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An Impossible Standard of Success: How the Patriots Have Forever Changed Fan Expectations

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An Impossible Standard of Success: How the Patriots Have Forever Changed Fan Expectations

“The Green Bay Packers have had Hall of Fame quarterback play for 25 years and only two championships. They have wasted the careers of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.”

Spend more than a few minutes on any Packers forum, Twitter or the r/nfl or r/greenbaypackers subreddits, and you’ll almost certainly see some variant of the above at least once a day. However, it’s a sentiment that has really only gained ground in the last several years, since the New England Patriots began winning Super Bowls again.

While it is certainly reasonable to hold the Packers to a high standard of excellence, one must also consider exactly how much the unprecedented success of the Patriots over the last 17 years colors the opinions of Packer fans and fans of other franchises around the NFL who have had sustained success, but not at a historical level like New England.

The Packers since 2000

The Packers have been, by almost any measure, one of the most successful teams in the NFL since the turn of the century. In that time, they have:

  • One Super Bowl championship and appearance
  • Nine division championships
  • 13 playoff appearances
  • Four appearances in the conference championship
  • Two most valuable player awards (Aaron Rodgers in 2011 and 2014)
  • 13 playoff wins
  • 188 total wins

This is an incredible level of sustained success. Let’s leave the Patriots aside for now. Only two other teams (the Giants and Steelers) have won multiple Super Bowl championships in that time. The Steelers have more total wins, but are trailing the Packers in almost every other category. The Giants trail the Packers in all other categories.

The Packers best compare to the Steelers and Colts, two of the other teams that fall in the top 5 for most victories since 2000. While only the Steelers have multiple championships, all three have been routinely in the mix for a title, despite a couple of “hiccup” years here and there.

The Packers and Steelers especially have been two of the premier franchises in the NFL in the salary cap era. Their two and a half decades of mostly consistent excellence is something no other franchise in the NFL has achieved.

Well, except the Patriots.

Historic levels of excellence

Let’s take a look now at what the Patriots have achieved since 2000.

  • Five super bowl championships in seven appearances (with a chance to add another this year)
  • 15 division championships (including an unbelievable nine straight since 2009)
  • 15 playoff appearances
  • 12(!) visits to the conference championship
  • Two most valuable player awards (Tom Brady in 2007 and 2010)
  • 25 playoff wins
  • 227 total wins

This is a previously unseen level of dominance over this length of time, even in the days prior to the salary cap. You’d have to go back to Vince Lombardi’s Packers of the 1960s to find a quarterback and coach combination who won five championships together, but the level of competition and playoff structure at the time were so vastly different that it is impossible to compare them.

What we’re seeing out of the Patriots is something so unique that it defies any comparison to anything we’ve seen in the NFL before. The salary cap and free agency were implemented to create a more even distribution of talent throughout the league. This has made it substantially more difficult to maintain success for longer than a few years at a time.

Since 2000, the Patriots have not only managed to turn a sixth-round pick into the greatest quarterback in NFL history, but they have also implemented a system both offensively and defensively that is able to adapt and succeed year after year because they understand their players’ strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly for them.

When you combine this with a coach who has firmly established himself as the greatest of all time himself, you get a level of success that most teams and fans could only dream of.

Think about it—the Patriots have made the AFC championship game now in 12 of the 16 years in which Tom Brady was the full time starter, a 75 percent rate.

Let’s put it this way: it is more likely that the Patriots, with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, will make an AFC championship game than it is that any qualifying quarterback in league history will complete a pass on any given throw (Drew Brees is the all-time completion percent leader at 66.9 percent).

If they beat the Jaguars this weekend, they will have advanced to the Super Bowl after eight of their 12 championship appearances in this time frame. This would mean that the Patriots would have played in a Super Bowl in half of Brady’s 16 seasons as a starter so far.

That’s called redefining success in the National Football League.

The Patriot Effect

All of this has created what I like to call the “Patriot Effect.” Fans of other franchises have watched what Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots have done over course of the last 17 years—all of the Lombardi Trophies, broken records and championship parades.

The discourse about what qualifies as a successful season and a successful team has shifted. For many fans, no longer is it enough to be consistently great over a long period of time, as the Packers and Steelers have been. Instead, fans now expect trophies. The Patriot Effect has led fans to believe that if a team does not win multiple championships during its window, then not only has the team been a failure, but it has “wasted the careers” of its most important players.

I get it. Hall of Fame quarterbacks don’t come around so often, let alone two in a row. And NFL organizations should be pushing every single year to bring home a Lombardi Trophy. But the Patriots have made it look so easy for so long that most fans seem to have forgotten the fact that, well, it isn’t.

It’s unbelievably difficult to win a Super Bowl once. So many things need to go right for the champion—luck with injuries, a few lucky calls, the right playoff opponents, the right locker room atmosphere. Even the greatest players and coaches in league history are fortunate to accomplish it once.

That’s one time.

Try five.

The Packers have won the Super Bowl twice in the last quarter century. One could certainly argue they should have a couple more Lombardis in their trophy case. But to classify their run as a failure or a “waste” of the careers of their superstars is to misunderstand and disrespect the sheer greatness of a team in New England that has set impossible standards for success since Tom Brady took down the Greatest Show on Turf.

Try to place that success into perspective as you watch this weekend’s championship games, and take a moment to appreciate that regardless of how you feel about the Patriots, we are witnessing something that will most likely never happen again in the NFL. 


Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (86) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

I'll admit, I'm one of those unreasonable fans. I'm one of those fans who feel the Packers most definitely should have more SB appearances, especially in the last 7 years.

