The Patriots franchise have been the model of consistency since turn of the 21st century.
Since the 2001 season, the Pats have won four Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), six AFC Championships (2001, 2003,2004, 2007, 2011, 2014), thirteen division titles, a 16-0 regular season, and made the playoffs thirteen times. Since 2005 they’ve won 134 games, the most of any franchise in that time span.
Overall in their 56 year history, they’ve won eight conference titles, 18 division championships and made the playoffs twenty-three times.
Their owner, Robert Kraft, easily would be on the Mt. Rushmore of team owners. But due to my criteria (see below)for this exercise I left owners out. So here is the Patriots Mount Rushmore. There shouldn’t be many surprises.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Tom Brady (2000-Present) has four Super Bowl victories (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX), three Super Bowl MVP trophies, two NFL MVP trophies, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007,2010), an eleven-time Pro Bowler, two-time 1st-team All-Pro (2007, 2010), and twice a 2nd-team All-Pro (2005,2015). He is the Patriots career leader in passing yards (58,028), passing touchdowns (428), and has the most wins in NFL history as a quarterback with a single team (172). Brady holds, or shares, thirty-two NFL career records, another fifteen NFL playoff records, and seven Super Bowl records. He’s also a member of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.
Bill Belichick (2000-Present) has won four Super Bowls with New England–he has two more as Defensive Coordinator under Bill Parcell’s with the New York Giants. The “Hoodie” has the most wins as a coach in team history with 187. Three times he’s been named AP NFL Coach of the Year (2003, 2007, 2010) and he’s a member of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.
Ty Law (1995-2004) is the franchises career leader in interceptions with 36, six of which he returned for a team record six touchdowns. The two-time All-Pro cornerback (1998, 2003) is also third in team history with 539 tackles. The five-time Pro-Bowl selection (1998, 2001-2003, 2005) also was a member of three Patriot Super Bowl winning teams (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX) and their AFC Championship winning team in 1996. In 1998 and 2003 he was award the NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year award, and he led the NFL in interceptions in 1998 and 2005. Law is a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade team, the Patriots All-1990s, All-2000s, 50th Anniversary teams and the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Adam Vinatieri (1996-2005) kicked two Super Bowl game-winning kicks (XXXVI, XXXVIII) for the Patriots and another to win an AFC Championship. If you don’t think he belongs on this list, just ask New England’s rival, the Buffalo Bills, about the importance of a excellent kicker in crunch time. When he finished his career with New England, he had kicked 18 game-winning field goals with less than one minute remaining, including the postseason. He left Foxborough as the Patriots All-Time Leading scorer with 1158 points. With The Pats, the 1996 undrafted free agent, made two Pro Bowls (2002, 2004), two 1st-team All-Pro teams (2002,2004) and was named NFL Alumni Special Teams Player of the Year (2004). He’s also a member of the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team.
There you have it, the Pats Mount Rushmore. Agree or disagree Patriot fans? If you disagree, who should be on this list, Willie McGinest? Teddy Bruschi? I want to hear from you.