When the New England Patriots take on the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Wild Card playoff game on Saturday night, it will mark a notable milestone in franchise history. For the first time in more than 23 years, New England will enter a postseason game with a quarterback not-named Tom Brady starting under center.
In honor of this occasion, let’s take a look back at what the world looked like on January 3, 1999, when the Brady-less Patriots suffered a 25-10 defeat at the hands of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
With starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe out with an injury, Scott Zolak started at quarterback for the Patriots that day. Zolak has not played in the NFL since the turn of the century, and currently works as an analyst on the Patriots radio broadcasts.
Two days prior, Brady, then a junior at Michigan, led the No. 15 Wolverines to a win over No. 11 Arkansas in the Florida Citrus Bowl. Also two days prior, the euro currency was established, and the European Central Bank assumed its full powers.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s Hall-of-Fame career wasn’t even a thought
Current New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets under head coach Bill Parcells.
The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 was “I’m Your Angel” by R. Kelly and Céline Dion and the top film at the box office was Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams.
Four days following the game, the articles of impeachment for President Bill Clinton were submitted to the U.S. Senate. Also four days after the game, Paul Cellucci was sworn in as the 69th governor of Massachusetts.
Fifteen days after the Patriots’ defeat, RIM released the BlackBerry and the Blackberry OS.
Spongebob Squarepants, the iconic cartoon that would come to define a generation of kids, would not premiere for another four months.
Vladimir Putin was still seven months away from being appointed as Prime Minister of Russia, and over a year away from taking over as the country’s president.
Also not yet born? Current Boston Celtics Romeo Langford and Aaron Nesmith, NFL quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields, and (most importantly) the author of this article.
Moral of the story? It’s been a LONG time since the Patriots entered a playoff game without the comfort of having Tom Brady at quarterback.
Which should make Saturday night in Buffalo that much more fun.