There are many New England Patriots fans who aren't old enough to have a vivid memory of the last time their favorite team didn't participate in the NFL playoffs.
These fans will see what that looks like next month.
The Patriots were officially eliminated from the AFC playoff race Sunday with their Week 15 loss to the rival Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins scored three second-half touchdowns en route to a 22-12 victory.
The last time the Patriots failed to earn a playoff spot was 2008, and their postseason appearance streak of 11 seasons stands as an NFL record.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had a short and simple reaction when asked about his team's pursuit of a postseason berth ending Sunday.
"Disappointed, but we didn't deserve to win today," Belichick said in his postgame video press conference.
Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who won't play in the postseason for the first time since being drafted by New England in 2010, had a similar reaction.
"It sucks, but it is what it is," McCourty admitted. "It's the reality of the situation."
The Patriots have two more games left in the regular season. They will host the newly crowned AFC East champion Buffalo Bills on "Monday Night Football" in Week 16 before wrapping up with a Week 17 matchup versus the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium.