The New England Patriots‘ Last Losing Season
With the recent injury to quarterback Tom Brady, there has been a great deal of speculation about how the New England Patriots will do this season. At this point, it looks like the team is being turned over to backup quarterback Matt Cassel and after winning his first game as a starter over the New York Jets that looks like a good decision. While making no judgment on how the Patriots will do this year, it does bring up the idea of what were the circumstances during the last time the New England Patriots had a losing season?
The year was 2000. It was Bill Belichick’s first year as head coach of the team and they’re starting quarterback was Drew Bledsoe. Tom Brady was on the roster, but he threw just three passes that year and only completing one, coincidentally that is the same number of pass completions that the punter Lee Johnson had that season. The rushing duties were split with Kevin Faulk leading the team in rushing with 570 yards and J.R. Redmond coming in second on the team with 406 yards rushing. The leading receiver on the team that year were Troy Brown and Terry Glenn, Glenn had the most receiving yards with 963 while Brown had the most receptions with 83. The leading tackler on the team was strong safety Lawyer Milloy with 90, followed by linebacker Tedy Bruschi who racked up 73. When it comes to the defense, they didn’t score any touchdowns that year either by fumble recovery or interception return, in three players tied for the lead in interceptions for the Patriots during the 2000 season, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, and Tebucky Jones; all three players were tied with just two interceptions apiece. The leading scorer on the team was kicker Adam Vinatieri who scored 106 points, the leading scorer for non-kickers was wide receiver Terry Glenn who scored 36 points on his six touchdowns.
As a team, the Patriots scored 27 touchdowns over the course of the season while giving up 35 to their opponents. Their offense ranked 25th in the league and their defense ranked 17th. The 2000 Patriots started the season 0-4 as the suffered losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Miami Dolphins. They then seemed to turn it around as they netted back to back victories against the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts. They then lost games to the Jets and the Colts again to lower their overall record 2-6 as they entered their bye week. New England came out of the bye week with two more losses to the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns before winning a close game over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Patriots alternated wins and losses through the rest of the season; losing to the Detroit Lions, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, falling to the Chicago Bears, winning their second game against the Bills, and then losing their final game of the year to the Dolphins.
New England would build on this season and go on to win the Super Bowl the very next year. The key moment in the team’s development appears to be the injury to Drew Bledsoe that made Tom Brady the starter. The Patriots went on to win three Super Bowls in four years and become one of the best football teams of all time.