The New England Patriots have been the gold standard for success in the NFL and perhaps all American team sports for the last two decades. However, their 8th loss in 2020 insured that they wouldn't have a winning season for the first time in 20 years. It also kept the Dallas Cowboys as the recordholders for most consecutive winning seasons, going back to the Tom Landry Era.
Landry's Cowboys had 20 winning seasons from 1966 to 1985. The Patriots have had 19 in a row going into 2020 and would've tied Dallas if they'd stayed above .500 in the standings.
Yesterday, New England lost on the road to the Miami Dolphins to fall to 6-8. Even if they finish 8-8 on the year, that is not considered a “winning season” by normal NFL standards.
Today’s Patriots loss ends their streak of consecutive winning seasons at 19.
Tom Landry’s Cowboys have the record at 20, from 1966 to 1985.
The sustained success of the Dallas Cowboys in the late 60s and 70s is what helped propel them to the status of “America's Team.” While they only won two Super Bowls during Landry's legendary run as head coach they appeared in three others, reached multiple conference championship games, and won 13 division titles during those 20 seasons.
Sure, the Patriots have gone 6-3 in Super Bowls during the Belichick-Brady Era and have all the bragging rights you can ask for. But Tom Landry kept the Cowboys as a relevant, successful franchise with multiple starting quarterbacks.
Now that Tom Brady's playing out his twilight years in Tampa Bay, the Patriots are suddenly not so great.
Without question, Landry's trademark fedora and Belichick's signature scowl would both belong on the Mount Rushmore for all-time NFL coaches. But while there's plenty of room for debate on their career achievements, this is at least one record which will should remain with Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys for a long time.
The Seattle Seahawks are the next closest team to the record after completed their 7th-straight winning season in 2019 and clinching another in 2020 with 10 wins already. But they're going to have to keep it going for a long time if they want to sniff the Cowboys and Patriots.