Patriots

By the numbers: Putting the Patriots’ 11th straight AFC East title into perspective

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady continue to break records.

Bill Belichick wearing a division champions hat during a Patriots postgame press conference after beating the Bills. Elise Amendola/AP Photo

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: the Patriots have won the AFC East.

Following a 24-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, the Patriots clinched yet another AFC East title and will be hosting another playoff game in January.

While it’s expected for the Patriots to win the AFC East year-in and year-out, that doesn’t make winning the division any less special for those involved.

To put in perspective how dominating and unprecedented the Patriots’ division run has been, let’s take a look at the numbers.

11: The Patriots’ most recent AFC East title is their 11th straight division title, extending their NFL record. That is four more than the second-longest division title streak in NFL history. The Los Angeles Rams won the NFC West seven straight times from 1973-79. The Chiefs have the second-longest active streak, as they won their fourth consecutive AFC West crown earlier this month.

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17: Bill Belichick won his 17th division title as a head coach on Saturday. That adds to his record for most division titles won by a head coach in NFL history. Don Shula and Tom Landry are tied for second with 13 division titles. Andy Reid has the second most among active coaches with 10.

17: Tom Brady also won his 17th division title on Saturday, which extends his record for most division titles won by a quarterback. Brady’s longtime rival Peyton Manning has the second-most with 12. Brady doesn’t have to worry about anyone catching him anytime soon, as Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees are tied for the second-most among active quarterbacks with seven each.

19: Since Robert Kraft took over as owner in 1994, no other team has won its division more than the Patriots. New England has won 19 division titles in the last 26 seasons. The Steelers have the second-most in that span with 13.

10: In winning their 11th straight division title, the Patriots broke a tie they had with the Atlanta Braves for the most consecutive division titles in the “Big Four” sports leagues.

22: The 2019 AFC East title is the 22nd in Patriots history. New England only won its division five times in its first 40 seasons. Furthermore, the Belichick/Brady era has seen more than triple the number of division titles in half of that time.

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1: There has only been one year in which Brady finished the season as the Patriots’ starting quarterback and didn’t win the division title. That year was 2002, and New England still finished tied for first place in the AFC East. It didn’t win the division title, however, because of a tiebreaker with the New York Jets.

13: New England secured its 12th win of the season Saturday, keeping it tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the most 12-win seasons since the merger in 1970 (13). The 49ers have also won 12 games this season.

12: The Patriots’ three divisional foes have employed 12 head coaches (not including interim head coaches) since the division title streak began in 2009. Rex Ryan (Jets and Bills) and Adam Gase (Miami Dolphins and Jets) have coached multiple teams in the division. Going back to 2000, there have been 22 head coaches employed by New England’s division rivals. That includes Jim E. Mora, who was the Indianapolis Colts head coach when they were in the AFC East before moving to the AFC South in 2002.

93: Since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000, the Patriots are 93-30 (.756 winning percentage) against AFC East opponents.

5: The Celtics have the second-longest division title streak among the other Boston sports teams since 2000. They won the Atlantic Division five straight times between 2008-2012. The Patriots also won the AFC East five straight times from 2003-07.

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18: While it’s been a good start to the century for Boston sports, the Bruins, Celtics, and Red Sox have combined for “just” 18 division titles since 2000. The Celtics have the most among those three with seven division titles. The Bruins have the longest drought among the three, as they haven’t won their division since 2014. However, they have by far the most competition for a division title. The NHL became a four-division league in 2013 and the Bruins now have seven division rivals.

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