Patrick Willis
Cornerback: Patrick Peterson, Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman
Safeties: Eric Berry, Earl Thomas III, Eric Weddle
Defensive back: Chris Harris, Tyrann Mathieu
Punter: Johnny Hekker, Shane Lechler
Kicker: Stephen Gostkowski, Justin Tucker
Punt returner: Tyreek Hill, Darren Sproles
Kick returner: Devin Hester, Cordarrelle Patterson
Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll