The New England Patriots have played in 11 AFC Championships during the Brady-Belichick era, and they have a pretty solid record so far.
The Patriots are 7-4 under Bill Belichick in AFC Championship Games, and they’ll look to add another win and Super Bowl trip to the books on Sunday against the Jaguars.
Here, I’ve taken a look at the first 11 AFC title games of the Brady-Belichick era, ranking them from most devastating to the most satisfying. Of course, these are just my opinions and they’re open for debate, so let us know in the comments or on Twitter how you’d rank these 11 historical Patriots games.
11. 2006 AFC Championship Game – Indianapolis Colts
Final: Colts 38, Patriots 34
The New England Patriots were a dynasty by the time the 2006 AFC Championship rolled around. They had won 3 of 4 Super Bowls, but in 2005 they dropped the ball. In 2006, New England looked to bounce back. They went 12-4 during the regular season before taking down the New York Jets and San Diego Chargers in the playoffs. Of course, the Patriots then met Peyton Manning’s Colts in the AFC Championship Game.
The game was a tale of two halves, with New England losing it in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The Patriots had a 21-6 lead at halftime, and another Super Bowl trip looked like a lock. At one point, the Colts actually trailed by 18, but Manning ripped the hearts of New Englanders out. A Joseph Addai touchdown run with a minute left in the game put the Colts up 38-34, but that left Tom Brady and the Patriots with one more chance. Instead, Brady threw an interception and the Colts got to go to the Super Bowl.
What makes this one sting a little more is the fact that the Patriots likely would have another Super Bowl trophy if they had won this game. The NFC was represented by a Rex Grossman led Chicago Bears team that couldn’t handle the Colts. They wouldn’t have been able to handle New England either.