By: Ian Logue
Bill Belichick is in the middle of a historic stretch. (USA TODAY Images)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has certainly put together an incredible run during his tenure in New England, and he’s on the verge of doing something special this season.
Should New England finish over .500 for the fourteenth consecutive season, it would move him into second place in that category all-time with some pretty prestigious company.
Belichick’s already tied with Chuck Noll and Don Shula as coaches who have had 13-years of non-losing seasons, but Belichick and Shula are the only two coaches out of that trio to finish above .500 over that span. Knoll finished the 1981 season 8-8.
One interesting stat is the fact that Belichick is the only coach out of that bunch to finish with double digit wins in 12 of those seasons, which is an active streak he’ll carry into 2014. Shula won 10 or more games 10 times over that span, with his longest consecutive streak of six running from 1970-1975. Knoll had double digit wins eight times, but was only able to do it for five consecutive seasons.
Should the Patriots finish above .500 this season, it would tie Curley Lambeau’s mark of 14. Lambeau’s streak ran from 1934-1947 as head coach of the Green Bay Packers. The former Packer’s coach passed away in 1965 at the age of 67, but his name lives on as the team named their stadium after him following his passing that same year.
The all-time record of consecutive-winning seasons is 20 and is held by Tom Landry, who dominated the NFL from 1966 through 1985 with the Dallas Cowboys. Landry’s streak of non-losing seasons is actually 21, with his Cowboys team having finished 7-7 in 1965.
Keep in mind those previous records were set during the non-salary cap era in the NFL. So the fact the Patriots have been able to put together such an incredible run over the last decade given all the turnover they’ve experienced personnel-wise is definitely impressive, with only Brady remaining from the original team that kicked it off in 2001.
Like anything else, nothing lasts forever. So it’s just another reason to appreciate the fact that every Sunday is just adding to an historic stretch that likely will be remembered as one of the best ever, and one Patriots fans may not see again once it comes to an end.
KING: BELICHICK WOULD LOVE THIS CFL RULE:
From Peter King’s MMQB from yesterday in his “10 Things I Think I Think”:
I think Bill Belichick would love the rule the CFL Competition Committee adopted this year: instant replay on pass-interference calls and non-calls. Coaches have two replay challenges per game, as in the NFL, but they can use it if they think a receiver’s gotten mugged. It turned into a key play in the first game of the season Thursday night in Winnipeg. Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea challenged an uncalled but clear pass-interference infraction, and it allowed the Blue Bombers to get the ball at the opposing 1-yard line and score an easy touchdown.
Belichick had previously requested that the league allow coaches to challenge penalties, but that’s a rule that has yet to come into play at this point.
BRANCH RETURNS HOME FOR NINTH ANNUAL CAMP:
Former Patriots receiver Deion Branch might not be employed by an NFL team at this point, but that hasn’t stopped him from staying involved with the game he loves.
Branch recently took part in his native town of Albany’s ninth annual Skills and Drills camp, which took place last Satruday morning at Albany State University. He worked with kids ranging from 5-years old to high school who attended his camp, and he enjoys the opportunity to help teach them.
“If I could go back to being 8, 9 years old, when it all started, trust me I’d do it,” he told the Albany Herald. “For me personally, I wish there would have been somebody who could have (gone to the NFL) and came back and did something like this that my coaches and I are doing. It never happened. I don’t fault anybody. Luckily, I had enough parental guidance around me to help straighten me and push me the right way alongside a lot of my friends.”
Even if Branch doesn’t play another down, it looks like he’s paying it forward to kids who might one day become a household name thanks to his help.
MATTHEW SLATER STILL FEELS LIKE HE HAS TO EARN IT:
Matthew Slater continues to be one of the big keys to New England’s success on special teams, but despite his success it hasn’t affected his approach.
“Still just trying to make the team this year. Still see myself as a guy that does a lot of grunt work. Nothing’s owed to me,” Slater told the Boston Globe during the sixth annual Joe Andruzzi & Friends golf tournament, which raises money for cancer patients and their families. “I still feel like I have to earn it. I enjoy kind of being that grunt guy who goes in and earns everything that he can. [The] mentality’s the same seven years later.”
Slater says he’s still enjoying himself as he enters his 7th pro season.
“I still feel like the kid who’s out there at recess,” Slater told the newspaper. “Playing football and having a blast.”
SOME ADDITIONAL FINAL LINKS:
Our friend James Christensen looks at potential practice squad players for the Patriots this season – READ MORE
A look at the fact that the Broncos’ ticket prices are approaching the Patriots’ from this article from Forbes.com – READ MORE
Sam Spiegelman from XN Sports looks at some questions in the AFC East, and wonders if this is the Patriots division to lose in 2014 – READ MORE
Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post on the fact that the league wants to put a ban on players using too many bars on their facemasks, which also applied to former Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes – READ MORE