I'm one of those who felt Thompson should have gone long before the end of the 2017 season. His way of building a roster and the ways he limited himself and the Packers cost this team dearly IMO. Obviously I can't prove the Packers would have won another SB or two had Thompson been more aggressive. But the way he's left the Packers weak at certain positions for YEARS at a time while having cap space to do something about it is frustrating to say the least.

The Patriots leave seem to do whatever is necessary every single season to ensure they play in the last game of the year. Just look at this season when they picked up James Harrison (Just one of many examples). He might not do a damn thing for them this Sunday or in the SB should they beat the Jags. The point is they signed him in the first place, something we all know Thompson would NEVER do. Matter of fact he had 2 sacks and a TFL in his first game with NE and 3 tackles in the playoff game vs the Titans. At the end of the day BB is ALWAYS looking to make his roster better, he never stands pat.

The reality is the Packers HAVE been a very successful football team. But it's this fans (Fanatic) opinion there could have been more done to be even more successful, much more. After all we have Aaron "Freaking" Rodgers. What a HUGE advantage!!!!!

Hematite's picture

Great post Nick!
I can add nothing more to what you wrote.
My thoughts exactly.

Tundraboy's picture

Ditto. Chronic unused cap space. Was it worth it?

Bearmeat's picture


TBH, I disagree completely with the "Patriot" effect idea. Ok, so (arguably) the greatest coach/GM of all time and arguably the greatest QB of all time team up and the QB gives salary cap deals to the team for a generation. That's rare, and it won't be matched, maybe ever again.

But there's also (IMHO) no doubt that GB has choked away opportunity after opportunity. They've beaten themselves at either GM, HC, DC, or QB in 95, 97, 00, 03, 04, 07, 09, 11, 14, 15, 16. Would we have won every one of those years? No. But we could have, and it's reasonable to expect to have won more titles from those golden opportunities.

They've had 2 of the top 10 QBs of ALL TIME since 1992. And they have 2 titles to show for it. Yeah. The winning is nice. But it's not unreasonable to expect 2 titles from a generational talent at QB. We should have AT LEAST 4 since 92 by now. And 6 would have been great, but not unreasonable.

No. I'm not spoiled. No. I'm not happy with the success this team has had. I'm upset about the underachieving, and that's EXACTLY what has been done.

If we don't get at least 1 more with Rodgers, it will be a waste. Just like it was with Favre (although Favre himself was to blame for many of them - Rodgers isn't).

Yeah. I said it. Come at me. :)

Tim Backes's picture

We're almost definitely not going to agree on any of this, but I figured I'd respond to a couple of these points.

"They've beaten themselves at either GM, HC, DC, or QB in 95, 97, 00, 03, 04, 07, 09, 11, 14, 15, 16. Would we have won every one of those years? No. But we could have, and it's reasonable to expect to have won more titles from those golden opportunities."

Don't entirely agree with this. '95 the Packers were on the cusp, not quite there yet. Could they have won it all? Maybe, but I don't think them losing in the NFCCG can be considered a disappointment, especially to fans who were watching that game at the time and hadn't seen the Packers get that far in nearly 30 years.

'00 they weren't even a playoff team. '03, '04, '15 they just plain weren't good enough to be championship teams, unless they'd have made major postseason turnarounds. You can maybe argue '03, but definitely not '04 or '15. '07 you can argue, but I don't think they match up with the Patriots that year like the Giants did. '11 and '14 were their best shots outside of '97, and '14 especially I think was their best shot. I will absolutely hear arguments that they "should" have won it that year. '16 they overachieved throughout the "run the table" streak and got exposed in Atlanta. They weren't championship material. Anyone watching last year's NFCCG can agree with that.

That makes three years out of that list where I can agree that they indisputably had a championship level team. But even then, sometimes all it takes is a few unlucky breaks and you're left at home in February. I don't consider those years a waste, even if at the time it was a letdown to see them sent home.

Let's look at the QBs, next.

Here is a full list of "generational talent" QBs who have won multiple titles in the salary cap era:

-Tom Brady
-Peyton Manning
-John Elway
-Ben Roethlisberger (if you consider him a "generational" QB)

[FWIW, I do not consider Eli Manning to be a "generational" player.]

This leaves out current and future Hall of Fame talents like Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Steve Young. And let's not forget, Rodgers' career still isn't over.

There's far more that goes into winning a championship than a "generational" QB. Even consider those who DID win multiple championships. Peyton Manning was arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league in 2015. Ben Roethlisberger had the worst quarterbacking performance all time of a Super Bowl winner in 2005. John Elway's two wins came long after he was the focal point of the offense.

What Brady and Belichick have achieved is incomprehensible. It goes beyond any definition of greatness we previously had in the NFL.

If Rodgers wins another, it will surely be a great feather in his cap, but it's impossible and absurd to classify his career as a failure or a disappointment, unless you also do the same to Marino, Favre, Warner, Young, etc. In which case, I think you're being ridiculous. :P

It's your prerogative to be disappointed or unsatisfied with the team's run, but there are fanbases of probably 29 or 30 other teams that would kill for the run the Packers have been on.

Bearmeat's picture

I was going to answer in long form to your post point by point. But I decided to keep it short.

I disagree with you good sir. What other teams would kill for is our QBs - and that is such a huge advantage in the NFL - especially by the mid 00's.

The league was not the same in the 80's. A QB mattered much less then.

4thand1's picture

Bellicheat picked up Harrison because he anticpated playing the Steelers in the AFCCG and it would have given him an edge.

dobber's picture

It's not as if those teams haven't played much recently. They're pretty familiar with each other.

