Seventeen years ago, the Patriots did something that completely changed the course of their franchise and the entire landscape of the NFL. Exactly 17 years ago, the Patriots hired Bill Belichick to be their coach.
You already know what happened next: The Patriots stumbled on Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft and, together, Belichick and Brady went on to win four Super Bowls.
On Friday -- just nine days before they'll get a chance to win a fifth Super Bowl -- Brady admitted something pretty shocking about that draft. When he was selected by Belichick, Brady had to use a map to figure out where the heck the New England Patriots played football.
"When they picked me I had to look on a map to see where the New England Patriots played, because I had never been this far east," Brady said at a press conference. "It was a magical day in my life. ... He's been a great coach, a great leader for our team. We've had a good run, we've got to keep it going."
In defense of Brady, I'm from Seattle, live in Oakland, and cover the NFL for a living -- and I'm not 100 percent sure where New England is actually located. I mean, I know they play in Foxborough and I know Foxborough is near Boston (because Mark Wahlberg and Ben Affleck are always going on and on about them), but I just looked it up and was shocked to learn it was actually a full hour from Boston.
The point being, the New England Patriots should really be known as the Boston or Foxborough Patriots, because nobody on the West Coast actually knows what New England is. And yes, I'm aware that I live in an area that features the Golden State Warriors.
Anyway, Brady wasn't lying. He and Belichick have definitely had "a good run." That run includes:
- Seven Super Bowl appearances
- 14 AFC East titles
- Two league MVP awards for Brady
- Three Coach of the Year awards for Belichick
This also seems significant:
Today is 17th ann'y of Patriots hiring Bill Belichick. Since, the other NFL teams have had 146 full-time head coaches (incl 49ers' opening).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 27, 2017