Curran's Top 50 Patriots Under Belichick: the Complete List


Bill Belichick is entering his 16th season in charge of the Patriots. His teams have played in six Super Bowls and won four of them. They’ve gone to the AFC Championship Game eight times. They’ve won the AFC East 12 times.

The Patriots have done this in a league that drags successful teams back to mediocrity. Free agency, the salary cap and injuries make excellence fleeting. What the Patriots have done -- and are still doing -- will be almost impossible to match.

So many times after a win you’ll hear Belichick say, “The credit goes to the players . . . ” So, who are the best 50 Patriots of the Belichick era?

I used this criteria:

-- First, level of play. How good was the player in his tenure with the team?

-- Next, impact. How consequential to the team’s success was his presence? Did he make improve the play of the players around him? Was he a player opponents had to specifically concern themselves with?

-- Next, team success. How much did the player contribute to outstanding teams? How many outstanding teams was he a part of?

-- Finally, Patriotism. It’s a “know it when you see it” kind of thing. A combination of game intelligence. versatility, the ability to perform well in big games and not giving a crap who gets the credit. Hard to measure.

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