Contrary to popular belief, Tim Tebow won’t be the only person associated with Saturday night’s playoff game between the Broncos and Patriots.
Then again, at least two members of the Patriots may appreciate the distraction.
Quarterback Tom Brady began his career with 10 straight playoff wins. The streak ended with a 2005 division-round game in Denver. Counting that loss, Brady has followed his 10-0 start with a 4-5 run in the postseason.
Most recently, Brady and the Pats have lost three straight in the playoffs, starting with Super Bowl XLII. And in each of the last two seasons, the Patriots’ run ended with a one-and-done playoff loss at home.
Last year, the Pats had beaten the Jets, 45-3, in December but then lost to their division rivals at home, in the division round. And that’s making New England fans a little extra nervous today, given that their team is hosting a Denver team that the Pats trounced in December, 41-23.
And here’s where it gets even more bizarre. Despite a 167-63 record during his 12 seasons as coach of the team, Bill Belichick has an all-time record of 4-10 against the Broncos. Though four of those losses came when Belichick was coaching the Browns (and when current Broncos V.P. of football operations John Elways served as the Denver quarterback), Belichick has mustered a measly 4-6 mark against the Broncos as the coach of the Patriots.
Taking it all one step farther, Tom Brady before this season had a career record of 1-6 against Denver.
Of course, recent history has far more relevance. The Patriots and Belichick and Brady beat the Broncos and Tebow and John Fox and company by 18 points fewer than four weeks ago. The broader trends of futility, both in the playoffs and against the Broncos, should serve only to ensure that the Pats won’t have another letdown.