The story of the day around town is that the New England Patriots tied the Pittsburgh Steelers with their sixth Lombardi Trophy, becoming just the second NFL team ever to win the Super Bowl six times. The Patriots had previously been tied with the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers for the second-most Super Bowl titles behind the Steelers before last night’s 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.
A less high-profile, and admittedly less significant, accomplishment for the Patriots last night, however, is that they also broke the Steelers’ record for the most postseason victories in NFL history, and those figures include the period before the Super Bowl.
Sunday’s Super Bowl title was the 30th for the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era in New England over the past 19 years. That along is more victories than 27 other NFL franchises by a comfortable margin. But the Patriots’ 37 all-time victories in postseason play broke a tie with the Steelers for the most ever.
Even more, with the latest Super Bowl run and the Baltimore Ravens’ one-and-done exit, the Patriots are not only the winningest team in playoff history, they also have the best winning percentage in the postseason ever, over 57 games, which is the third-most total postseason games all-time behind the Cowboys and Steelers.
Part of the reason for their success has been their strong regular season success, which has given them plenty of opportunities to play at home. They have played at home in the postseason 27 times and have gone 23-4 in those games. Of course they have also played in neutral sites another 11 times, making that 38 of their 57 total postseason games.
To illustrate my point, the Patriots have only played in just eight Wildcard Round games in team history. That’s tied for the 20th-most in the NFL, and four of the teams who have had fewer Wildcard Round appearances were expansion teams.
In contrast, they have played in 22 Divisional Round games, which is tied for the fourth-most all-time behind the Cowboys, Steelers, and 49ers, in that order. New England’s .727 winning percentage in the Divisional Round, going 16-6, is the best ever, and 15 of those 22 games have been at home.
The Patriots’ 15 Conference Championship games are tied for the third-most behind the Cowboys and Steelers, and only three teams who have appeared in five or more such games have had a higher winning percentage in those games. Seven of those 15 have been on the road, the majority of which they have lost.
New England is the only team that has reached the Super Bowl more than eight times, having done so now 11 times. Chances are it will be a number of years before any franchise will be able to catch up. Meanwhile, the Steelers have had just one playoff game in the past two years.