Patriots: looking back at how bad the franchise was before Bill Belichick and Tom Brady

The Patriots were a train wreck before the arrival of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

Unfortunately for Patriots fans, the Cam Newton signing won’t be nearly enough to alleviate the pain of the Kansas City Chiefs inking Patrick Mahomes to the richest contract in NFL history. That deal perhaps marked the end of New England’s sensational 20-year dynasty, across which they won 17 AFC East titles and appeared in a whopping nine Super Bowls.

Of course, the Pats were victorious in six of them with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leading the charge. Along the way, the two future Hall of Famers formed arguably the greatest head coach-player tandem in the history of sports.

However, with New England’s remarkable run of dominance all but finished, it’s only fitting that we take a look back at the state of the franchise before Belichick and Brady arrived on the scene.

It would be excruciatingly boring to take you through a complete history lesson of the Patriots, so we’ll just summarize the main takeaways. From their inception in 1960 — back when they were the Boston Patriots of the AFL — to 1984, the team had just four playoff appearances.

During that span, it hoisted just two division crowns and posted a whopping 12 losing campaigns. The Pats did appear in the Super Bowl in 1985, but were drubbed 46-10 by the Chicago Bears.

Unfortunately for the franchise, which relocated to New England in 1971, this set the stage for a miserable nine-year stretch, across which they made the playoffs just once. In fact, their combined record from 1987-1995 was a pitiful 52-91. That included double-digit losses in five consecutive seasons from 1989-1993.

Surprisingly enough, the Patriots enjoyed a nice run in the mid-1990s before Brady and Belichick entered the mix. During that stretch, they made the playoffs four times, which included a Super Bowl loss in 1996. The franchise was still without a title despite being around since the beginning of the Super Bowl era. The Pats hadn’t even won a championship!

In truly poetic fashion, however, New England failed to qualify for the postseason in the two years leading up to Belichick’s first year at the helm in 2000. From there, the organization literally hasn’t looked back.

As crazy as it sounds, Belichick and Brady don’t get nearly the respect they deserve for turning the Patriots around. Before their arrival, the team was legitimately a perennial loser that had virtually no postseason success or anything resembling consistency in the regular season.

Instead of debating and complaining about who’s responsible for the breakup, fans would be better off celebrating their unprecedented reign of supremacy.