What to look for in 2019

The New England Patriots enter the 2019 season having won an NFL record 10 consecutive AFC Eastern Division championships while also reaching an NFL record eight straight conference championship games and appearing in three consecutive Super Bowls. The team’s 18 straight winning seasons are the most by a team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. With a 10-win season, the Patriots will also break a tie with the 49ers for most consecutive seasons with 10 or more wins (tied at 16). Additionally, the Patriots need three wins to reach 116 regular season wins in this decade, which will break the NFL record for regular season wins in a decade held by the 2000-2009 Colts (115). The Patriots already hold the record for most wins in a decade when including the postseason.

So while the team has been on a historic run since winning its first Super Bowl back in 2001, it hopes to extend some of those streaks while some of its individuals also look to leave their marks in 2019.

Robert Kraft

The New England Patriots won their 6th Super Bowl title in 2018, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories by a franchise. If the Patriots once again see confetti fall in early February of 2020, Robert Kraft and the Patriots will become the winningest franchise in NFL history in terms of Super Bowl championships. Since Kraft bought the team in 1994, no team has won more games (325), division titles (18), conference championships (10) or Super Bowls (6) than the Patriots. His 33 playoff wins as an owner are the third most by any ownership group. The Rooney family in Pittsburgh has 36 and the Green Bay Packers have 34.

Bill Belichick

Head coach Bill Belichick will be entering his 45th season as an NFL coach – more than any coach in the league’s history. Twenty-five of those seasons have been as a head coach and 20 as the Patriots head coach (including 2019). Belichick sits third on the all-time wins list with 292 and needs only eight wins to reach the 300-win milestone. He starts the season 32 wins behind George Halas for second place on the all-time wins list while Don Shula is No. 1 with 347 wins. His 292-134 record gives him the best winning percentage (.685) among NFL head coaches in history. In 2018, Belichick made his 12th Super Bowl appearance, the most by any coach in NFL history. He has coached the Patriots in 10 different Super Bowls – nine as a head coach – and was an assistant with the Giants for two others. His six Super Bowl championships as a head coach are the most in history – two ahead of Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll.

In 2019, coach Belichick will have an opportunity to secure back-to-back championships for the second time in his career. This feat has only been accomplished by two other coaches in NFL history — Noll and Green Bay’s Vince Lombardi.

Belichick already holds many of the NFL coaching records and will look to extend some of those in 2019 as the second decade of this incredible dynasty comes to a close. Many of those team records and accomplishments will be displayed and compared in The Hall’s new Yes, It’s Still A Dynasty exhibit.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady could certainly reach more milestone moments in 2019 as well. He has thrown for 70,514 regular season yards and if he throws for 1,427 yards in 2019, he will pass Brett Favre (1,325 to pass Favre) and Peyton Manning to move into second place on the all-time regular season passing yards list behind only Drew Brees.

Brady also looks to climb the all-time regular season touchdown passing list in 2019. He is currently third on that list with 517 TD passes – three TD passes behind Drew Brees and 22 behind Peyton Manning. If you include the postseason, Brady is first all-time in passing yards (81,693) and passing touchdowns (590).

If Brady throws 35 touchdown passes this year, he could be the first quarterback to ever throw 35 in five different seasons, which would be an NFL record. Currently, Brady, Manning, Brees and Aaron Rodgers have thrown 35 or more TD passes on four separate occasions. He also has led the NFL in touchdown passes four times, which ties him with Brees, Len Dawson, Favre, Manning, Johnny Unitas and Steve Young for the most in history.

Brady enters this season one win ahead of former teammate Adam Vinatieri as the winningest player in NFL history, with 237 career wins.

Age is but a number, and at 42 years-old, Tom Brady looks to become the oldest quarterback to start on opening day. If Brady throws seven touchdown passes, he pass George Blanda for most TD passes after turning 42.

Brady needs one more Pro Bowl berth to move past Tony Gonzalez, Peyton Manning, Bruce Matthews and Merlin Olsen (all with 14) for the most Pro Bowl berths in NFL history, 15.

Julian Edelman

It is hard to believe a 33-year-old receiver, in his 11th NFL season has recently exploded onto the NFL superstar scene. With his unforgettable performances last postseason, Julian Edelman has become a national star. Edelman is among league royalty when it comes to playoff performances. He ranks second all-time in postseason touchdown receptions and postseason receiving yards, behind only Jerry Rice.

Edelman aims to climb the franchise leaderboards in 2019. He currently ranks fifth all-time in Patriots history for receptions with 499. He is seventh in franchise history for receiving yards with 5,390 and is tied for 10th in receiving TDs with 28.

Matthew Slater

Matthew Slater has earned seven special teams Pro Bowl selections, tied with Steve Tasker for the most by an NFL special teams player. Slater could earn his eighth Pro Bowl appearance and become the only special teams player in NFL history to receive that many Pro Bowl honors.

Devin McCourty

Devin McCourty has been a prominent leader of the Patriots defense for the past 10 seasons. Devin’s 21 career interceptions rank 11th on the Patriots all-time interceptions leaderboard. Devin’s game extends beyond passing coverage. He ranks third in franchise history with 554 solo tackles.

Stephen Gostkowski

Stephen Gostkowski enters his 14th season with the Patriots and sits atop many of the Patriots franchise kicking and scoring records. He enters the 2019 season with 1,743 points, the most in franchise history and 12th all-time among NFL scoring leaders. His 87.4 Field Goal percentage ranks third highest in league history. If he leads the league in scoring in 2019, he will set the record for most seasons as the NFL scoring leader with six.