What does it mean, historically, to do what the Patriots have done in the 2000s: go to six Super Bowls in 14 seasons? How rare is a run like that?
In the free agency era (1993-), of course, no other team has come close to it. You’d have to go back to the ’70s and earlier to find clubs that had better stretches than New England’s. See for yourself:
SIX NFL TITLE GAMES IN THE SHORTEST SPAN OF YEARS
|Team||Coach(es)||Title Years||Total (W-L)|
|1950-55 Browns||Paul Brown||1950-51-52-53-54–55||6 in 6 years (3-3)|
|1960-67 Packers||Vince Lombardi||1960-61–62–65–66–67||6 in 8 years (5-1)|
|1956-63 Giants||Jim Lee Howell, Allie Sherman||1956-58-59-61-62-63||6 in 8 years (1-5)|
|1933-41 Giants||Steve Owen||1933-34-35-38-39-41||6 in 9 years (2-4)|
|1936-45 Redskins||Ray Flaherty, 2 others||1936-37-40-42-43-45||6 in 10 years (2-4)|
|1937-46 Bears||George Halas, 2 others||1937-40–41-42-43–46||6 in 10 years (4-2)|
|1932-41 Bears||Ralph Jones, George Halas||1932–33-34-37-40–41||6 in 10 years (4-2)|
|1929-39 Packers||Curly Lambeau||1929–30–31–36-38-39||6 in 11 years (5-1)|
|1966-77 Cowboys||Tom Landry||1966-67-70-71-75-77||6 in 12 years (2-4)|
|2001-14 Patriots||Bill Belichick||2001–03–04-07-11-14||6 in 14 years (3-2)|
(Note: Championship seasons are boldfaced. Also, the Packers’ 1929, ’30 and ’31 titles were based on their regular-season record. The first championship game wasn’t played until ’32.)
As you can see, the two Bears entries from the ’30s and ’40s overlap. If you combine them, Chicago went to nine title games in 15 years (1932-46). It’s the same with the two Giants entries from that period. Combine them, and the Giants played in eight championship games in 14 years.
As for the Cowboys, they didn’t go to the Super Bowl in 1966 and ’67, but they did reach the NFL championship game both seasons. That’s why I included them – because they the second-best team in pro football (with all due respect to the ’66 Chiefs and ’67 Raiders, champions of the AFL).*
At any rate, the Patriots’ accomplishment is quite a feat given the limitations of the salary cap and the comings and goings of players. Their closest competitors in recent decades are the 1986-98 Broncos (five Super Bowls in 13 years) and the 1981-94 49ers (five in 14 years).
*The 1967-78 Cowboys also went to six title games in 12 seasons.