Tim Backes's picture

Correct. And it's not like the Patriots need much help beating the Steelers lately. Their record against the team speaks for itself.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm with you Bearmeat. If I'm driving a Porsche and your driving a Camry. I better have some wins in my pocket because I have no excuses.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

NE also picked up Kenny Britt last December for peanuts. Signed him on December 13 for $158K for the rest of 2017 and has a club option for $1.468M in 2018. Not a dime is guaranteed. Not sure if Britt is washed up, he is only 29, and he isn't a speedster, but he is 6'3" with a career 15.6 yr/rec average. He does have issues with drops, and possibly curfew violations, effort issues. NE seems to know how to deal with those types.

Given our issues at WR, a zero risk, some upside signing like Britt might make sense. We could have cut him in August or September after all.

Nick Perry's picture

Or how about the trade for Eric Rowe last season? There's example after example after example.

Off Topic.... Have you guys been listening to the radio podcasts (is that what they call them?) on ESPN with homer & Gabe with Jason Wilde. The one from yesterday talks about how Murphy more less screwed Gutekunst when he told him he couldn't hire of fire the HC. Also it seems MM and Russ Ball have just about as much juice as our new GM. Murphy even went as far to say he be involved in McCarthy's game planning when asked what his weekly meetings with McCarthy would be about.

This WHOLE thing with Murphy, McCarthy, Gutekunst, and Ball is starting to get me REALLY nervous. It seems to me there's too many cooks in the kitchen. I'll wait and watch closely this off-season but I'm officially nervous. I'm starting to think maybe Murphy should have been the FIRST to be fired. I always had a sense he was a real Weirdo, but if this turns into a clusterf** and he makes the Packers the laughing stock of the NFL with this new arrangement and MORE time is wasted from Rodgers career, I'm going to be really pissed!

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah NP. I heard it. And I agree completely. This power sharing agreement won't work long term.

Either MM leaves, Murphy leaves, Ball leaves or Gute leaves - and sooner rather than later. My guess is this is a 2 year patch and then it'll all blow up unless they win it all.

Too many egos involved here. I don't like it one bit.

Nick Perry's picture

BM...Wanna hear something even worse?? Go to and listen to the News Conference where Murphy introduces Gutekunst as the GM. He can't even say his name actually saying he "Needed to learn how to pronounce his name". WTF!!!! He's been with the organization working right along side you in the same building and you don't know how to say his name correctly OR even say that???

OMG...I think I'm going to be sick.

Bearmeat's picture

I didn't watch it and I'm not going to. We're stuck with Murphy, Gute, MM and Ball for the next couple years. We have to hope they succeed and if they do, then great. If not, then they must be held accountable.

Spock's picture

NP, Chillax dude. You posted right here on CHTV that your New Years resolution was to be more OPTIMISTIC. Yikes, give this a chance. I used to really enjoy your posts, but even Croat -whose English is a 2nd language- was questioning what happened with you last year. I love your analysis after the games, but man this is just a GAME. Let it play out before falling off the rails about the management structure; maybe it sucks, maybe it will be fine. Jumping on the worry bus this early in the game just makes getting an ulcer more likely. :) Peace, brother. Just read RC -everything is sunshine and ponies (just kidding RC, I love your posts). Sorry to insert a personal comment but, seriously, I'm worried about you if you feel you're going "to be sick" over a podcast.

dobber's picture

This IS NP being more optimistic...

The TKstinator's picture

Worry Bus pulling in. Beep beep!

Tundraboy's picture

Just like it was with Favre (although Favre himself was to blame for many of them - Rodgers isn't).

I'm with you. Even in 2010,when MM did a great job keeping the team together he nearly blew a couple of games that would have ended the season. That was with Rodgers playing lights out. At the time I didn't care because the future looked so bright, but the injuries and player losses have led to a period of stagnation. Time for a serious wakel up call. Rodgers will be 35 soon.

John Kirk's picture

The last thing you are is unreasonable, NP.

Anyone who ever does or says or writes anything that rationalizes failure is someone that you should run from. Let them be happy with their shoot low mentality, if that's what does it for them. Sadly, this attitude from the piece permeates from the top down. Mark Murphy is not a winner. I can't believe how underwhelming, uninspiring, and dishonest this guy is. It's little wonder we are who we are with the attitude he carries. He loves selling the almost as good as New England narrative. It's a losers lament packaged to placate.

I once foolishly thought that getting rid of Ted years ago was the thing holding this org back. He was only part of the problem. It's the losing self justifying attitude of Mark Murphy who is basically our owner now that is at fault. No winner would've sat by for years as an absentee landlord on winning it all. He was all fine and dandy doing his business things letting the team underachieve selling it as great success.

It's fools gold to believe we'd ever get to a New England status with him pulling strings at 1265. Oh, sure...we may get another one now that Ted and his archaic aloof ways are over. That will surely send warm and fuzzies to the majority of the fanbase. Another win will never make up for what was lost under Ted.

The Rodgers era will always be known more for what could've been than for what was with me.

Razer's picture

True enough, BB keeps plugging players into a solid system and getting the most out of them. I heard that BB's mantra is "do your job". As a Packer's fan, I wonder if some of our guys know their job. You only need look at our secondary and linebacker play on this front. Watching a 4 year pro like Richard Rodgers trying to block tells you a lot about our expectations on this team. RR would not even be on the Patriots practice squad. The level of expectation and accountability is way higher in NE

When you look at what Brady does, you wonder how he does it game after game. It is like watching the Packers sweep. To his credit, he is smarter than Rodgers and almost always takes what the defense gives him. Again, I think that BB has coached these guys with a clarity of design and responsibility to achieve these results. It truly is a marvel to watch.

