Seventeen years have passed since Tom Brady and the Patriots won the second of their back-to-back Super Bowls.
They remain the last team to reload and repeat as champion. But Brady came oh-so-close to doing it two other times, in the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
If past is prologue, Brady will at least lead the Bucs back to the postseason this year. He accomplished this in New England every season after winning a Super Bowl except one. And that doesn’t include two other times, in the 2007 and 2011 seasons, when the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl.
Here is a look at how Brady’s teams have fared the year after lifting the Lombardi Trophy:
Previous year: 11-5, won Super Bowl 36
Record: 9-7, second in the AFC East
Postseason: Failed to qualify for the playoffs
Recap: This is the last time the Patriots failed to win at least 10 games until 2020, the season after Brady left to sign with the Bucs. New England started 2-0 in their first season at Gillette Stadium but lost five of their next seven. They finished with the same record as the Jets but lost the tiebreaker.
Previous year: 14-2, won Super Bowl 38
Record: 14-2, first in the AFC East
Postseason: Won Super Bowl 39
Recap: The Patriots successfully defended their NFL title. Running back Corey Dillon, acquired in a trade days before the 2004 draft, rushed for a career-high 1,635 yards. For the second straight year, Brady beat the Colts and Peyton Manning in the AFC Championship Game, with the New England defense holding Indianapolis to a field goal. The Patriots defeated the Eagles 24-21 for their third Super Bowl championship in four seasons.
Previous year: 14-2, won Super Bowl 39
Record: 10-6, first in the AFC East
Postseason: Lost in division playoff
Recap: With the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs, the Patriots defeated the Jaguars in the wild-card game but fell to the Broncos on the road in the next round, committing five turnovers in that game. This was the first playoff loss in the Brady/Belichick era.
Previous year: 12-4, won Super Bowl 49
Record: 12-4, first in the AFC East
Postseason: Lost in conference championship
Recap: Brady was suspended for the first four games of the season by the NFL for Deflategate, but he won an appeal and was allowed to play. A court of appeals later upheld the penalty, which he served in 2016. After going 10-0 to begin the season, the Patriots’ first loss came against the Broncos in overtime in Week 12.
They went on to lose four of their last six games. In the division round of the playoffs, the Patriots beat the Chiefs 27-20 to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the fifth straight year. They lost 20-18 on the road to the eventual Super Bowl 50 champion Broncos (and Peyton Manning).
Previous year: 14-2, won Super Bowl 51
Record: 13-3, first in AFC East
Postseason: Lost in Super Bowl 52
Recap: The Patriots defeated the Titans 35-14 in a division playoff game, then beat the Jaguars in the AFC title game 24-20. It was a record seventh consecutive AFC Championship Game appearance for the Patriots. The win also made Brady the oldest quarterback (40 years, 163 days) to win a playoff game, surpassing Brett Favre.
The Patriots lost 41-33 in the Super Bowl to the Eagles. Who can forget the Philly Special, a trick play among Corey Clement, Trey Burton and quarterback Nick Foles, who caught a touchdown pass on fourth and goal toward the end of the second quarter?
Previous year: 11-5, won Super Bowl 53
Record: 12-4, first in the AFC East
Playoffs: Lost in the wild-card game
Recap: The Patriots started 10-1 but experienced a late-season collapse. In their first wild-card game since the 2009 season, they fell 20-13 to the Titans. Brady’s last pass in that game was a pick-six. It turned out to be his last appearance with the Patriots. After the season, he announced he was entering free agency, then signed with the Bucs on March 20, 2020.
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