USA Today Sports

Patriots react to winning 10th straight AFC East title

Ryan Hannable
December 23, 2018 - 9:31 pm

FOXBORO -- With the Patriots' 24-12 win over the Bills Sunday, they clinched their 10th straight AFC East title.

The 10 straight division are the most in NFL history, and they join the Atlanta Braves (14) as the only franchises from the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL to win at least 10 straight division titles. In addition, they set a new NFL record for making the playoffs in 10 straight seasons, as the previous record was nine.

It's still unclear what seed the Patriots will be, but it seems likely with a win next week over the Jets they will be the No. 2 seed and get a first-round bye.

Although many of the players have been part of several division championships, some have not, so there were a variety of reactions in the locker room afterwards. 

Here's a sampling.

Jason McCourty: “Hat and t-shirt! First one. I’m excited about that, obviously. [Matthew] Slater said it to us after the game, there’s a lot more to our story, but you don’t take any moment for granted. It took me 10 years to be in a position to say, ‘You won your division. You put a hat and t-shirt on.’ Even better to do it alongside my brother and the guys in this locker room, so I’m excited about what we were able to accomplish [Sunday]."

Duron Harmon: “Being on this team, you don’t take it for granted. You know how hard it is to win a division. But when you see a guy who’s been in the league for 10 years, played good football and just never had a chance to really win a division, to see how excited he is for the first time, it just lets you know all the work you put in for your teammates is always worth it.”

Tom Brady: "I think they’re all pretty tough. I think we just have grinded it out. I think part of playing in the NFL is over the course of 16 weeks, you see how things shake out – not after September, October, November. It’s really after the end of December. We’ve still got one hugely important game left and we need to finish strong."

Bill Belichick: "I’m really just happy for our team and our players, our coaching staff. They work extremely hard. This has been a very challenging season. We still have a big game left so we’re not done yet here with the regular season, but to be able to win the division is certainly a goal that we have at the beginning of the year so to be able to reach that I’m really just happy for all of the people that have worked so hard to make that happen. Now we’ve got to press harder and continue to get better and play better and coach better as the season extends here."

Devin McCourty: "This is my ninth one but you go down to Miami, you’ve got a chance to win a hat and t-shirt, you lose on the last play. You go to Pittsburgh, had a chance to do it, you lose on the last play of the game really again. We never take it for granted. It’s hard to win these division championships, it’s hard to win games period in the NFL."

Rex Burkhead: “I think that’s the program that’s been established here. Just the expectations year end and year out. It’s very neat and humbling to be a part of. Hopefully we can continue to reach our goals this year.”

Julian Edelman: “It feels good. Any time you go out and win the division that’s big. It’s an accomplishment for this team, we’ve put a lot of work into this and we’ve got to go out and keep on improving because there’s a lot of meat on that bone left.”

Danny Shelton: “It feels good to be in December and winning. I’m excited to finish off this season. We have another opportunity to play the Jets and we look forward to that.”

Related: Hannable: This is Patriots’ reality, Tom Brady is not right