The Golden Era
2/7/12 12:00 PM
It is easy to forget. 1-15 ... 2-14 ... ownership flux ... playoff misery. From 1960-1993, the Patriots suffered through a 225-276-9 (.450) all-time record with occasional glimpses of hope seemingly always tarnished by some negative that dragged the organization down like a cinder block tied to its ankle and thrown over the side of a boat.
During that period, the Patriots made the playoffs six times, won three division titles and one conference title. They had a 4-6 playoff record and hosted one playoff game. After the AFL-NFL merged in 1970 and through 1993, the Patriots drafted in the top 10 eight different times while trading their top pick three times. They held the first overall selection four times (Jim Plunkett in 1971, Ken Sims in 1982, Irving Fryar in 1984 and Drew Bledsoe in 1993).
Enter Robert Kraft, who saved the team from moving to St. Louis to become the Stallions by making an unprecedented $172 million offer for the team in 1994, thereby securing its future in New England. Under Kraft's leadership, Patriots fans have been awarded with a 212-105 (.669) record that includes 11 division titles, six AFC Championships and three Super Bowl championships. Since buying the team in 1994, the Patriots have enjoyed 13 playoff seasons, a 19-10 playoff record and have hosted 13 playoff games, going 11-2 in those home games.
The Patriots 193 regular season victories since 1994 are nine more than the next best team (Green Bay with 185) and their 212 total wins is 11 more than Pittsburgh, which has 201 over that span. The Patriots have finished below .500 just twice in Kraft's 18 seasons (6-10 in 1995 and 5-11 in 2000).
Kraft's decision to hire Bill Belichick in 2000 has proven to be a coup. Belichick is 155-59 (.724) as head coach including 17-6 in the postseason and is the only head coach in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. He has led to New England to 11 straight winning seasons and has won at least 10 games in nine consecutive seasons from 2003-2011.
He has coached the Patriots to an incredible five Super Bowl appearances in the last 11 seasons and won three of those, losing the other two in the final minute of regulation.
The success over the last 18 seasons, and particularly the last 11, gives the Patriot a 437-381-9 (.528) all-time record, a far cry from .450 winning percentage between 1960-1993.