Once again, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are NFL champions. The duo delivered a Super Bowl title to the New England Patriots for the fifth time during their tenure. Before enjoying a well-deserved offseason, we have a couple more challenges for Belichick, Brady and company…
How do the 2016 Patriots compare to the franchise’s Super Bowl champions of 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014? Using WhatIfSports.com’s NFL simulation engine, we played a round robin tournament with every New England championship-winner. Every team in the tourney played every other team 101 times. Check out how the squads fared:
New England’s latest edition won nearly 50 percent of its games, which ranked fourth in the five-team field. The 2014 team narrowly edged the Patriots’ 2004 winner for the best winning percentage in the tournament, coming out on top in 63.0 percent of contests. Unsurprisingly, the 2014 Patriots were also the highest-scoring team in the simulation, averaging 27.7 points. The title of best defense went to the 2003 team, which held opponents to 21.0 points per game.
The Patriots’ dynasty began with the 2001 team, but the other squads showed no respect for their elders in the tournament. The 2001 Patriots won just 20.6 percent of their games, with a -10.8 scoring margin.
Next, we used the same format to see how the 2016 Patriots stack up against every other Super Bowl champion in NFL history. Every team in the field played every other team 101 times. Here’s how they finished:
The 2016 Patriots won 43.4 percent of their games, good enough for a 39th out of 51 teams. Just like in the Patriots-only simulation, the 2014 team was the franchise’s best. That group only finished 17th, though, with 12 franchises having a least one team ranked higher than the 2014 Patriots.
The top team in the simulation was the Greatest Show on Turf. The 1999 St. Louis Rams averaged a simulation-best 30.7 points per game and won 77.6 percent of contests, nearly eight percentage points higher than the second-place 1989 San Francisco 49ers.
New England was joined by San Francisco and the Dallas Cowboys as franchises with five participants in the tournament, while the Pittsburgh Steelers had six. The 49ers placed three teams in the top 10, and the Cowboys had four in the top 25.
Super Bowl LI doesn’t have to be your last taste of football until September. Let WhatIfSports.com provide your daily fix. Create your ultimate roster using our Dream Teams feature. Then take that roster and simulate it against ANY TEAM IN NFL HISTORY using our NFL SimMatchup tool.