Patriots

Patriots set impressive NFL record with 11th consecutive playoff berth

Patriots set impressive NFL record with 11th consecutive playoff berth

The New England Patriots will return to the NFL playoffs and defend their Super Bowl title.

The reigning champions clinched a postseason berth Sunday with their 34-13 Week 15 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

New England will make its 11th straight playoff appearance. The Patriots have missed the postseason only twice (2002 and 2008) since Tom Brady became the starting quarterback during the 2001 campaign, and they've won nine conference championships and six Super Bowl titles over that span.

The team's latest feat also is a new league record:

The Pats own an 11-3 record and sit in second place in the AFC standings. The Baltimore Ravens are the No. 1 seed at 12-2, and they also own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Patriots as a result of their 37-20 Week 9 victory. 

The chances of the Patriots earning the No. 1 seed are very slim, but earning a first-round playoff bye is very possible. New England would secure the No. 2 seed with victories in its final two regular season games versus the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.

New England still hasn't clinched the AFC East title, however. The Bills have a 9-4 record entering Week 15 for second place in the division. The Patriots and Bills will play at Gillette Stadium in Week 16, and a win for New England would clinch another division crown.

The last season during which the Patriots failed to win the AFC East was 2008.

Video footage of Pats taping Bengals' sideline revealed>>>

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

NFL Rumors: Patriots hiring ex-Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch

The New England Patriots reportedly have made an addition to their coaching staff.

According to Jim McBride of The Boston Globe, they've hired ex-Los Angeles Rams assistant offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

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Fisch's official role with the Patriots offense is to be determined. But now that there's an opening at wide receivers coach with Joe Judge joining the New York Giants, Fisch could be a candidate for the job.

He brings plenty of experience to the table having coached Denver Broncos wide receivers in 2008 and Michigan receivers from 2015-16. Fisch also coached Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks in 2010 and was the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator from 2013-14.

What Jim Gray has learned from his weekly Tom Brady interviews

What Jim Gray has learned from his weekly Tom Brady interviews

For the last 10 years, Jim Gray has conducted weekly interviews with Tom Brady throughout the NFL season. Over that period of time, Gray has learned plenty about the longtime New England Patriots quarterback.

In a recent interview with the New York Post, Gray opened up about the admirable way Brady has approached each of his interviews on Westwood One Radio. It all started with a promise made by Brady 10 years ago that he's kept to this day.

"Meticulous, prepared, very responsive, on time, humble, he’s unbelievable really," Gray said. "He never says, “Don’t ask me anything.” If he doesn’t want to answer the question then that’s how he will respond to it, but there are no preconditions.

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"He wrote me a handwritten note 10 years ago now before we started this. It said, “I look forward to doing the show. You’ll get the same effort out of me on Monday nights that I give my teammates on Sunday afternoons.” And that has been the case, he’s never missed a show."

Although the Patriots' season ended weeks ago, Brady remains the center of attention in the NFL world. The 42-year-old is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time of his career on March 18.

Despite maintaining a close relationship with Brady over the years, Gray knows as much about the six-time Super Bowl champion's future as the rest of us. When Brady himself doesn't appear to know how his offseason will unfold, Gray says there's no reason to ask him about it.

"He doesn’t know," Gray said. "When he doesn’t know I am not sure how any of us can know. How many times can you ask the same question? As it evolves he will let us know. It’s not like he’s hiding something. I’ve asked him and he’s committed several times on the air to us that he’s playing next season. There’s not much he can be involved with outside the Patriots till March 18."

All signs point toward Brady returning for his 21st NFL season, so the weekly Westwood One interviews should continue. As for whether Brady will be a Patriot for his 11th year of interviews with Gray, that'll likely remain a mystery for the next couple of months.

Gray and Brady's final interview of the 2019-20 season will take place before Super Bowl 54 on Feb. 2.

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