The New England Patriots have been the gold standard of NFL teams for 20 years. Has the team ever taken the journey from worst to first? The last time the Patriots finished worst in the AFC East was all the way back in 2000, when Bill Belichick was in his first year as head coach of the team.
Drew Bledsoe had a down year, throwing 17 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. New England had the 25th ranked scoring offense and 17th ranked scoring defense. They had coaches like Brian Daboll, Rob Ryan, and Eric Mangini on their staff. Their offensive coordinator was Charlie Weis.
The 2021 season began the era of winning for the team, as the Patriots won what would be three Super Bowls in four seasons. Tom Brady had taken over during the season, which began the era of dominance that we enjoyed for so long.
The team also went from worst to first from 1995-1996 when Bill Parcells was the head coach. They ended up losing the Super Bowl that year to the Green Bay Packers, but did sport the second highest scoring offense in the NFL.
There have only been two times in their history that they have gone from worst to worst, and both were right on the cusp of the team’s 2000s domination. Going from worst to first sounds like an impossible task, especially with the parity in today’s NFL, but it happens rather frequently. Fortunately, New England doesn’t have to worry about having that “last place” finish hovering over them.
With Bill Belichick as head coach, the Patriots have finished first in their division a whopping 17 times. Even if the Patriots’ struggle a bit this season, having the best head coach in NFL history is going to help them a ton with not finishing last in their division.
I could see a scenario where New England finishes second in the division again. The Bills are clearly the favorite, but to me, it’s a tossup between the Dolphins and the Patriots for second in the AFC East.