AFC East titles and postseason berths have seemed liked foregone conclusions for the New England Patriots for a very long time.
Upon the exodus of one Tom Brady, that all seemed to come into immediate doubt – never mind that Bill Belichick and a formidable defense remained.
Now, Cam Newton is headed to New England and it might well be that the Patriots making the playoffs are once more a foregone conclusion.
Having signed the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player, New England became just the sixth team in NFL history to add a former MVP quarterback to its roster after having made the playoffs the prior season, according to NFL Research. All five of the previous teams made the postseason after bringing in their MVP signal-caller.
Perhaps the Patriots will make it six for six and advance to the playoffs for the 12th consecutive campaign.
Teams to Add Former MVP QB
Who Made Playoffs in Previous Season
(Per NFL Research)
2020 Patriots Cam Newton ???
2012 Broncos Peyton Manning 13-3
2009 Vikings Brett Favre 12-4
1993 Chiefs Joe Montana 11-5
1980 Oilers Ken Stabler 11-5
1972 Dolphins Earl Morrall 14-0
> All made playoffs (1972 Dolphins won Super Bowl VII)
Need further evidence that the Pats are bound for the playoffs? There remains a Brady effect, as well. Only three teams have ever had to replace a quarterback who won four or more Super Bowl crowns. The Steelers replaced Terry Bradshaw with Mark Malone, the 49ers replaced Joe Montana with Steve Young and the Patriots are poised to replace Brady with Newton. Pittsburgh and San Francisco made the playoffs with their replacements and New England will look to follow suit.
Before Newton, Earl Morrall joined the 1972 Dolphins, Ken Stabler became an Oiler in 1980, Montana joined the Chiefs in 1993, Brett Favre became a Viking in 2009 and Peyton Manning headed west to the 2012 Broncos. All of them former MVPs who joined squads who had reached the postseason the year before and reached it once again the following season.
It's been a tough road as of late for Newton, who hasn't seen the playoffs since 2017 and hasn't won a game since November of 2018. Indeed, Newton is riding an individual eight-game losing streak into New England.
It's a daunting statistic. However, the success and playoff berths had by former MVP QBs with new squads before him bodes well for Newton and New England as it vies for a 12th straight AFC East championship and to maintain its winning ways in the new era minus Brady.