The New England Patriots' dominance in the AFC East division has reached heights rarely seen across the four major North American sports leagues.
The Patriots beat the Buffalo Bills 24-17 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday to secure their 11th consecutive division championship. They have joined Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves as the only teams to win 11 or more division titles in a row among all the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL teams.
The Braves won the National League East from 1995 through 2005. They also won the division in 1991, 1992 and 1993 but were in second place when the 1994 season was canceled due to a labor stoppage. Unlike the Patriots, the Braves won just a single championship over that span -- a six-game triumph over the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 World Series.
The Patriots have not finished below first place in the AFC East since 2008, when they lost on a tiebreaker with an 11-5 record. New England has won every division title this decade and 17 of the 20 this century.
The defending Super Bowl champs still have not clinched a first round playoff bye, but they can accomplish that simply by beating the Miami Dolphins at home next week, or if the Kansas City Chiefs lose one more game.