Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the the Patriots‘ franchise have put together an unprecedented run of success over the past two decades. Over that span, they’ve won six Vince Lombardi Trophies while putting together the longest string of success in NFL history. Along the way, they’ve set numerous NFL records while becoming the standard by which all other championship teams — in any sport — are measured.
The obvious — and most significant — milestone the Patriots would set would be becoming the first team in NFL history to win seven Super Bowl titles. The Steelers are the only other franchise with six Super Bowl wins, followed by the Cowboys (five), the 49ers (five), the Packers (four) and Giants (four). It would also make Brady and Belichick the first quarterback/head coach duo to win seven Super Bowls, as no other quarterback/head coach duo in NFL history has won more than four. Pittsburgh’s Terry Bradshaw and San Francisco’s Joe Montana are tied for second with four Super Bowl wins as starting quarterbacks, while former Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll is the only other head coach with four Super Bowl victories.
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The Patriots are three wins away from joining the 1990s Bills as the only teams in NFL history to appear in four consecutive Super Bowls. Last year, New England joined the ’90s Bills and the early ’70s Dolphins as the only teams to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls. While the Bills lost all four of their Super Bowl contests, the Dolphins lost Super Bowl VI — their first Super Bowl appearance — before rebounding to win Super Bowls VII and VIII. Miami’s bid for a fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance ended in Oakland in the ’74 playoffs on Clarence Davis’ “Sea of Hands” catch that ended Miami’s reign atop the NFL landscape.
Like Miami, New England is 2-1 during its recent run of consecutive Super Bowl trips, coming from 25 points down to beat Atlanta in Super Bowl LI before falling to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots then rebounded to defeat the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl, 13-3.
Five out of six
Already just the second team in NFL history to appear in four Super Bowls in a five-year span (and the Bills needed only four years), the Patriots would also become the first team to appear in five Super Bowls in a six-year span. They would also become the second franchise to win four Super Bowls in a six-year span, joining the 1970s Steelers, who appeared in four Super Bowls is a six-year span from 1974-79. Pittsburgh, with a roster that included nine future Hall of Fame players, went 4-0 in Super Bowl competition over that span that included two victories over the Cowboys, who appeared in five Super Bowls during the decade.
Speaking of the ’70s Steelers, the Patriots — with another Super Bowl win — would join Pittsburgh has the only franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls twice. While the late ’60s Packers, early ’70s Dolphins, late ’80s 49ers, early ’90s Cowboys, late ’90s Broncos, and early ’00 Patriots were able to win back-to-back Super Bowls, only the ’70s Steelers were able to duplicate that feat. After winning Super Bowls IX and X, Pittsburgh had a two-year layoff before coming back to win Super Bowls XIII and XIV while becoming the first team to win four Super Bowls during a time when no other franchise had won more than two.
A win in Super Bowl LIV would also keep the Patriots’ prospects of becoming the first team to win three consecutive Super Bowls, a feat no NFL team has been able to accomplish, alive. But to do that, the Patriots will have to win this year’s Super Bowl after starting their run in the wild-card round, something the Patriots have yet to do during the Brady-Belichick era.