2012 artifacts on display
2/6/13 12:00 PM
The 2012 season ended in the Patriots seventh AFC Championship Game appearance in the last 12 years – something only accomplished by the Dallas Cowboys (1970-1981), the Oakland Raiders (1970-1981) and the San Francisco 49ers
(1981-1992) – but two wins short of a fourth World Championship.
The Patriots finished 12-4, marking the seventh time in 12 seasons they have won at least 12 games (they have won at least 10 in each of the last 10 years), and they won their 10th
AFC Eastern Division title in the last 12 years and fourth consecutive.
To put that success in perspective, between 1960 and 2000, the Patriots won 10 games or more in nine different seasons and never won as many as 12 games in a single season while capturing five division titles (1963, 1978, 1986, 1996 and 1997). They also reached two AFC title games (1985and
1996) and two Super Bowls, losing both (1985 and 1996).
Since 2000, the Patriots have played in five Super Bowls and won three. But 2012 fell short of a championship when New England lost its AFC Championship rematch with the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium.
It represented a sour end to an otherwise eventful season full of individual and team accomplishments that are currently represented in The Hall.
New England came out of the gate slowly, losing two of their first three games and falling to 3-3 after a loss in Seattle on Oct. 14. But as has been typical in recent seasons, the Patriots caught fire, winning seven in a row by an average of 21 points per game before finally losing to eventual NFC Champion San Francisco and ending the season with two more wins, including a 28-0 shutout of the Dolphins to finish 12-4.
The team’s 557 points cored were the third most in NFL history behind the 2007 Patriots and the 2011 Packers (coincidentally, the Giants beat both of those teams in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl both years). Its 444 first downs gained set an NFL record and it led the NFL with a plus-25 turnover ratio. New England also led the league in touchdowns scored (67), net yards (6,846) and rushing touchdowns (25).
Many individuals performed extraordinarily at times in 2012 and the players earned individual accolades as well. Seven Patriots were selected as Pro Bowlers – Tom Brady, Vine Wilfork
, Matthew Slater, Jerod
Mayo, Wes Welker
, Logan Mankins
and Rob Gronkowski
set an NFL record when he became the first player in history to record 100 receptions in five different seasons. He also surpassed Troy Brown as the team’s all-time reception leader back in Week 2 and now holds the mark with 672 receptions as a Patriot. He has caught a pass in 110 consecutive games – fourth all time—and his 18 games with 10 or more receptions ties him with Houston’s Andre Johnson for most all time. He surpassed Brown for the franchise postseason reception record as well.
Brady eclipsed the 30 passing touchdown mark for the fourth time and the 4,000 yards passing plateau for the fifth time. He also finished the season having thrown a touchdown pass in 48 straight games, surpassing the old record held by Johnny Unitas
(47) and six shy of the record held by Drew Brees
Brady extended his record as the Patriots all-time leading passer when he eclipsed the 40,000 yard mark in the opener at Tennessee and his 334 career TD passes rank fifth all time. The team’s divisional round playoff win over the Houston Texans was Brady’s 17th
playoff win as a starter giving him the most playoff wins as a starting quarterback in history.
Other notable achievements include Gronkowski
becoming the first tight end with 10 touchdowns in three straight seasons, running back Stevan
Ridley’s 1,236 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns and head coach Bill Belichick
exceeding the 200 win mark as a head coach. His 204 wins rank seventh all time and he is now just two wins behind Tom Landry (20) for the most playoff wins ever.
As part of the 2012 season review display, The Hall has the following artifacts on exhibit:
Ridley’s gloves from the team’s Sept. 30 win at Buffalo when New England became the first team with two 100 yard rushers and two 100-yard receivers in the same game.
Welker’s cleats and gloves from the team’s Oct. 7 win over Denver and Jerod Mayo’s gloves from the win.
Welker’s red game-worn jersey from the team’s Thanksgiving win over the Jets when he surpassed the 700-reception mark.
Game ball from the team’s Oct. 28 win over the Rams in London when the offense compiled 350 or more yards for the 17thconsecutive game.
The game ball caught by Gronkowski on Nov. 18 when he became the first tight end with at least 10 touchdown catches in three straight seasons.
Shane Vereen’s gloves worn when he was on the receiving end of an 83-yard touchdown against the Jets – the longest pass play in the AFC this season.
Brandon Lloyd’s cleats and gloves from his seven-catch, two-touchdown effort against the 11-1 Texans on Dec. 10.
Welker’s game-worn jersey from Dec. 16 when he became the first receiver in history with five seasons with 100-plus catches.
Justin Francis’ cleats and gloves from his three-sack performance in the season-ending 28-0 shutout win over Miami.
Ridley’s game-worn jersey
The game ball used in Tom Brady’s NFL-record 17thplayoff win as a starting quarterback.