Imagine if you sat down to watch an NFL game and your sofa turned into a time machine transporting you back to the year 2000. And sitting there, eating pizza and watching football, is your younger self. You two start talking about football.
Future self: “We’re going to be filthy rich! I know all the NFL history for the next 18 years. First, we’re going to bet on the Patriots almost every week. They will win five Super Bowls and …”
Past self frantically grabs primitive, corded, landline phone and dials 911: “Help, there’s a crazy maniac in my house!”
Really, predicting the Patriots would become the most dominant team of the early 21st century would have sounded crazy back then. You know the Pats sit atop these rankings, and in fact it’s not even close. Who’s on the list with them? Here’s a look at the seven teams with the most regular season wins since the start of the 2000 season (entering Week 10 in 2017).
7. Baltimore Ravens (161 wins)
The last few years have been a bit lean, but Ravens fans have had plenty to celebrate with two Super Bowl victories (after the 2000 and 2012 seasons). Coach John Harbaugh is 89-64 since joining the franchise in 2008.
5 (tie). Philadelphia Eagles (167 wins)
Credit former coach Andy Reid with 125 of those victories through the 2012 season. And quarterback Donovan McNabb started in 92 of those wins through the 2009 season.
5 (tie). Denver Broncos (167 wins)
The Broncos have had this success despite quarterbacks that have included Kyle Orton, Tim Tebow, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler and an aging Peyton Manning. Those Mike Shanahan-coached teams were legendary for pounding the football on the ground. In recent years, the defense has stepped up big; Denver’s “No Fly Zone” secondary carried the team to a Super Bowl 50 win.
4. Green Bay Packers (175 wins)
The combination of coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been a key. And before that coach Ray Sherman and QB Brett Favre had a good run together through 2005. The success has continued in recent years despite a mediocre defense. The Pack has been to the postseason 13 of the past 16 seasons.
3. Indianapolis Colts (179 wins)
The Colts had double-digit wins in 12 of the first 14 seasons this century before fading the past couple of years. Offensive stars such as Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Edgerrin James certainly deserve much of the credit for that winning tradition, as the defense has ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in points allowed 12 times since 2000.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (181 wins)
It’s astounding this team has had only three head coaches since 1969. While the defense has been up and down in recent years, the defense has usually been one of the best in the league. Consider this: Since 2000, the Steelers have finished in the top three in fewest points allowed seven times.
1. New England Patriots (207 wins)
Like we said, the Patriots have no peers in the past two decades, winning those five Super Bowls and posting 26 more wins than any other NFL team since 2000. Bill Belichick has led all of those victories, with QB Tom Brady getting credit for 189 of them. Brady’s resilience as a quarterback is simply amazing. Here are a few of the other NFL quarterbacks among the league leaders when Brady became a starter in 2001: Trent Green, Kerry Collins, Rich Gannon, Jeff Garcia and Doug Flutie.
One More: NFL Teams With Worst Records Since 2000
Did anyone guess a team other than the Browns? Cleveland ranks dead last in wins over that period, with 86. They have some company at the bottom of the league.
5. Oakland Raiders (112)
4. Jacksonville Jaguars (111)
3. Houston Texans (109)
2. Detroit Lions (100)
1. Cleveland Browns (86)