If they didn't resort to cheating it would be the ultimate in football excellence.

dobber's picture

But the system evolves. It's not always the same...week to week even.

Razer's picture

That is great coaching.

WKUPackFan's picture

"If they didn't resort to cheating it would be the ultimate in football excellence".

The irrefutable laws of physics disagree with you. Of course, you probably believe that the Ideal Gas Law is "fake science".

dobber's picture

UGH! You're in my Chemistry wheelhouse...


I give you 'thumbs up' for the IGL reference in a football thread, though! :)

Razer's picture

Sorry, spying on opponent practices, cutting out video feeds at Foxboro and yes purposely deflating balls are tactics unbecoming a champion. When it comes out that Robert Kraft is paying Brady (14th in salary) outside of the game then the darkness will be complete.

WKUPackFan's picture

And Ted Wells is a totally unbiased investigator. And Exponent was a totally unbiased scientific testing lab. And the NFL has released all the data on the balls used in the Patriots/Colts game. Shall we continue?

Razer's picture

Funny how cold weather teams like the the Packers, Bears, Steelers never seem to have the problem. Universal gas laws must only apply to New England or maybe Ted Wells.

Tim Backes's picture

Videotaping opponent practices was completely legal at the time of the most commonly alleged incident. The league took a technicality of camera placement and blew it out of proportion. Here's a good resource to check out:

Aaron Rodgers publicly stated he likes to "push the limit to how much air we can put in the football, even go over what they allow you to do and see if the officials take air out of it." Do you believe he should have been suspended four games?

Razer's picture

No one has complained about Aaron Rodger's balls :o)

Tim Backes's picture

Right, because it's stupid to care as much about the inflation of footballs as the Colts did.

I have a hard time believing Jim Irsay would have made a stink to the league if the Colts hadn't gotten blasted by 38 points that game.

Razer's picture

I thought it was the Ravens? Either way, the league did suspend Brady 4 games and docked them a 1st round and 4th round pick. This was based on something -was it not?

Tim Backes's picture

Nah it was after the 2014-2015 AFC Championship game against the Colts. There were some early reports that the Ravens also had concerns, but John Harbaugh has denied that.

D.D. Driver's picture

It's a bit of a strawman. Rodgers has never been accused of **secretly inflating the game balls after they have been tested by the officials.**

Ultimately, Brady got popped for destroying evidence. In any legal proceeding, if you destroy evidence the finder of fact can (and usually will) conclude that the evidence that you destroyed was damning.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Great post, DD Driver. Irrefutable I believe is the best word to describe it.

The TKstinator's picture

Brady is smarter than Rodgers??

dobber's picture

ARod's woNderlic score: 35
Tom Brady's wonderlic score: 33
Dobber's current BMI beats them both...

Just sayin'...

The TKstinator's picture

And to top it off with that “just sayin’” was a masterstroke!

4thand1's picture

I listened to Rodgers describe defenses in a press con one time, and was confused after the second sentence.

Razer's picture

I like Rodgers but Brady takes the game to the next level. He's worked without threat WR's and name RB's and made it work in all scenarios. Even when teams know what is coming Brady makes it work. He is a master of taking what the defense is giving and he uses his run game as a weapon rather than checking out of run plays. His smarts have won him more games and championships than our guy will ever see.

And when it comes to smart - Brady is smart enough to throw the ball away instead of inviting Anthony Barr to crush him.

Sam Freeman's picture

Randy moss was there for like a year...

nigrivasilayesrej's picture

As long as AR is upright, the expectation should be SB or bust. I'm not saying you have to win it, but you must get there. We've all witnessed this year what it's like without a HOF top 10 QB of all-time. AR literaly accounts for anywhere between 10-14 points in Vegas, depending on the backup. When Rodgers is gone, the expectation level should then be playoffs or bust, unless it's complete rebuild mode (assuming we don't hit the lottery for a 3rd time).

Savage57's picture

What is most vexing about the Patriots dynastic run when it's viewed in the context of the Packers 1-3 record in conference championship games?

In any industry, from time to time a disrupter appears who so effectively utilizes an approach to market domination that it leaves competitors with two choices: Emulate or innovate.

I think we've all realized by now that Packers leadership is incapable of the latter and due to a variety of reasons (habit, vanity, stubbornness) have purposely eschewed the former.

Kids know well enough that sometimes the best thing you can do is to remember the old tested maxim:
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Or, you could use the MM1, TT and MM2 approach to things: "Let's do more of what's not working, harder."

The TKstinator's picture

You had me at “vexing”.

dobber's picture

Tim, you are the master.

Every team in the league wants to be the Patriots. Virtually every team watches what they do and tries to do it, at least to some degree. No one has been able to replicate it.

It's lightning in a bottle when it happens once. It's organizational success when it happens twice in short order. I don't think we have a name for this. This is an unprecedented degree of success in an era designed to tear it down.

Bearmeat's picture

See Dobber, that's the thing.

I don't think this is really about the Patriots. My disappointment with the Packers actually has nothing to do with the Patriots, except for the fact that they (very) occasionally play each other.

My disappointment with the Packers stems from wasting resources. Holmgren getting greedy. Hiring Ray Rhodes. Giving Sherman the GM job. Favre's choking year after year. TT's stubbornness in no FAs like ever... MM's stubbornness in his "system" and refusal to run the damn ball. Dom Capers having a job after 2012.

