The Patriots have grown accustomed to shorter offseasons and more wear and tear on players’ bodies, thanks to always advancing in the playoffs.
Over the last six seasons, the Patriots have played in 16 postseason games — a full extra season. A fan on Reddit who attended a recent talk with Patriots coach Bill Belichick posted that Belichick noted that they’ve effectively played seven seasons in the last six years.
The Seahawks have played the next-most postseason games over the last six years, with 11, and the Packers have played eight. No other team has even played half a season’s worth of postseason games over the last six years. Three teams (the Browns, Jets and Buccaneers) haven’t even been to the postseason in the last six years, and another six teams (the Bills, Bears, Dolphins, Giants, Raiders and Washington) have only been to one postseason game in that time. Extra rest in the offseason hasn’t seemed to help those teams much.
At a time when there’s renewed debate about whether NFL players could withstand 18-game seasons, the Patriots are playing 18- and 19-game seasons routinely.