The New England Patriots were, without question, the most successful NFL team of the last decade. And ESPN is giving the team lots of credit for its many years of dominance.
The Patriots organization had two different teams named to ESPN’s list of best teams of the 2010’s. New England’s 2012 squad tied with the Denver Broncos’ 2012 squad at No. 7, while the 2010 squad landed at No. 2.
Here’s more about each squad, via ESPN’s Aaron Schatz:
7. 2012 New England Patriots
The Patriots combined the best offense of 2012 with top-five special teams and an average defense.
2. 2010 New England Patriots
Based on the regular season alone, the 2010 Patriots were the No. 5 team in DVOA history and the best team of this decade. Their offense ranks No. 2 all-time, and it was so powerful that the Patriots rank this high despite ranking 21st on defense in 2010. The Patriots were absurdly hot entering the postseason after winning their final five games by the combined score of 184-47. Then, somehow, they lost 28-21 at home to the New York Jets, a team they had defeated 45-3 just six weeks earlier. It was one of the greatest upsets in NFL history.
Schatz mentioned the Patriots in a few other circumstances, noting before their Week 17 loss to the Miami Dolphins in December, the 2019 Patriots would have been among the top 10. He added Super Bowl teams like the 2016 Patriots were 20th for the decade, the 2014 Patriots ranked 27th while the 2018 Patriots ranked 55th.