The Steelers won 4 super bowls in 5 years. The Packers won 5 championships in 7 years. The 49ers won 4 in 5 years. The Cowboys won 3 in 4 years. The Pats won 3 in 4 years, then 2 of the past 3.

Sure, the sustained success of the Patriots makes a heck of a measuring stick. But they didn't win from 2005-2014 either.

What I'm saying is that with the quality of QB'ing GB has had, there has been ample opportunity for the Packers to win another 2 titles since 1992. They haven't done it - because of their own mistakes. It has nothing to do with the Pats.

Nick Perry's picture

YES, YES, and a HELL YES for Bearmeat!!

Handsback's picture

BB has changed the way to build an NFL...he has built a great core and keeps the roster fresh. The one constant is Brady, and I suspect that w/o him it won't continue. BB is a great coach, but he needs great players as any coach does to win the SB. Brady tilts that field in NE's favor. They win their division every year and get themselves playing at home for the playoffs.
Let me say this to all Packer fans, New England for all their greatness has never won three in a row like the Packers.

The TKstinator's picture

But the Patriots also have a reputation for....bending...the rules of fair play.

D.D. Driver's picture

What is also lost in much of the debate is just how much *luck* is involved. You have to be good *and* get lucky along the way (injuries, getting the right match-ups in the playoffs, and just lucky bounces).

Even looking at the Patriots they never would have won that first SB without the lucky Tuck Rule. They wouldn't have lost against the Giants except Tyree's fluke helmet catch. They would not have beat the Seahawks but for a coaching malfunction in the final second. And the Patriots very best team of all time--> lost in the Super Bowl.

The point being, you have the be very good to excellent *and* you have to be a little lucky. All the luck in the world won't help you if you do not have a very good to excellent team. The Patriots are very good to excellent every year and have lots of opportunity to get lucky along the way,

My point is, sometimes the difference between 2 SBs in 25 years and 4 SBs really can come down to dumb luck.

WinUSA's picture

Nice post DD. Comes to my mind the complete breakdown in the NFC Championship game with the Seahawks. We won't go into details, every Packer fan has that day of infamy permanently branded into their brains....point being...the luck definitely wasn't with us on that day...We would be having a different discussion about the SB appearances if things hadn't gone in the toilet on that horrible day.

croatpackfan's picture

Can we get off the board at least 30 wins, as Patriots played in joke division (each season 6 games with given Win) at least last 5 years...

And that also means that Patriots played only 10 strong games per season, sorry, only 5 - 6 competitive games per season.

Now, they are healthier than any team from NFC when they get to SB. They are less spared, they are playing practice games mostly through the season. Let see Steelers - they have the toughtest division and they are mostly heavily banged as team (this year included!) when they come to the possibility to play postseason, didn't they...

It will be interesting to see what is the Patriots record when they were playing with NFC teams with winning record...

billybobton's picture

the fact free aspect of this site is scary....instead of just posting nonsense go back and study the divisional records....dont cherry pick around the 0-16 lions....add up wins and losses then come back and post an apology for this post

croatpackfan's picture

I checked and stand with my claim. The basic fact is that there was 3-4 teams (one is Patriots) that are very often in AFCCG. Look at NFCCG through years and than tell me which part of NFL is more "balanced"...

If you have different (maybe alternative) facts, please post them.

Also, to be understanded correctly, I do not like Tom Brady, but he is one of the best ever. As Patriots team are excellent team, there is no doubt...

Packer Fan's picture

Good article. Hits the point of why there is a shakeup in the Packers. Both have a hall of fame QB. But the Patriots have a front office to keep bringing in new players to make a run every year. And good coaching. Respectable defenses that aren't great but are good enough. Last year against the Falcons, they kept going to James White, the RB for short passes. It was a mismatch they kept going to all the time. The defense held enough and Brady brought them back. Packers defense get blown out. Time for a change. Looks like Pettine may make the defense respectable next year. That's a start.

dobber's picture

"But the Patriots have a front office to keep bringing in new players to make a run every year. "

That's the thing: BB IS the front office. He sees other teams' lemons and brings them in on cheap contracts to make lemonade. Maybe it's the fact that he's there at the ground level and has the eye of a scout. They're as good with role players (James White, for instance) as any team out there. He's running a 1950s era dynasty by finding and picking his own players and coaches, and making it work in the salary-cap handcuffed 2000s.

Do I like BB and the Pats? No. "Cheating" aside, do I recognize and admire what they've been able to do? Yes.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah. I respect the Pats. Greatest dynasty since Lombardi and it's not close.

I also hate them. Cause jealousy.

pacman's picture

I can understand not matching the Patriots record. What has been extremely frustrating to me and other fans is that while Brady is very good, Rodgers is better. (Favre was fun but not as good.) And the Packers management let this team drift downwards and didn't immediately correct things. (Until now. And now maybe they went overboard. We will see.)

The game is hard enough to win with good players. Letting it fall apart until it became obvious to everybody - was an attitude problem. This site still has the Lombardi quotes running in the lower right corner. The statues in front of Lambeau should be a reminder to everybody of the history of this team. Management embarrassed themselves and dis'ed fans by not living up to what those statues represent.

Many fans saw this years ago but hey - "MM is a very successful coach". Lombardi would not have defined success as almost getting to the SB.

Management absolutely did not try to win a SB.
Management did not live up to Lombardi's legacy.

So yes, we fans have a right to be upset.

badaxed's picture

"What has been extremely frustrating to me and other fans is that while Brady is very good, Rodgers is better."

