In their 11th playoff appearance together, Brady/Belichick reach 8th AFC Championship
There are teams that will have flashes of greatness, reaching success over a consistent 3 to 5-year span. Then there's the New England Patriots. With Bill Belichick taking over as head coach in 2000 and Tom Brady leading the offense since 2001, the team has reached the playoffs 11 times. Within those 11 playoff births are now eight Conference Championship appearances. Of course, as fans we take advantage of their consistent success, but everyone needs to take a second and acknowledge how unheard of this is.
This leaves the Patriots now third on the list of most AFC Championship appearances behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (15) and Oakland Raiders, formerly the LA Raiders (11). It should be pointed out that before Brady/Belichick, the Patriots had only two previous appearances in their entire history as the team now has 10 total. As of now, the Patriots' record in the AFC Championship is and impressive 7-2.
Anyways, the credit needs to be given to Brady and Belichick for such an astounding accomplishment. Fans and even analysts sometimes take for granted what these two have really done simply because they have done it so long. The Patriots have been so good for so long that anything less than a Super Bowl victory is a disappointment. Check this out though; since 2001, the Patriots have their 8 AFC Championship appearances while the next largest number is owned by the Steelers with only 4. In the NFC, the most Championship game appearances since 2001 is held by the Eagles with 5, though they haven't appeared in the game since 2008. It is clear who the most consistently successful team is.
While Tom Brady and Bill Belichick continue to add credentials for their chases at the titles 'greatest quarterback' and 'greatest coach' of all time, it is clear that they are already the greatest QB/coach combination in the history of the NFL. Not only have they sustained their success for over a decade, but they have done so while withstanding massive overhauls in both players and coaches on the team over the years. Excellence is achieved through sustained greatness, and the Patriots have sustained greatness for well over a decade now thanks to Brady and Belichick.
Stats via ESPN.com