When the Patriots improved their record to 9-3 with a win over the Dolphins on Sunday, they clinched their 12th consecutive winning season. In the NFL, that’s a rare thing.
With 12 straight winning records, the Patriots have by far the longest active streak in the league, and the longest streak since the San Francisco 49ers, led first by Joe Montana and then by Steve Young, had 16 consecutive winning seasons from 1983 to 1998.
The 49ers were able to build their dynasty of the 1980s and 1990s before the salary cap and full-scale free agency changed the dynamics of the league. In the salary cap era, no team has managed to match the consistent success of the Patriots.
The Dallas Cowboys have the longest streak of consecutive winning seasons in NFL history, having a winning record every year from 1966 to 1985. To top that Cowboys record, the Patriots would have to keep it up through 2021, when Tom Brady will be 44 and Bill Belichick will be 69.