A superstar qb is measured by his wins not his qb rating. Marino was a great qb. Do people put him in the same category as Brady. I think not.
Winning championships Like Starr or Brady have done is the ultimate measuring stick of greatness.

pacman's picture

You have to look at how smart he is, what throws he makes and what throws he does not make. Not throwing interceptions is a huge differentiator. I didn't see Marino play enough to judge.

'Wins' is mostly on the team. QB ratings aren't the full picture either. Hundley had some decent ratings in a a couple games. Throwing TDs to wide open receivers because of busted coverage gets you better ratings but does not tell the whole story.

Chris Vachio's picture

A QB is only measured by wins by people who don't understand that football is a team game. By that measure, Trent Dilfer is a better QB than Marino and no one with more than two brain cells to rub together would ever make that statement.

badaxed's picture

Anyone with more than two brain cells would not have Hundley on their team let alone a starting quarterback.

Ustabeayooper's picture

Let's be honest. There will never be another dynasty like the Patriots. It is a rare combination of coaching and quarterbacking that has contributed to their success. Throw in the ineptitude of the division they play in allowing for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, poor decisions made at critical moments in games by opponents, and occasional fortuitous bounces and you can witness the ongoing success. It has also helped that the coaching staff has remained in tact. The effort to protect the QB's by the league has also helped Brady and the Patriots. Acknowledge the greatness and enjoy the game.

Tarynfor12's picture

From the Patriots have played/still play in a joke division, they bend the rules and we don't have an owner with deep pockets ( the most stupid of all ) when they are restricted to salary cap like all others makes you appear like crybaby's.

The Patriots maintained an evolving strategy, have openly shown that no player is above the success of the team, have made player moves for the betterment of the team, made others scratch their heads in wonder in what their doing and why,have a QB who does all he can to ensure a winning team and a HC who demands each player do his job with no excuse for failure and doesn't sugar coat his media time with excuses.

The Patriots sign players with the ability to release them when needed while the Packers sign players to deals because they have no one else ( failed Draft and Develop ) or don't know how to get someone else ( FA ). Perhaps it's because the Patriots go all in showing they want SB wins and get players that want same even knowing they may be gone with a snap of the finger, while the Packers offer steady employment for the contract duration,for the most part, regardless of desire, motivation to play or win.

Saying one wants to win is not the same as showing it weekly. It's like designating a player as ' great ' before he takes the first snap in the's just words of false credit. The Patriots do one and the Packers do the other...guess which.

The Packers have shown virtually none of these components that have made the Patriots the high level of winners they are and is why we are saddled with the playoff appearance is great and successful mindset.

Look all one wishes to for reasons to hate on the Patriots because that's what losers do while secretly wishing to be just like them.

This Org and fan base accepted being considered the runner up by it's lack of actions to improve and chose to grasp losing from the grip of victory yearly.

Hopefully, as always, this team changes is business platform in the Front Office and on the field starting now. Otherwise, the next savior at the QB position may not come for a very long time and we do penance for the wasting of the two we were blessed to have back to back for at least 30 years. : )

Since '61's picture

Taryn - looks like we were both posting at the same time and saying pretty much the same. Very good post as usual. Thanks, Since '61

Since '61's picture

First, the Patriots have been the NFL's most successful franchise since 2000. But the reality is that they have had 2 separate runs. The first run was between 2001 - 2004 when they won 3 of 4 SBs. All victories within one play of losing. Their have repeated that with winning 2 out of the last 3 SBs since 2014. Again both wins on the last play of the game. In fact they should have lost the last 2 SBs but the Pat's opponents were undone by their own coaching staffs.

They went 10 years between SB wins and should be 0-4 in their last 4 SBs. Yes, they dominate in total wins but they play in a division with 3 teams that can't get out of their own way. This usually results in the Pats getting a bye and playing at least one playoff game, usually 2 on their home field. As compared with the Packers who usually end up on the road during the playoffs even when they win their division.

The Patriots do a great job of playing at home during the playoffs. They get a 6-0 jump start and then they prevent themselves from blowing regular season games to get to 12 - 14 wins per year. Unlike the Packers who usually allow 2-3 late game comebacks during the regular season and finish with 10-11 wins and on the road after the wild-card round.

The Patriots defense has not been great since around 2007-2008 but they still play big in the red zone. They trade TDs with their opponents FGs. Also, their OL gets the job done. When you consider that Brady is nowhere near as mobile as Rodgers and yet he is as effective as he is, that says plenty for their OL performance.

I don't think of the Patriots as one of the greatest teams of all time because they have not been the same team like the 60s Lombardi Packers (11 HOFers) or the 70s Steelers (10 HOFers, IIRC) or the 80s 49ers. They have been the product of the free agent salary cap era. All types of players coming and going on offense and the defense. Their only constants have been Brady and Belicheck. Beyond Brady I can't think of another HOFer the Pats have produced during this run. Yet, here they are. They manage the system, year by year, game by game.

The same is true for the NY Yankees in MLB. They have had great teams but they also have had on going success in almost every decade of MLB history since the 1920s. Why, because they consistently understand what is required to win. Back in the 70s, George Steinbrenner understood that free agency was the way to win the World Series and he created an environment to bring players to NY win the World Series. Players/FAs go to the Yankees to win championships.

The same is true for the Patriots. NFL players go there to win SBs. They may not be the best team in NFL history but they are the best at utilizing the current free agency/salary cap era to achieve success. Belicheck finds the players and Brady holds it together.

