Tom Brady's first full season marks Patriots' best turnaround


It’s been a while since the New England Patriots were one of the worst teams in the league like their division-mate New York Jets were in 2020, but they’re still in need of a turnaround after finishing 7-9 last year. 

Although it often takes teams a while to climb out of mediocre finishes in the standings, history shows that one-year turnarounds in fortune are possible. Let’s take a look at some of the worst seasons and greatest comeback seasons in Patriots history.

What was the worst season in Patriots history?

It’s hard to remember after two decades of sustained success and six Super Bowls, but the Patriots once suffered one of the worst seasons in NFL history. In 1990, they went 1-15, becoming one of only 11 teams in the Super Bowl era to win a single game. Despite returning players like future Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, the Pats lost 11 of their games by double digits.


New England rebounded somewhat the following year, going 6-10.

What was the Patriots’ best one-year turnaround in history?

Back when NFL seasons were only 14 games long, the Patriots experienced their greatest one-year turnaround in wins, improving from 3-11 in 1975 to 11-3 in 1976. 

New England’s best one-year rise in the 16-game era was six wins -- which, not coincidentally, happened right at the beginning of the Tom Brady era. The Pats went 5-11 in 2000, Brady’s rookie season, but after he became the starter in 2001, he led the team to an 11-5 record and their first Super Bowl. You know the rest of the story.