In Green Bay Aaron Rodgers holds the offense together but the defense has refused to get off the field until they allow the opponent to score. With TT and Capers gone maybe that will finally change. Who knows? Thanks, Since '61

worztik's picture

‘61... I liked what you wrote and it’s true as far as it goes. When free agency hit sports, I truly lost interest in baseball (gettin’ it back slowly...) and the NBA is just a bad joke!!! The thing that stands out about the Boston Weenies is their 2 coordinators are basically 2 more head coaches, one being an “actual Rocket Scientist”!!! Then there’s King Bellybutton that rules the Kraft Kingdom!!! I don’t want a team where I have to learn all the players names every year due to turnover! I’m an “old” old school guy and I appreciate building a rapport with players (even if it’s only in my own mind...) and being loyal to not only the team concept but, to the players as well!!! Take care ‘61... see you in another life at the big Lambeau in the sky!!!!! Just Sayin’... so long again!!!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Since 2010, Gronkowski is a sure fire HOFer. 15.1 yds/rec from a TE who can block.

Since '61's picture

TGR - I would agree that Gronkowski will be a Hall of Famer.
That would give the Pats a whopping 2 HOF players since 2000.

Thanks, Since ‘61

Since '61's picture

Worztik - we're both old school. However in this era with free agency and injuries most players don't stay around very long. With the exception of Aaron Rodgers we're basically cheering for the uniform at this point.
Always good to hear from you, take care. Thanks, Since '61

worztik's picture

When I read your responses and critiques and speeches I remember why I stopped visiting and posting on your little old lady coffee clutch site!!! I would really enjoy putting a face to some of you whom think you should be the GM of the team!!! I will go back into my cave of reality now and let you boys continue to impress each other... Just Sayin’... so long!!!!

dobber's picture

" I would really enjoy putting a face to some of you whom think you should be the GM of the team!!!"

If you would put this face with mine, my wife would be ever-so-greatful.

Now you'll have to excuse me...this quilt isn't going to stitch itself!

worztik's picture

Don... yer face would put mine to shame (as you can see from my pic), however, I don’t consider faces an issue... it’s the sentiment or lack there of from many of the clutch with you and a few exceptions... see ya!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I was figuring 2 dislikes for every like. Off a bit: 1.7 dislikes for every like.

Three and Out's picture

I didn't read the entire article, but here's my thoughts on the Patriots "unfairly" changing the standards that fans have of their respective teams.

The Patriots aren't doing anything extraordinary here. They have a coaching staff on both sides of the ball that actually use their brains and come up with a gameplan/system/whatever you want to call it, that works. They take players that either no one else wants, or has never heard of, and they make them great and win with them. They create a different system week in and week out for each opponent they face, and it works most of the time.

Sure, they have their share of absolutely great players, but they also have had mediocre players that they turn into top level talent.

It all comes down to coaching and their coaching staffs ability to play to their strengths and giving their team the best chance to win every week. Not by being stubborn pig-headed fools who refuse to sway from their decisions that are apparently chiseled into we know who.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

NE's drafting hasn't much more than okay, maybe pretty good at best.

4thand1's picture

To be honest, I don't think the Patriots would have won a single SB without Brady. BB wasn't that good of a coach before having the GOAT fall into his lap.

billybobton's picture

that was a real lot of work to say absolutely nothing...

except MAYBE that you (like Thompson and some other GMs) love the idea of a built in excuse and method of avoiding accountability

MAYBE JUST MAYBE smarter and less lazy people saw advantages to free agency and used it as a positive tool to change the championship dynamic

like grabbing a RANDY MOSS instead of hording mid round to low draft choices

or A BEAST MODE instead of liking B Jackson

or establishing a REVIS ISLAND instead of rollins clones

just because the way to win gets more complicated and most can not figure it out does not excuse the lazy, dumb and take the crowd way out

Tim Backes's picture

You seem to be confusing this article with me saying I think Thompson's approach to team-building was infallible. I definitely don't think that, and clearly, neither do the Packers as he's now out the door.

I do think there is absolutely an argument to be made that the Packers could/should have a couple more titles. I absolutely do not think there is an argument to be made that their run over the last couple decades is a failure because they *only* have two titles.

John Kirk's picture

I couldn't disagree with the premise of this article more strongly than I do. The headline couldn't be more flawed or inaccurate.

The word "impossible" appears in the headline. If the Patriots have done it and are still doing it, it's not impossible.

There are levels of eliteness within the room of elite QB's. Brady sits atop the list with Rodgers not far behind. What Dan Marino or John Elway did or didn't do has no bearing on what Aaron Rodgers does or doesn't do anymore than it has on what Brady has done.

This piece is a cop out to placate fans who desire more who should expect more. This was channeling the very underwhelming Mark Murphy who claimed we were "almost as good" as New England. The sad reality is we are nowhere close to them and to justify it is completely and wholly anti the spirit of sport. Winners win...and are sold out to win. Winners do not accept failure let alone justify it.

If you showed Belichick or Brady this piece they would smile widely and shake their heads wondering how anyone could think like this. The concept would be foreign to them. They won the SB last year and went out and added more in FA than we did by a mile. Gillislee, Burkhead, Gilmore, a trade for Cooks. Dwayne Allen. The talent they added after winning shows a relentless pursuit and voracious appetite to win. Not anything remotely close to rationalizing the failure the Packers have endured in light of their greatness.

I assure you. No winner on this earth thinks like this. The Packers org is so ridiculously out of touch with the passion for winning that it's offensive. Go back and listen to Mike McCarthy's answer on if getting blown out in Atlanta still constituted a successful season. The answer was 3 minutes plus on why getting blown out in the NFCCG made for a successful season. Would New England say such things? No...but we're told by this piece that it's impossible or unreasonable to expect that success? No. That is exactly the success you should expect with the gift of the penultimate elite of the elite at QB.

I read some stuff during the Jags Steelers game that I found so enlightening. Coughlin was in the press box just tearing into his team while they were blanking the Steelers. He was livid with what he was seeing. Why? He's sold out to win and there's no question that his mentality is why his Giants stopped the Pats in SBs. It takes someone like that. We don't have that.

We have one SB win with Aaron Rodgers. It took Caleb Hanie, a 3rd string QB, who hardly saw a snap all season to advance after a white knuckle ride. We eeked by to our lone appearance. With 12 at QB wouldn't it be nice to be a dominant team? We have yet to be that at any point during Rodgers time. The 15-1 season offered the worst secondary performance in NFL history up to that point in time.

I will never delight in how great we've supposedly had it over the last 25 years. It's about rings. That's what the goal of the season win the SuperBowl. Anything less is not meeting your goal. Those who would spend time trying to convince others that not making their goal over and over is a fine way to think and they should be happy truly baffle me. There is one standard to judge by... Super Bowl wins.

I'm sincerely happy not to have to hear about our playoff streak. 8 in a row and one appearance? That's abysmal. Especially, given the prodigious advantage at QB. It means we've failed severely in other areas of team building. We have done less with more. New England has achieved what we could've and should've with their gift of a quarterback donning number 12. Our org has failed and failed miserably with our 12 and anyone who says otherwise is attracted to spin and rationalization of underachievement.

Lphill's picture

It's pretty simple they reload every year with veteran players to win today instead of waiting for players to develop for tomorrow , maybe the Packers should try it.

4thand1's picture

Like the rookie who won the SB with a game saving int.?

ricky's picture

TT does nothing? Woodson doesn't count? Adding Evans this year is nothing? So NE added Harrison. A few years ago, TT added Peppers. Who had a greater impact? Last off season, how excited were we when Bennett was added at TE? Along with Kendricks? This was supposed to revamp the offense and make it a juggernaut. Afterward, of course, we all screamed with outrage. Oh well. And in '14, has everyone forgotten that Rodgers was injured, and this limited his ability to scramble/pick up yards by running? This hampered the offense considerably, since when it came to running, the other team didn't have to account for AR's ability to bootleg or throw to a receiver after a fake.

NE is extraordinary. And they also have played in a very weak division for years. And their SB victories and losses have come on fluke plays- the losses to the Giants because of extraordinary passes by Mannning; their wins by last minute heroics, and meltdowns by the other team. The win over Seattle, the first win over the Rams, the amazing comeback against Atlanta, when that team choked, and Matty Ice once again became a melted puddle when the pressure was greatest.

Should the Packers have won more? Sure. Should the Steelers or Colts or Broncos or Dolphins or Seahawks or Rams? Absolutely. Blame TT? When Favre acted like the coldest guy in Wisconsin in the '07 championship game? Or when Rodgers was grabbed by the facemask against the Cards in the Championship game, fumbled in OT for a Cardinal TD? These were the fault of who, exactly?

This is all "woulda, coulda, shoulda" thinking. Could things have gone better? Absolutely. Could they have gone worse? Of course. It is what it is. Lets see if Gutekunst brings in more FA's, makes more moves, and gets the Packers to three SB's in the next six years. If so, great; I'm wrong. If not...

ricky's picture

TT does nothing? Woodson doesn't count? Adding Evans this year is nothing? So NE added Harrison. A few years ago, TT added Peppers. Who had a greater impact? Last off season, how excited were we when Bennett was added at TE? Along with Kendricks? This was supposed to revamp the offense and make it a juggernaut. Afterward, of course, we all screamed with outrage. Oh well. And in '14, has everyone forgotten that Rodgers was injured, and this limited his ability to scramble/pick up yards by running? This hampered the offense considerably, since when it came to running, the other team didn't have to account for AR's ability to bootleg or throw to a receiver after a fake.

NE is extraordinary. And they also have played in a very weak division for years. And their SB victories and losses have come on fluke plays- the losses to the Giants because of extraordinary passes by Mannning; their wins by last minute heroics, and meltdowns by the other team. The win over Seattle, the first win over the Rams, the amazing comeback against Atlanta, when that team choked, and Matty Ice once again became a melted puddle when the pressure was greatest.

Should the Packers have won more? Sure. Should the Steelers or Colts or Broncos or Dolphins or Seahawks or Rams? Absolutely. Blame TT? When Favre acted like the coldest guy in Wisconsin in the '07 championship game? Or when Rodgers was grabbed by the facemask against the Cards in the Championship game, fumbled in OT for a Cardinal TD? These were the fault of who, exactly?

This is all "woulda, coulda, shoulda" thinking. Could things have gone better? Absolutely. Could they have gone worse? Of course. It is what it is. Lets see if Gutekunst brings in more FA's, makes more moves, and gets the Packers to three SB's in the next six years. If so, great; I'm wrong. If not...

elijahBLUE's picture

I feel like the biggest difference in GB and NE is the ability of Belichick to alter his game plans on weekly basis depending on who they play. He is always looking at strengths and weaknesses. What can he exploit.
He is very creative in his offensive and defensive play-calling.
GB has the same offense and defense plan, week in and week out. Slight variations but not like what NE can pull off.
It takes smart coaches and smart players to be able to make a change depending on opponent.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
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